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By Debbie Gregory.

It seems that you can’t watch an hour-long news program without the mention of at least one of many hardships Veterans are facing. Along with VA scandals, there are struggles with PTSD, unemployment, homelessness, and underemployment. These societal ills have scourged all generations of Veterans, and are taking an extreme toll on the Post-9/11 generation. But from pain and discomfort, the strong usually seek ways to improve their situation. It is for these reasons that Veterans are 45% more likely to seek self-employment through entrepreneurial ventures that their non-Veteran peers.

But Veterans aren’t just shucking off their uniforms and conforming to life in business suits. They are taking their military experience with them into entrepreneurship, and getting positive results. Many in the business world are now looking to Veteran business owners as examples of the ideal business owner. Here are a few examples of why:

  • Efficiency– It is commonly joked about that the most effective military leaders are the ones who are free to goof around on their computer all day. While we know that this isn’t true, the culture of military leadership is to prioritize tasks and delegate work as needed. Veteran business owners are more likely to heighten efficiency by delegating tasks, freeing them up for more critical tasks.
  • Leadership– Everyone in the military answers to somebody else, and at some point in their career, most enlisted personnel have others below them. Taking and giving orders is a skill, just like anything else, and Veterans have had some of the best training around. Those with military leadership experience have the conditioning to make important decisions and assign tasks in a manner that can instill confidence from their employees.
  • Team Building– Veterans know that the key to accomplishing any mission is to have all members of their team working together, as one unit. It doesn’t matter if that mission is securing a building, cleaning the workspace, or meeting a sales quota, the principles are all the same, and Veterans have been conditioned with the mentality to apply that principle to any task.
  • Selling Commitment– Most living things instinctivelydo whatever they can to preserve their lives. Service members rush towards danger. That’s not by accident, that’s by mental conditioning and by being sold on a commitment to your comrades, to your unit, and to your country. There are no better cheerleaders and brand sellers than military personnel and Veterans.
  • Gathering Intel– This is an attribute that is often overlooked. But because of the thought process involved with immersing one’s self into battle, Veterans have been conditioned to study the field, know the rules of engagement, and keep a constant tally on their assets. This type of thinking is second-nature to those who have served, and comes in handy when developing and carrying out a business plan.

Veteran business owners apply these same skills to their businesses. There are numerous other skills and attributes that Veterans picked up through their military experience that contribute to their success as business owners. With the right resources and the right mindset, Veterans know that they can accomplish anything.

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: Five Examples Why Veteran Are Successful Business Owners: By Debbie Gregory

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

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

SCOREOn August 14, 2014 the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrated the 50th anniversary of SCORE.

SCORE, a coalition of experienced and successful businessmen, was officially launched in 1964 as the Service Corps of Retired Executives by then SBA administrator Eugene Foley. From the start, the group was dedicated to the education of entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. SCORE mentors have achieved this goal by providing resources and expertise to maximize the success of existing and emerging small businesses.

Today, SCORE consists of more than 11,000 mentors, serving every state in the country. These men and women share invaluable small business wisdom with today’s small business owners. They help with writing business plans, preparing for obtaining business loans and help small business owners manage their revenue, handle their cash flow and market themselves to build their customer base and hopefully go from small businesses to big businesses.

In its half century existence, the coalition became a non-profit organization and dropped the acronym, but SCORE volunteers are still carrying out the original mission of passing their knowledge on to future generations of American entrepreneurs and innovators. Over the five decades, the volunteers have given back because they’ve accumulated a lifetime’s worth of expertise and have chosen to share what they’ve learned with the people of their communities. Their dedication has helped an estimated 10.5 million entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

See how the mentors at SCORE can help you and your small business at www.score.org

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: 50 Years of SCORE: By Debbie Gregory

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