That’s where Sean Miku’s business, Equipped (http://www.getequipped.net), can help.
Q: What does your business do? What services do you provide?
Miku: In the event of a loss of your home, whether partial or full, i.e. fire, flood, tornado, theft, etc., the first thing your insurance company will ask you to do is fill out an inventory of everything in the home. If you can’t remember things at that time, you don’t get compensated for them.
For example, if you don’t have the serial number of your flatscreen TV written down, you will be subject to depreciation on that item, which will cost you hundreds of dollars, and that’s just one item.
So, in essence, Equipped goes into our clients homes and documents (i.e. pictures, description, serial numbers, model numbers, etc.) everything in the home before the loss occurs. We compile it into a beautiful report, which is returned to them in a portfolio, on a CD, and accessible via iPhone/Android app.
Our goal is if you pull into your driveway and your house has been destroyed, we want you to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. With a home inventory, you will hand the document to your insurance agent and the claim will be processed in a matter of a couple weeks as opposed to six, or more, months.
Equipped is an industry leader in the home inventory industry, and having a home inventory is recommended by your insurance agent.
Q: Where did the idea or inspiration for your business come from?
Miku: It’s kind of funny, the idea first came from my wife, but it started as a business for managing disaster preparation items in people’s homes. We took that idea and turned it into a disaster preparedness business (which we still offer that service), and then, while discussing the business with my insurance agent’s secretary, she gave me the idea of home inventory.
I had never heard of it before, started researching it, and then was blessed with the opportunity to be taken under the wing of the pioneer of the industry who has taught me firsthand the things she has learned over the course of 20 years, and is the founder of The Inventory Institute (http://www.inventoryinstitute.info), of which Equipped is proud to be a member.
Q: How did you develop that into the business it is today?
Miku: The development of Equipped has really just come with time. I have put a lot of time in the building up, and branding, of Equipped. Additionally, I view my business plan and marketing strategy as a living document. I’m constantly making little changes to stay ahead of the ever-changing picture for small businesses.
Q: What are the rewards and challenges you face as a business owner?
Miku: As a business owner, you are always challenged. You have to stay on top of your schedule, categorize the importance of items on your to-do list, and stay focused on the task at hand in order to reach your goals. Nothing worth having is easily attained; however, by overcoming each challenge you are faced with, whether it feels like a mountain or a mole hill, you get closer to your goals and, to me, surpassing my goals is the reward. No risk, no reward. You have to step out of the boat, take a leap and work hard, but the rewards are exceptional.
Q: What do you feel is the most important role you play in your business?
Miku: I would say the most important role I play in my business right now is nailing down a firm, rock-solid foundation so we can rapidly grow and expand.
Q: What advice would you share with other young professionals?
Miku: Don’t give up, be persistent. The fact is that we are in a very difficult economic climate right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful and reach your goals. Your goals are always within reach, even on the days when you feel a million miles away from them, but you have to dig down deep, stay focused, work harder and maintain a positive attitude. And, do something you love. Be passionate about it. If you’re not passionate about what you do, you won’t be successful; find your passion and build off it.
Q: How do you balance your professional life with your private one?
Miku: I actually just finished writing a magazine article about this same thing. I have five principles I live by when balancing my personal and professional life, and they are as follows: be organized, have a schedule but be flexible, give whomever you are with 100 percent of your attention, stay focused on the task at hand and manage your time well (delegation)
By taking those five things as your foundation, and sticking to it, you’ll find that you aren’t taking work home with you and you aren’t bringing your personal life to the office. Best of both worlds!
Q: What is one piece of advice you were given in your career that has stuck with you? Who gave you this advice?
Miku: I think the best piece of advice I have been given was from Donald Trump, and it was something I mentioned above, and that is to be passionate about what you do. People ask me if I’m passionate about documenting people’s stuff. No, I’m not, but I love to help people. I’m passionate about helping people and that is what Equipped is doing. We are helping people be prepared and that preparation will save them thousands of dollars, hundreds of tears and hours of headaches. I love to help people.