smart spending

'Pawn Stars' strictly a family affair

On the family side, being 'planful' for Schwerzler means holding regular business meetings or retreats -- it's the only way to personalize the management of the business effectively.

"They're very, very critical because if you're going to create a mission statement for the business, first you must create a mission statement for the family. It is the planning for the family that should be driving the planning for the business," Schwerzler says.

“I'm trying to get everybody to understand how everything flows here because this isn't your average business.”

He recommends that family planning include an understanding of what each member wants and what their competencies and abilities are. It should also include the creation of buy-sell agreements, so no one is tied to the family business for the rest of their lives, unless they want to be.

The Harrisons formalized their communication long ago. For them, harmony at the shop and in the family means that ultimately, decisions come down to one man.

"It can be sort of hard, sometimes, to work all day with your family and then come over to the house for Christmas, but basically everyone understands that I run things now," says Rick Harrison. "We'll discuss everything, and we try to come to an agreement, but if there's not an agreement, it's going to go my way."

That's a good move because otherwise, Schwerzler says, family members start playing telephone. "Let's say Dad is more concerned with the business side and Mom is the chief emotional officer, so she often is the peacemaker. And when the kids are having a problem with Dad, they go to her, and Dad tells her what to tell them. There's a triangulation of communication that goes on that is very hurtful for family businesses."

Plan for the future

One of the cornerstones of the ongoing drama in "Pawn Stars" is Corey's, aka Big Hoss's, desire to be made the third partner with his father and grandfather and then eventually succeed them all together.

"Me and my dad are partners 50-50 here, and we're going to start slowly giving Corey pieces of it over the next few years," says Rick Harrison. "We have trusts set up and paid all the money to the lawyers to make sure everything should be seamless."

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