April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
17 Jun 2015

Gaining New Knowledge – It Should Never End

professional devI recently read an article on PickTheBrain.com that talked about the importance of life-long learning. Being out of school, whether that be after high school graduation or upon completion of your post-graduate degree(s), there is a necessity to continue to learn. Think about what you know now, after years of employment or owning your own business (or both), and compare your current knowledge to when you “finished” school. Whether you gain new information through reading, attending seminars and webinars, taking courses at your local university, or enjoying the convenience of online courses, continuing to expand your knowledge is essential to your continued growth as an individual and as a professional.

The various opportunities to gain new knowledge offered through the National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is focused on this exact premise – the need to continue to expand your knowledge not only of the asset inventory industry, but also areas of that benefit all small business owners.

Read a book

When I was a young girl, my summers were filled with weekly visits to the library. I checked out as many books that I was allowed to have at one time and devoured them. One of the fond memories of my childhood are those of sitting under a tree in the back yard reading about anything and everything I was interested in. Now we don’t need to even leave the house to read a book. Ebooks are available everywhere!

The NICA bookstore provides a variety of business topics, and not just for inventory professionals. Specific to the industry, there are ebooks for the do-it-yourselfer to learn how to complete home, business, and RV inventories. For the business professional, downloadable products include networking, goal-setting, and achieving success. And anyone who owns a computer knows the importance of keeping your computer running well and clear of malware. We even have a book for that!

Take a course

There are a plethora options to enrich your knowledge on just about any subject of interest. Local universities and community colleges are a great source, and you don’t have to be earning a degree to attend. Many schools also offer online courses if you prefer the convenience of learning from home.

The courses developed for NICA are downloadable for immediate access. These Continuing Professional Education courses are self-paced, so you can fit them into your schedule no matter how busy you are. We provide courses written to meet the needs of the asset inventory professional. However, our association acknowledges that there is more to being a professional than just having industry knowledge. Therefore, our current list of business courses includes the topics of time management, customer service, and social media.

Achieve certification

Some choose to pick and choose their topics. For example, you might want to take a cooking class, one on photography, or learn more about a hobby in which you have just developed an interest. If you just started your business, an accounting course might be in your best interest.

Some, however, do seek their first college degree. There are a variety of reasons for this. Many see it as a need to enhance their resume to find a better job or to get a promotion. Others – many entrepreneurs and business owners – find this formal education as a way to achieve growth to help them gain an all-around business knowledge. Earning a degree isn’t reserved just for the young. As an adult student, I am proud to have achieved my bachelor’s degree when I was in my 40’s and my MBA in my early 50’s.

A college degree isn’t for everyone. Many prefer to focus on exhibiting their expertise in their professional field (accountants, insurance agents, realtors, etc.) by achieving certifications. This helps them stand out from the others in their industry and to show their clients and prospective clients that they value being one of the best. In our industry, NICA offers a program to earn a Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation.

All forms of continuing education for self-improvement are excellent. The key is to keep learning, keep your skills sharp, and your areas of interest growing. This creates a well-rounded  individual – one who is knowledgeable, interesting – and just as important – interested in others.

22 Apr 2015

Inventory YOU

WonderingWhen is the last time YOU took inventory?

This is a question I am often asked, since one of my businesses, Hartman Inventory, is a personal property inventory service.  As an asset inventory professional, you probably immediately thought about your last job, too.

But this time, I’m not talking about home or company contents. What I’m wondering is, when is the last time you took inventory of yourself?

As business owners and entrepreneurs, we must always keep an accurate inventory of what we are doing. We must continually check our focus, goals, and achievements. Do we bring value to our industry, in general, and to our business(es), specifically?

Knowledge and Wisdom

A couple areas that might need to be updated are knowledge and wisdom. Taking time to evaluate ourselves is often something many just don’t do. Busy with the day-to-day busy-ness of life, this valuable process of pondering, dreaming, planning, etc., is often forgotten.

Stop right now and take an inventory. When is the last time you read a self-improvement book,  took an online continuing education course, attended a seminar or webinar, or participated in a networking event? Without regularly taking inventory of your progress, there is a high chance that you and your business will not grow.

Gaining new knowledge regarding our specific business is essential. Knowledge of our industry in general is also imperative to become or remain a leader.  Continued learning will result in greater wisdom. Wisdom, to me, is using the knowledge you have – and using it appropriately. We can use it to improve our business skills, industry expertise, and ourselves (the most important of the three).

When is the last time you took inventory of you?