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Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a Business

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By Debbie Gregory.

There are no limits on who can become a great entrepreneur. If you fancy yourself an entrepreneur, odds are you already have the drive, but, you might not know where to start. Launching a business takes planning, decision making, goal setting and action. So before you jump into self-employment, here are a few key questions to ask yourself.

What is my talent and who is my customer? Whether you are offering goods or services, make sure you are offering a solution people are looking for and are willing to pay for. Write up a business plan, which will serve as a roadmap to your success. Maintain your focus and don’t try to be all things to all customers. Your target market is the ideal client looking for what you have to offer.

Do I have the discipline it takes to make it as a business owner? Are you disciplined enough to report for duty, even on the days when the sun is shining and the temptation to play hooky is strong. Being your own boss often means working longer and harder than you would if you were an employee. Success in business requires passion, a lot of hard work, staying power and drive.

Can I assemble a team that will help drive my business success? You can’t go at it alone; a team will help you build and grow your business. Even if you plan to be a sole proprietor, you’ll probably need an outside support team to keep you focused and on track. These people may include a lawyer, accountant, sales rep, web developer, etc.

How will I finance the business? Your business plan should give you an idea of how much funding you will need to cover not only your startup costs but also ongoing expenses before you are generating a profit. Evaluate your options, including business credit cards, lines of credit, vendor credit, a business loan, or a combination of these sources.

By Debbie Gregory.

The entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset. It’s an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It’s a mindset that embraces critical questioning, innovation, service and continuous improvement.

Many millennials get their idea of entrepreneurship from watching Shark Tank, giving little thought to the fact that most of the goods and services they enjoy probably sprang from the imagination of an entrepreneur.

Fred Smith is the founder, chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx. In 1962, Smith entered Yale University. While attending Yale, he wrote a paper for an economics class, outlining overnight delivery service in a computer information age. It is said that his professor told him that, in order for him to get a C, the idea had to be feasible.

Following his graduation, Smith served two tours in Vietnam with the Marine Corps, one as an infantry officer and one as a forward air controller. There he witnessed the military’s logistics operations, using flight to move personnel and equipment on a massive scale.

After leaving the military with a few distinguishing medals, including a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, Smith bought an aviation company that would grow to be FedEx. He named the company Federal Express because he believed the patriotic meaning associated with the word “federal” suggested an interest in nationwide economic activity.

Federal Express officially began operations on April 17, 1973. That night, 14 small aircraft took off from Memphis and delivered 186 packages to 25 U.S. cities.

Today, FedEx is consistently recognized as one of the most admired brands in the world and one of the best places to work. But like many innovative companies, it started out as an idea championed by a determined person.

Industries for Veteran Entrepreneur Start-Ups

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By Debbie Gregory.

Thinking about the years ahead can help you plan your goals and strategies better and if you do it right, you can beat your entrepreneur competitors to the finish line by doing something before they do.

Here are the industries to watch in 2018:

Classroom education

Tools geared toward educators are helping to transform the educational process. Schoology creates a platform for teachers, parents, and students to review work and communicate with one another. Newsela, an Instructional Content Platform that supercharges reading engagement and learning in every subject, uses artificial intelligence to transform news articles into age-appropriate reading comprehension materials. Examity, a startup that helps administer online tests while preventing cheating, has partnerships with more than 100 universities.

Health screening

Artificial intelligence might soon be able to diagnose patients better than your physician. Freenome is working on technology that would be able to detect cancer in the body, including its location and type, using only blood samples. Grail also has an early-stage cancer detection system.


Oscar offers health insurance policies via a user-friendly app-based interface. Lemonade targets the under and un-insured market of renters.


In the legal arena, CaseText has developed software that can read a brief and suggest relevant past cases in a matter of seconds. LawGeex, offer platforms that can examine written contracts for missing information, troublesome language, or other potential red flags.


The wedding industry is in a state flux, and engaged couple are by and large ditching the wedding planner and directly contracting their caterers, bartenders, DJs, and other vendors themselves. Companies like the Knot’s offer an app that includes contact information and access to some 300,000 vendors. Joy, a free wedding website and app, allows users to build a website, create and manage their guest list, send paperless “Save the Dates” and invitations, share details about the event, and more.


By Debbie Gregory

Veteran Business Owner Sonny Tosco is a go-getter. The 30 year-old entrepreneur is not shy about going after what he wants.

That skill came in handy during his time at West Point, his six years of service as an Army operations officer, and most recently in his role as CEO of Limelight Mobile,  a social platform that lets users source real-time images from anywhere in the world.

Tosco came from a low income California immigrant family.  He knew the only way to get ahead was to attend a top-tier school and excel.  In 2002, Tosco was accepted to West Point.

The transition from West Point to active duty had its challenges, and Tosco used his off-duty time to explore entrepreneurship.  As a result, not only did he learn a lot of valuable information, his military career began to improve.

During his deployment to Bahrain, Tosco found that the media had misrepresented the situation on the ground. While they were prepared for battle, the areas where he was deployed to still had American families, conducting daily life as usual.

He felt that had Limelight existed back then, things would have been different. The community driven app designed to crowd source photos from anywhere on earth would have allowed him to see anywhere in the world in real time. He would have been able to reach out to anyone on the map and ask them to send a photo of their location. And that quality information would have benefitted pre-deployment preparation.

But life is not without tragedy, and the successive loss of both of his parents, a good friend, as well as the miscarriage of his child left Tosco revaluating his life. In 2012, he decided to transition out of the military. His military career came to an end, but his entrepreneurial journey was just beginning.

Today, Tosco is raising seed funding for the second version of the app.  Approximately 35% of all users log in on a daily basis, compared to the 5% for other social platforms.

Tosco connected with Don Faul, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the COO of Pinterest, who has provided Tosco and his team with guidance.

Sonny Tosco is achieving his dream.