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VAMBOA TipsOwning and operating a small business is one of the most demanding career choices that Veterans can make. Starting a new business is not a get rich quick scheme. Most newly-minted small business owners may have to put in a lot of hours and hard work in the beginning, but it pays off in the long run. Here are some tips provided by Veteran business owners that new small business owners might find useful:

Set the standard: As the owner, your employees will do as you do. Therefore, you need to lead by example. Whether its customer service, personal grooming, keeping your business clean or any other function specific to your company, hold yourself to the highest standard, one your employees can proudly emulate.

Put customer satisfaction before profits: When your customers are thrilled with the products and service that your company provides, they will return again and again, giving you repeat business. If, as an owner, you are more concerned with profits than your customers, it will show, and customers may not do business with you in the future. Customers are what generate profits.

Don’t neglect to pay yourself. You and none of your employees should ever go without pay. If your personal finances are a mess, it will distract you from what you need to do to help your business grow.

Learn from your mistakes: Small business ownership is not an exact science. There is not one book with all of the definitive answers containing the hidden secrets that your business can use to guarantee success. Small business ownership is all about learning your customer base, the community, and how to bring your business to them. Be aware of the risks, make bold decisions, and then learn from them.

Employees are your business’ most effective resource: Learn how to delegate, and don’t micromanage. Start by hiring the right individuals to work for you, and then, let them do their jobs with you as their confident, but not stifling leader. This ties in with customer satisfaction; customers who want good service know when they are dealing with employees who truly understand their job and do it to the best of their ability, and when an employee is handcuffed by micromanagement. No customer wants to repeat business with a firm whose employees aren’t capable of providing good service.

Show up: There will be days when you won’t feel like going to work. And as the boss, it would be easy to just take the day off. But don’t let the temptation to slack off a little ruin your business… because it will, if you let it.

Keep your integrity intact: At the toughest times, it may seem conceivable to shortchange a customer or employee, or hide a receipt from the taxman. But taking ethical shortcuts will always cost you in the long run. Besides, would you do business with someone who acted unscrupulously? Others might feel the same way.

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: Tips from Veteran Small Biz Owners: By Debbie Gregory

EBV-LogoA considerable number of Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home with some form of VA-rated disability. Many of these disabled Veterans have difficulty adjusting to their new lives, and some are experiencing difficulties finding meaningful employment. But through the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program, disabled Veterans are becoming empowered small business owners.

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program offers top of the line training and experience in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 Veterans, disabled as a result of their military service. The program is offered at no cost to participating Veterans, and does not require the use of any Veteran education benefits.

The program is based on three principles:

1) Developing skills in the activities associated with launching and growing a small business

2) Teaching disabled Veterans to leverage state and federal programs for Veterans and people with disabilities

3) Establishing a support structure for graduates of the program

EBV originated in 2007 at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. EBV now has offerings at the Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, the E.J. Ourso College of Business at LSU, Florida State University’s College of Business, the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, the University of Connecticut School of Business, and the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

The EBV program is an invaluable opportunity for disabled Veterans to take an important step toward economic freedom through entrepreneurship. The program is selective based on eligibility, need and potential. Applications for EBV will be accepted from Veterans who:

  • Have separated from active duty service after 2001 (or are currently in the administrative process of separating)
  • Have been identified as having a ‘service-connected disability’ as a result of their military service (including activated National Guard and Reserves) Note: Can be in process of evaluation of disability through the VA
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership/management

Applicants must also submit their Résumé and two Letters of Recommendation when filling out an online EBV Application Form.

The selection process will be based on the ‘whole-person’ concept, with a focus on an assessment of the applicant’s potential to excel in the program. Also taken into consideration is the Veteran’s potential to excel upon graduating from the EBV in the area of entrepreneurship and small business management.

NOTE: The percentage of your disability is not a factor in determining your acceptance into the EBV program.

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: Crash Course in Entrepreneurship for Vets: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA: SBA Learning Center: By Debbie Gregory

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SBA Learning CenterOne of the greatest advantages to running your own small business is that you are your own boss. The down-side to this is that there usually isn’t anyone else within the company that has more experience or knowledge to rely on; it’s just you. As the owner of a small business, you need to be on top of the latest business trends, technologies and laws. Luckily, to that end, entrepreneurs can utilize the SBA Learning Center.

