Forget About Technology

kicking computerTechnology is a wonderful thing for entrepreneurs. The convenience of email, texting, cell phones, and even being friends and followers on social media platforms have all made it so easy to stay in touch with clients and prospective clients. The (what used to be difficult) task of staying in contact is now extremely easy. From regularly scheduled email newsletters to scheduled social media posts, you can reach your entire database without much effort. For more personal communication, you can call them while you’re in the car. If you have developed a comfortable relationship, even texting a quick hello might be appropriate.

Has technology made it too easy? Has it encouraged business owners to become complacent when it comes to developing a special business relationship?

Kick technology to the curb

Using all the technology available to you makes sense for convenience, time management, and being able to reach a larger number people in a shorter amount of time. But there is still a need for one-on-one interaction. Considered the difference it would make if you really made your business relationships personal. Just once in a while, make that special effort. There are easy ways to do this that don’t take up much time. But the payoff is exceptional! Some ideas are:

  • Invite them to attend a networking event with you.
  • Meet them for a cup of coffee to learn what is happening with them and their business.
  • You have to eat, so why not meet over lunch?
  • Call them just to say hello.
  • When you’re out running errands or going to an appointment and you’re close to their office, “pop in” to say hello. (If you just drop by, be sure not to spend much time there, since you don’t have an appointment and will most likely be interrupting their day.

Imagine what an impression you’d make if you did any of the above once in a while.

What if you stop by and they aren’t in or are in a meeting? No problem; just leave your card and ask that your card be passed on. Write a note on the back “just dropping by to stay in touch.”

Make it part of your routine

There are simple ways to incorporate this into your routine. I know it works because I have implemented some of these suggestions into my home inventory business. One possibility is to take one morning or afternoon a month and map out a section of town, then determine how many stops you can make. An even less time-consuming process would be to add one stop every time you go to a meeting, a luncheon, or to another client’s office. Which client or prospect is on the way or close by? Put it on your calendar so you don’t forget. A few extra minutes added to every trip you take will be a minimal commitment, but one that can pay off quite well in customer retention, building a strong relationship with a referral source, or creating the opportunity to turn a prospect into a client.

Technology plays a major role in the business world, but it’s important to remember that people buy from people – people they like, know, and trust.

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That One Dirty Word

dirtywordThere is one word that I don’t allow myself to use, and strongly encourage others not to use it, either. And, surprisingly, it’s not a 4-lettter word. It is actually just a 2-letter word. That big dirty word is “if.”

In fact, this small little word can be one of the most destructive. When you think of the obstacles that this word creates, it is one of the biggest words in the English language. Why? Because it can stop you in your tracks when working on a goal. Or, it can give you the incorrect belief that you actually are working on your goal, when actually you have it floating around in la-la land.

Goals, as we know, have a few specifics to be a good goal. One of those specifications is having a deadline. When thinking, writing, or talking about your goals, the word “if” takes away not only the act of achieving it, but it can also put you in a state of never-achieving.

The state of never-achieving

When you have a mindset of “if,” it leaves you with the choice to opt out of responsibilities to take control of your life. Relying on the word “if” is enabling you to accept failure. I experienced this first-hand when starting our home inventory business many years ago. I would think to myself that I will schedule an inventory service if I am comfortable that I am ready for business. I also thought that I would start to promote the business if I’m sure I have all the answers to people’s questions. These “if” statements gave me the excuse to not move forward and get out of my comfort zone. There was always an “if” allowing me to procrastinate.

Remove “if” from your vocabulary

If is a very big word for being only 2 letters. It is huge, actually, because of the impact that word can have on your success.

  • I’ll do this, if I can do that first.
  • I will complete “x” by this date if I have time.
  • I would start working on my new business  idea if I had any idea what I want to do.
  • I’ll make this change to my business if I earn enough money.

