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HUBZoneBy Debbie Gregory.

Every small business owner wants to optimize their use of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) resources and offerings. But some of the SBA’s programs can be difficult to understand, making them harder to utilize. One of the most used and hardest to understand SBA offerings is the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) program. Because of this, the SBA has introduced an additional online training module to help small business owners to better understand the HUBZone program and status protests.

The program, fashioned in response to the HUBZone Empowerment Act, was generated by Congress in 1998. HUBZones assist small companies in underserved communities gain access to federal contract opportunities. This is accomplished through promoting job growth, capital investment and economic development in economically depressed areas, in rural and urban communities and on Indian reservations.

The new training module “Understanding HUBZone Protests” explains what a HUBZone status protest is. It  clarifies how they are initiated, who can file a protest, how the SBA responds to status protests and how a HUBZone status protest determination can be appealed. This training module is the third in a series of mini-primers, intended to help business owners better understand the program through short, focused learning exercises.

The new HUBZone training module can be accessed through the SBA’s Government Contracting Classroom and the agency’s Online Learning Center, where many other courses are offered. This course, along with other training modules offered by the SBA, includes a downloadable workbook that supports the users grasp on content of the course.

The training and information options offered by the SBA are offered to help small businesses gain access to and benefit from the more than $400 billion in federal contracts that are awarded each year.

Small businesses bring competition and innovation to federal contract markets.  The SBA helps firms benefit from those markets.  Frequent the www.VAMBOA.org and www.sba.gov websites for smarter and more accessible ways to access SBA programs.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

Key factors of BusinessBy Debbie Gregory.

Bottom line, it takes hard work, know-how, and tremendous determination for owners of small firms to be successful. Small business ownership is not about avoiding a forty hour work week, as many business owners put in closer to eighty hours a week to get their businesses up and running.

Close to 40 million businesses are started each year. Of these, approximately 350,000 survive and make money. So how can small business owners overcome the odds and make their company one of the success stories? Some of the keys to success depend on luck and timing. But many successful people and companies have sworn by a few key factors of success that they rely on, again and again.

Have a plan: Everyone in the business world agrees that having a plan is important. But plans don’t have to be big undertakings. Nor should they be a bar that you must always measure your current situation up against. Plans should start small, and expand over time. Initial plans should include identifying your target customers/clients, figuring out what their needs are, and how your business is going to meet those needs. Internal plans include establishing responsibilities, setting realistic short and long term goals, and devising ways to track your company’s performance.

Build a Dream Team: Just like in sports, one player cannot win championships. Yes, superstars make winning easier. But teams win when everyone knows their roles and plays their positions well. You may be a superstar worker at your company, but you can only do so much. Surround yourself with great players who are willing to follow your lead and play within your system. And don’t be afraid to add a few other superstars to your team, they can only add to your team’s talent level.

Consider your product: Is there demand for your product? Does it solve a customer’s problem? Are there products similar to yours in your market? How can you improve upon or out-do your competitions’ product or product delivery method? While running a successful business does require a lot passion, it must also fill a need (or serious want). And once you decide on a product, be sure to use your passion for your product to ensure that it is the best product of its kind in the market.

Constantly re-evaluate your process: Once you have the right product, people, and plan in place, it is important to generate and constantly improve upon your company’s process of creating, selling and distributing your product. Most business fail to do so, and as a result, fail to meet customers’ expectations. These expectations fluctuate, so it is important to stay on top of consumer trends.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

SBA San Diego District Office

The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE are presenting this free workshop about Owning a Franchise and the Special Assistance Available for Veterans.

Topics:

  • How to Own a Franchise
  • Special Assistance for Veterans & Disabled Veterans Interested in Owning a Franchise
  • How to finance the purchase of a franchise or financial assistance for franchise owners.
  • Financing with Rollovers as Business Start-ups (ROBS) Plans
  • All about Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDD)
  • SBA Products and Services to help you start, manage and grow your business!

Presenter:

Frank Caperino is a volunteer counselor for SCORE and has extensive knowledge about owning and operating a franchise business. He has owned eight Cold Stone Creameries over a period of fifteen years and currently works as a consultant for FranChoice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 | 9:00 am PST – 11:00 am PST
San Diego Public Library – Mary Hollis Clark Conference Center 
330 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92101 (2 hours free parking in building)
Click Here to Register!
Contact: Rosa Rodarte, 619-727-4877, rosa.rodarte@sba.gov
Fee: This is a free event.

SBA’s participation in this activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any participants, person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
Contact: Jill Andrews, SBA – 619-727-4885.