The SBA Learning Center, powered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), offers small business owners a wealth of resources. The site provides online training courses, videos, and live chat sessions with SBA representatives. Some of these resources help business owners learn about the government programs available to them, including grants, loans and exemptions.

There are also “Featured Training” courses that every entrepreneur should take. Whether you’re just getting your feet wet, trying to tread water, or sailing full-steam ahead, your business questions can be answered by utilizing the learning center’s educational resources. The site also contains tools that go beyond just education.

There is a link that connects small business owners directly to assistance in their area. By clicking on the “Find Resources” tab, under “Get Local Assistance,” entrepreneurs can be locate mentors, counselors, and training from SBA district offices, SCORE chapters, Small Biz Development Centers, and Women’s Biz Centers by zip code.

The SBA Learning Center also showcases the “Featured Tool” that shows entrepreneurs how their small business matches up against similar companies in their communities, in their state, and in the nation.

By clicking “Start Analysis” you are prompted to input your industry and location. From there, business owners can compare their business to industry competitors, find the best places in your town to target an advertising campaign, and map out competitors, customers and suppliers.

There is a multitude of resources available to small business owners through the SBA at www.sba.gov.

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: SBA Learning Center: By Debbie Gregory

Boots to BusinessBoots to Business program is set to benefit from $1.12 million in grants.

On September 19, 2014, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it has entered into a cooperative agreement with America’s Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, and the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC). This co-op has agreed to provide a total of $1.12 million worth of funding needed to facilitate resource partner participation in SBA’s Boots to Business program.

The SBA’s Boots to Business program provides training to transitioning service members and military spouses who are interested in business ownership. The program functions as part of the Defense Department’s TAP program. The original Boots to Business began as a pilot program in 2012, and was expanded in 2013.

Each year, more than 250,000 service members separate from the military ranks. With their experience and leadership skills, Veterans have proven to be natural entrepreneurs. Veterans are more likely to be self-employed than those with no active-duty military experience. There are approximately 2.45 million Veteran owned small businesses in the U.S., making up approximately 9% of all American small businesses. Veteran owned small businesses employ more than five million Americans, generating more than one trillion dollars of sales receipts each year.

“Veterans make some of our country’s best entrepreneurs, and we are investing in them by ensuring our partners are funded to maximize the training and support they provide to service members embarking on their post-service careers,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “We owe so much to those who have served in our Armed Forces and sacrificed so much.  Our veterans deserve opportunities, and the SBA and our network of small business experts are ready to help them start their next chapter.”

Since January, 2013, more than 16,000 transitioning service members have participated in the two-day “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” class that was offered on 165 military installations around the globe. This year, the Boots to Business program was appropriated $7 million in the federal budget.

To learn more about the Boots to Business Program and additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.

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: Boots to Business Gets $1.12M: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA DOTThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) views military Veterans as a valuable resource, one that needs to be cultivated and utilized. Proving that the department isn’t just offering lip service, the DOT’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) has been teaming with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other partners to administer the Boots to Business: Reboot program to Veterans and Veteran entrepreneurs.

Through the summer of 2014, Boots to Business: Reboot has presented instructional events with discussions on topics such as developing a business plan, molding business concepts, and overall business fundamentals. Veterans were also connected to a network of resources through the OSDBU and its Small Business Transportation Resource Centers.

The OSDBU’s centers work closely with the transportation contracting community to assist transportation-related businesses in their respective regions. The resource centers also serve to provide business counseling to Veteran-owned businesses.

Veteran entrepreneurs participating in the Boots To Business: Reboot were also connected with resources conducive to locating access start-up capital and additional technical assistance. These resources include: Veteran Business Outreach Center, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and SCORE Counselors.

The DOT sees Veterans as natural entrepreneurs who can make a real impact on the transportation industry. Veterans are disciplined and mission-oriented. Veterans are also decisive and are used to being held accountable.

Unemployment among Post-9/11 Veterans has been consistently higher than the national average. With an increasing number of locally and federally sponsored business ownership programs available to current and former Military personnel, it only makes sense for Veterans to pursue entrepreneurship.

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: Training for Veteran Entrepreneurs: By Debbie Gregory

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