What would happen to your goals and desire to be successful if you used “when” instead of “if” and included a concrete statement of when? See how these weak statements become more powerful:

  • I’ll do this, when I complete that first.
  • I will complete “x” by this date when I set aside 2 hours each evening to work on it.
  • I will start working on my new business idea when I finish researching my options.
  • I’ll make this change to my business when I earn “x” dollars.

What happened when you replaced the word “if” with “when”? All of a sudden you have a new outlook. You won’t be living an “if” life. Instead, when you use “when,” you are telling yourself that it will happen. When requires a date on the calendar or the achievement of a particular event to allow you to move forward. When is action, giving yourself the desire to move forward. If gives you permission to remain where you are … dreaming instead of doing.

When enables you to take action. You no longer think “if” you can do something, but you will focus on “when” you will do it. This creates a strong belief that it will happen, rather than “well, just maybe I might.” Take the word “if” out of your vocabulary as a first step toward success.

 

Lack – You Can Get Rid Of It

I canWhen in conversation with fellow entrepreneurs and business owners, many  comment that they lack enough business. Do you hear yourself saying that you lack enough time, lack enough help, lack enough money, lack enough sales?

Have you considered that when you constantly focus on what you lack and always talk about it that you might be – in a way – accepting it? Of course, I guess it’s easier to talk about it than to actually do something about it. When I hear this constant drone of lacking so many things that I wonder why people bother keeping their business! When constantly complaining about what you lack, in essence you are failing to see all the good things that come with being your own boss.

Rather than thinking you don’t have enough, or that you need more (however you want to look at it), consider looking at the situation another way. One of the suggestions we give our Licensees when they seem to hit a wall, is to step back and look at their business from a different angle.

Rather than looking at it from the angle of “I don’t have,” the next time you start thinking that you can’t achieve something, instead, ask yourself “How can I…”

  • find more business?
  • get more done in the time I have?
  • get help with this project?
  • increase my revenues?
  • add a new service?
  • give more value to my clients?

By not saying that you don’t have, take the issue, and address it from another angle – ask yourself how you can have. Take away the “I can’t” attitude and replace it with an “I can” focus. This way, you’re not telling yourself that you don’t have something you need. You are, instead, opening your mind to possibilities that can bring you what you need and want.

I’m confident you won’t lack some very good ideas. And when applied, you won’t lack success, either.

Why Did You Choose To Do This?

WhyOver the past 10 years, I have been asked this question, or a similar one, so many times I can’t even venture a guess.

“Why did you decide to do inventories?”

“With all the choices, why did you pick such an unknown industry?”

“Why did you you pick a home inventory business?”

“Why did you choose this as your business?

Whatever the exact wording, it is the same question. And my answer is always the same. After two burglaries, and two financial losses, it became apparent that we – and everyone else – need to know what they own. Before establishing Hartman Inventory, we did our due diligence by talking to insurance agents and victims of fires, thefts, and natural disasters. What we learned was exactly what we suspected. Very few people had an  inventory of their contents. We didn’t until our first burglary. Then, thinking it’ll never happen again, we chose not to bother creating our inventory. Unfortunately, it did happen again, and the 2nd time a much larger loss! You know the saying, “first time, shame on you…second time, shame on me.” Well, that was where we were, and once our claim was settled, decided to create our own home inventory.

Unfortunately, most people don’t even know they need to have this information documented. That is, until it’s too late. Loss happens, and people are devastated.

After years of honing our process, it was time to help others who want to start a business. Our business package shares knowledge and experience we’ve gained since 2004. It includes so much more, but I won’t go into that right now – you can find out why it’s called the premier mentoring and licensing program in our industry here if you want to know more.

And now I am asking the “why” question to those who inquire about starting their own inventory business. Their “why” is a familiar story. They either had personal experience, or have seen a friend or relative go through the recovery process after a loss. They tell us they want to help others by providing an inventory service.

There are two key driving forces for those entering this industry – 1) they had a loss/have someone close who had a loss, and 2) they want to help people.