Franchising

Many of the articles we write address the fact that Veterans are 45% more likely to go into business for themselves than their civilian counterparts. But many Veterans don’t have the business or marketing backgrounds that are advantageous to create, grow and maintain a thriving company from the ground up. That’s why, more and more, Veteran entrepreneurs are turning to franchising opportunities in order to be their own boss.

Franchising is not for everyone, or even every Veteran. But those who have military experience have found great success, working within established systems, using established brands, and other corporations’ established practices to run successful businesses.

To simplify the process, franchising utilizes the method of distributing products or services with at least two levels of people involved. The first level is the franchisor (corporation) that sells memberships for use of their trademark or brand name and their established business system. The other is the franchisee (entrepreneur), who often pays fees and royalties for the right to do business under the franchisor’s name and system. The contract binding the two parties is the “franchise,” but we often hear that term used to mean the actual business that the franchisee operates.

Whether Veteran entrepreneurs decide to buy into a franchise or start their own brand from scratch, there are a number of important questions they should consider, including:

What type of business do you want to own? Depending on the industry that you want to break into and the saturation of that industry in your area, a franchise could either be the less costly or more costly choice. It’s better to narrow down the business type first, and then look at franchises available to you in that industry. Research each franchisor thoroughly, and see the initial fee and royalties that they will charge, and what they require from you to be a franchisee. Also, take a careful look at what support they are offering you in return. Click here to see franchisors approved for SBA loans.

How are your business and marketing skills? If they are strong, and you have an interesting idea for a unique product or brand, then you might want the freedom to operate your business your way. If you have less business experience, you might find comfort knowing that you have the backing and know-how of a larger corporation behind you. It is important to remember that in franchising, the franchise brand is more important than anything else. While providing a quality service and product are important, the customer’s loyalty is to the brand, not the individual franchisee.

What brand, product, service can be your life? If you own a business, you will need to live, breathe, eat, sleep and be that business. You should consider industries that you have experience in, as well as a passion for, and an extreme desire to succeed in.

Do you have the necessary support system to start a company or franchise? If your family doesn’t support the decision, the business could fail before your grand opening. You also need a banker, investors, an accountant, and even a lawyer to help you get your business contracts signed to start and maintain your business or franchise. Also, make sure that the franchise owner requirements listed by the franchisor fit in to your skill set and lifestyle.

Your success as a franchisee is based on your willingness to work within a pre-existing system, and help build the value inherent in the brand. This should not be a problem for Veterans, especially those with leadership experience. Still, franchising is not for everyone, so you have to be honest with your ego, and make an informed decision.

For more information or advice, you can also seek assistance from the SBA.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching,Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Veteran Entrepreneurs Should Consider Franchise Opportunities: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA cyber security

Cyberattacks against private businesses and the government,  including hacks, seem to be on the rise. The recent hacks of Home Depot, Target, Sony Entertainment and the U.S. military’s Central Command have heightened our need to safeguard our cyber presence against potential threats. Our online information, records and documents, in both the government and private business sectors, are at constant risk.

Small businesses are increasingly becoming more of a target for criminals looking to access sensitive data because attackers know that small businesses tend to have limited resources dedicated to their cyber security.

The protection of sensitive data, such as business invoices, client and employee data, payroll records, and other proprietary information is essential to the security, and ultimate success, of a small business. Much like installing locks and other physical security measures, it is imperative that business owners learn how to identify vulnerabilities in their cyber security that could potentially put their firms at risk.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has taken steps to strengthen its public and private sector partnerships on cyber security. The aim of the SBA is to help small businesses learn how to guard against cyberattacks, secure their business information, and identify security threats.

Providing the protective tools and techniques needed to maintain and guard business information and systems, the SBA has developed a free online course called Cybersecurity for Small Businesses to help educate business owners as to how to secure their online information. The information also assists in the evaluation and usage of security tools and techniques.

The SBA has previously conducted cybersecurity workshops for small business owners across the country in partnership with the FBI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The program was renewed in December 2014, and the SBA is in the process of coordinating the 2015 calendar of workshops.

The SBA’s cyber security programs are in line with President Obama’s newly announced legislative proposal, a program that will facilitate seamless sharing of information about cyber security vulnerabilities, and potential hacks between government and private business websites.

In a recent statement, President Obama said, “Our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business CoachingContracting Opportunities, aBlog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans.Join Now!

VAMBOA: SBA Offers Cyber Security Resources to Business Owners: By Debbie Gregory

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