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.

How To Know Who To Trust

TrustIt’s the start of another year. If you are like the majority, you are realizing that once again your dream of starting a business was put on the back burner. The days passed and 2014 came to a close without any serious action taken. You might be no further along with that dream than exactly that – just being a dream. Will it sit again for another year? Or will you focus and start working toward business ownership? Just taking small steps is better than letting it gather dust.

Where do you start? You probably already know what you want to do, but haven’t decided who you want to help you get started. For most industries, there are many options available. You can, of course, start on your own without any help from anyone. The true entrepreneur, creating your processes and procedures, developing your marketing materials, making all the decisions!

Most people, thought, realize that they need help. If you’re working full time while working toward your dream, you will need assistance just due to the time factor. How do you know which product or service will serve you best? How do you know what company will serve your needs?

This is a common topic when discussing one of my companies, Nationwide Inventory Professionals. Often people inquire about the business package and licensing agreement when doing their due diligence before starting a home and business inventory company. We exchange multiple emails and have a few discussions regarding what we have to offer, so each person can compare our product and service to the software packages, start-up kits, and any other assistance they might be considering. Proper due diligence can help them make the right decision. It can help you make the right decision.

The right decision for one might not be the right decision for another – the prime reason each person must do their own due diligence. Questions to ask (for any product or service) might include:

  • What makes you an expert in your field?
  • What is your support/customer service policy?
  • How soon will I be ready to be in business?
  • What is your guarantee?
  • What is the cost?
  • What other expenses will I incur?
  • Who should I call if I have questions?
  • How soon should I expect a response?
  • Who do I trust to help me meet my goals?

These are key items you’ll want to have answers to before you make your investment. Listen to their words, but also listen to their voice. Do they sound sincere? Do you believe they are answering your questions honestly? Do they respond to your emails? Do they call you back after you leave a message? Their actions speak volumes.

The most important of all the above questions is the one that asks “Who do I trust to help me meet my goals?” Do they display that sense of trust?

To help you learn more about the company and the owners/managers, follow them on social media. This can tell you a lot about the people and the organization. One of the best comments shared by a current Licensee of Nationwide Inventory Professionals explains why this is important. “I followed you for a couple months on Facebook and found you’re the type of person I want to do business with.”  Read what others are saying about them. Obviously, you’ll learn a lot about someone –  who you want to do business with; who you can trust.

You’re making a big decision. Be sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed. When you have gained a level of trust, then you’ll know you’ve chosen the right person and company to work with.

Ready, Set, Go!

ReadySetGoIt’s the new year. With it comes the many articles, blog posts, and conversations on social media about starting anew. New job. New exercise program. New diet. New goals. New promises. New business venture. New life.

I’ve always wondered why people wait until January 1. I hear “When the new year gets here, I’m going to ….” (insert just about anything here). When that statement is made, I can see someone at the starting line of a race, looking at their watch, waiting for the clock to tick to 12:00 midnight.

Why wait to get started? You might want to look at it this way: waiting has really put you behind.

Get started now

Waiting has put you behind? Behind what? Behind in achieving the result you’re seeking, behind in achieving your goal – whether that goal is eating healthier, losing weight, finding a new job, starting a business – whatever you are waiting for January 1 to begin. And since January 1 is now history, does that mean you should wait another 11 months before you begin? Absurd!

Yes, January 1st is a milestone of sorts. But only on a calendar. It’s not really any different than any other day – it’s just another 24 hours to use as you choose. Waiting for the “big day” to come along, in reality, has delayed your success. How many big things could you have already started?  Where would you be with your new idea, new goal, new focus, new you, new business, new lifestyle, if you started it when you thought of it? You might be 3 or 6 months into your new success by now, rather than waiting for that special day to define the new beginning.

The day you start your new venture (or adventure if you want to look at it that way) is a milestone day. THAT is a special day. Defined by you.

Starting a Business is Like Learning a Board Game

boardgameHave you ever purchased or received a board game as a gift? I’m sure just about everyone has. If you aren’t familiar with it, and you don’t have someone to teach you the rules, it can be a tedious process to read and understand all the directions.

Many times, even when the instructions sound quite simple, they turn out to be quite complex when applying them action. It can be frustrating, frequently taking away the anticipated fun and excitement. You often have to play a few “practice” games with your opponents to figure it out before you begin playing “for real.” Sometimes, you just feel like you want to quit before you get started – or you do quit. This often results in losing out on a lot of fun. If you just had the right person to help you get started!

The same is true in business. Some of the questions you have can be quite similar to those when learning the rules of the new game:

  • How many people are required?
  • Is it a game of chance or skill?
  • What do I need to do or know before I begin?
  • How long does it usually take to finish the game (… complete a website, create marketing materials, develop a prospect list, etc.)?
  • What if I get stuck; who can help me?
  • If I run out of tokens, cards, chips, how do I get more?

The problem is, when starting a business you aren’t likely to get to practice first before you start. Your investment is made whether you win or lose. The best way to begin is to have someone who has played the game before, who can teach you what they know, and help you maneuver around the board to be successful. You are more likely to win when you have someone guiding you.

A franchise or similar business model can be that guide.  Our business package and licensing agreement is exactly that. Our years of knowledge are included in the manual, along with continued support and mentoring. When there are questions like those listed above, we provide the answers.

  • How many people are required? We help our licensees decide the best business model for them, their goals, and the industry.
  • Is it a game of chance or skill? Definitely skill and knowledge.
  • What do I need to do or know before I begin? Nothing – we help, every step of the way.
  • How long does it usually take to finish the game (… complete a website, create marketing materials, design a logo, etc.)? Your marketing materials will be ready within 30 days!
  • What if I get stuck; who can help me? We offer unlimited mentoring and support.

Most quality business packages offer this type of assistance. That’s why it’s well worth the investment.

No need for trial-and-error; we already did that. No need for practicing; we already did that. No need to make costly mistakes; we already did that. You start right the first time, without needing do-overs. Your investment comes with instructions!



Fulfill your desire to help others.

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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.