What a great industry with which to be associated – people taking their own experience of loss and destruction, and finding a way to serve others so they can choose not to face that possibility.

How about you? Are you a soon-to-be entrepreneur? What is it that is pulling toward a specific industry or sector of an industry? What is your why?

The Death of Employment Can Be the Birth of New Business

NewBusinessIt seems that every day some news reporter presents a new story about loss of jobs or employees’ hours being reduced.  The bottom line is that the traditional 40-hour work week, full-time employee is slowly going away.  When I entered the workforce, it was common to get a full-time job, and believe there was a good chance that you were going to work there until retirement. Times have changed. The business world has changed. Replacing these full-time employees with sub-contractors and part-time workers is becoming the new normal.

So what does this mean for new business? Small businesses can be those sub-contractors. Embracing the entrepreneurial world, you can create your own full-time job by starting your own company. You can fill the void that these lay-offs and hour cut-backs has created. In our industry, there are opportunities for inventory professionals to do more than document a person’s residence. The businesses that have reduced their workforce have fewer employees to do occasional or as-needed projects – projects like taking inventory. This is where an asset inventory service business can fill the void.

Some opportunities for an asset inventory business are:

  • Creating the initial inventory for the small or medium business.
  • Updating the inventories on a quarterly or annual schedule – or as needed.
  • Offering raw materials or finished goods inventories for small-production shops.
  • Providing inventories on a scheduled basis for antique shops, boutiques, etc.
  • Providing appraisal services.

Slow growth has created hesitancy for business owners to hire new employees. The cost of benefits, such as paid vacations and health care, can negatively affect a small business’ bottom line. Hiring an inventory service to perform that specific job makes sense, because the business owner is paying only for the time it takes to complete the task. And they’re paying for expertise, experience, and knowledge that an hourly employee will most likely not have.

Starting a business is one way that you can begin creating your own future. Start on a part-time basis while you grow your clientele, and develop it into a full-time opportunity that you can control.

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/how-to-profit-from-the-death-of-employment-cm439857#ixzz3SbjhzvZ3

Nationwide Inventory Professionals Welcomes Indiana Licensee

Jane Crawford, owner of Crawford Inventory, follows her heart

as she develops a home and business inventory service.

Crawford PhotoHelping people is the core of Jane Crawford’s life purpose. When she decided to start her own company, she searched for a business model that would align with that initiative. Crawford Inventory, LLC, a contents inventory service, was the answer, but one caveat that she faced was time.

Her busy lifestyle didn’t lend itself to months of learning a business and building it from the ground up. Crawford sought assistance with developing her company, creating marketing materials, and learning the industry. Through her search, she discovered Nationwide Inventory Professionals, a business package and mentoring program. This was the answer to her time constraints.

Crawford was drawn to this industry because she knows people who have endured losses from thefts and fires; she wants to contribute by helping ensure this does not happen to others. “Completing a valuable task to help protect my clients is fulfilling for me. Knowing that I’ll bring some peace of mind to others gives me peace of mind,” she explained. “Purchasing this business package was the right decision for me because I’d rather learn from someone else’s mistakes. This allows me to move more quickly toward my goal of helping people.” During the research and start-up phase of her business, she was surprised to learn of the many other reasons for a home or business inventory in addition to disaster recovery. Gaining this insight created an even stronger focus to serve others through Crawford Inventory’s services.

Saying that she wants to help people isn’t just talk; she puts this personal mission into action. A Zionsville, Indiana resident, Ms. Crawford displays her commitment to family and community by volunteering. She is the current President of the Zeta Sigma Chapter of Tri Kappa and on the Tri Kappa State Nominating Committee. She serves on the Planning Committee for The Caring Hands Camp, and is a board member at Families First, an organization focused on strong family units in the community. She is a Girl Scout leader, and participates in various capacities at her daughter’s school, including that of Executive Council for the School Association.

Balancing her family and community commitments, Jane chooses to nurture her business goals as well. She is a graduate of Boone County Leadership, is a current member of Zionsville Women in Network, and has already achieved her Certified Inventory Specialist designation from the National Inventory Certification Association. “Jane’s enthusiasm to gain knowledge of the industry quickly is a testament to her professionalism. She expects success quickly, and is doing all the right things to achieve that goal,” said Cindy Hartman, Co-founder of Nationwide Inventory Professionals. “I look forward to working with and mentoring her.”

Crawford graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor Degree in Science and a Minor in Business and went on to complete her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.

Certified, bonded, and insured, Jane Crawford provides personal property inventory services for business owners, home owners, and renters in Zionsville and the surrounding areas.

Self-Employment Offers a Different Type of Pay Day

PayDayIn the typical corporate world, pay day is the same. It’s like clock work, the norm is that you receive a pay check every Friday. Sometimes it’s twice a month. Few, but some, pay just once a month. No matter what the pattern, as they say in the television industry, same time, same channel.

It isn’t a boring process, Receiving money is not boring. However, for those who are self-employed, entrepreneurs, business owners, or sub-contractors – the many titles those who “do their own thing” use to describe themselves – pay day is different.

When you own your own business, you own the control of when you get paid. Control is key because you have ownership. You have instant gratification! Complete a job, get paid. Complete another job, get paid. Exciting times every time you finish something. In essence, you control when and how often you get paid. The control of this process is a huge benefit! Control over when and how many pay days you have each year is exhilarating!

The fun part of pay day in the asset inventory industry is that it happens each time you provide a service. Did you do three this week? You had three pay days!

You finish an inventory for a small manufacturing plant. Pay day! You complete an executor’s estate inventory. Pay day! You provide a proactive inventory for someone who sees the value in knowing what they own in case they have a disaster. Pay day! You complete an update of a current client’s personal property. Pay day!

Have you been thinking of starting a business? Yes, it’s hard work. It takes dedication. And it’s also a lot of fun. The more pay days you have, the more fun it becomes. Every day can be pay day when you are the one making the decisions.

Self-employment Is On The Rise

updownThere are some statistics that show this statement to be true. Others are saying that entrepreneurship has dropped over the past two years. The economy is the main reason given for both sides of the issue.

A slow economic recovery results in job loss, downsizing, and early retirement they say, which means people have no choice but to hire themselves. Self-employment does affect the unemployment numbers. When people stop looking for work, the unemployment rate looks better even though they are still unemployed.

On the other side of the numbers, self-employment positively affects the rate of small business growth. On the other hand, we hear that fewer are starting a new business because of the economy. Fear of the future, fear to invest their savings, etc. Two sides, two results, same reason. So these numbers can say whatever you want them to say. Instead of worrying about the economy, you can do something about it.

Rather than letting the economy control you, choosing to start a business allows you to take control of your own economy. You can choose how many hours your work, how smart your work, and how you are going to build your client base. There is no shortage in the dedication you give your business unless you choose to limit yourself.

In addition to those who lost and need to replace a full-time job, self-employment can serve many other needs. A mother or father who wants to stay home with the children might choose a home-based business because of the flexible schedule they can implement. Retirees might find that they need something to fill their days after working 40 hours a week for over 30 years. Business ownership could be the answer. For those who are in their late 50’s and early 60’s and find themselves without a job, self-employment can be the answer. There is a common thread with this age group – few people will hire them.

Numbers don’t matter. Your dedication, focus, and desire to be successful is what matters. Being your own boss has many advantages, one being that you have control over your own personal economy.

The Cost of Starting A Business – Let’s Be Serious Here

SeriouslyOK; it’s time to be serious. You see many, many ads – and even articles – stating that you can start a business for less than $100. Some say $500. Some are generous with their statement and say under $1,000. I really wish people would stop saying this – or at least tell the whole story. It’s time to be serious about what it costs to start a business. It is a lot more than $1,000.

We receive many inquiries from people wanting to start a home inventory business and are surprised when they find out that our business package requires quite a bit more of an investment than they expected. They are under the assumption that it will cost them only around $500. Now, to be fair, you can start a business for $500. But start is different than create, establish, grow, etc. Just to get started, you’ll need to  register your company name with the state (this can be less than $100 or as high as hundreds of dollars). Your immediate needs will be to buy supplies, business cards, equipment, and insurance. You are now already at that $500 mark – most likely over it. After this money is gone, many don’t have any more to put into networking, advertising, brochures, a website, etc.

What about network marketing? That can be started for less than $500, right? Often you hear that you can enroll in an MLM for less than $200. This is true. MLMs are a great business model, but there is still a continuing cost involved. Some require you to pay for your business cards, website, and training. All (as far as I know) require that you use/purchase their product on a monthly basis to prove you are in business. Some call this “qualified” and others call it “active membership.” No matter what the term is, it means you must purchase product to receive revenue. Rightly so, the premise is that if you don’t use the product, how can you sell or represent it properly? This can easily total more than a a couple hundred dollars a month.

I’m not trying to discourage you. the point of this post is to stress the difference of starting a business and being in business. After all, why start one if you can’t do  more than just start it? In addition to the cost of networking, marketing materials, websites, advertising, equipment (computer and printer at minimum), licenses, certifications, and continually replenishing your office supplies, most successful business owners state you need a business coach. There are more expenses to consider, but you get the message – the cost is much higher than $500 or even $1000 to start  and keep your company running. Added to the expenses, if you don’t have a quick start-up, you also will face months and months of little or no revenue.

Starting a business isn’t easy. If it’s your passion, you will find a way. Just know that it will cost more than just $500!

 

How Flexible is Flexible?

You read a lot about franchises and business opportunities that say you will have “flexible hours” when you choose to invest in their industry. There are also many businesses that state that you can have control over your time – that you can set your own hours.

This is not necessarily true. For instance, if you are going to start a brick-and-mortar business that has regular hours, you will be required to work those hours as stated. That, or have someone you trust to run the business for you. Let’s be honest here, at least in the beginning, you will be the one making sure all is well. So, in this scenario, you will not be able to set your own hours or have flexible hours. You will have to commit to serve your clients as promised.

In our business, we are a lot more flexible than a retail store or other company that has posted hours. The asset inventory industry provides the service at the clients’ homes and businesses, so no “regular” hours are necessary. But you are at the beck and call of your client. This is where the flexibility comes in. Flexible when it comes to not being committed to be “on site” or in the store 9-5 every day. But in the end, it is the client who chooses what time you work.

Many times, when scheduling an inventory for our inventory service, we help create our own flexibility by, or in other words, choose what hours we work, by stating what days we have available. It is rare that we offer a Saturday or Sunday. If the client asks about weekends, we are very willing to work those days, but we don’t automatically offer them. We also don’t like to work in the evenings, so we suggest day hours only. Again, if the client needs an evening inventory, we are more than happy to oblige.

In the end, if you choose to work in the service industry – no matter what type of service – you can be more flexible that other industries. Ultimately, though, you must cater to your client’s schedule.

So, when business opportunities and franchises state that you can set your own hours, they are telling the truth.  You do have control to be as flexible as you choose. What if a client demands a day or hours that you absolutely do not want to work? Since you own the business, you can always turn down those jobs. That, my dear readers, is flexibility! It could also be the demise of your business.

When preparing to start a business, this can be a huge element of your decision-making process. Know how flexible, what the industry as a whole demands, and what others face when scheduling their clients.

Uncover your hidden entrepreneur.


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Home Inventory – A Guide for Homeowners and Renters

Home Inventory – A
Guide for Homeowners and Renters


The many reasons for a home inventory, plus a do-it-yourself guide and templates.

 

A Business Guide to Asset Inventory

A Business Guide to Asset Inventory
Protecting your company assets.

Copyright 2015 Nationwide Inventory Professionals, LLC © 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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