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Branding Your Business

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Branding your business is vital to your success. Branding offers consistency across   your promotional channels including social media, ads, newsletters, and more.  It    generates your unique identity and can increase your perceived professionalism.

 

What is Branding?

Branding is the entire visual representation of your small business. It includes:

  • Your business name
  • Your logo
  • Your color scheme
  • The fonts you use
  • More….

 

Branding is much more than just a cool logo.   Branding encompasses how your business is perceived by your customers or potential customers, how you conduct your business, and what your business stands for. It is not too complicated to brand your business.

 

Key Areas for Successful Branding:

  • Your Key Business Goals: Make sure that your business goals are clearly defined so that you start your branding from a solid foundation. Any ideas that do not fit your goals should be discarded.
  • Define Your Brand: The more time you dedicate to developing your look and feel, the better you will be received in the market. You need to select your website’s domain name, your email addresses, your logo, your color scheme, the tone you will use when writing any communications, typography, etc. Additionally, make sure that your business name is consistent across all of the platforms you use; you do not want to make it difficult or confusing for a potential customer to find you.
  • Who Is Your Target Audience? Though it would be nice if you could target everyone with your product and service, you are more likely to gain business if you have a clear idea of who your target customers are or will be. Make sure that the products or services you offer match the needs of your target clients. Find what makes your business stand out from your competition and highlight it.  How will you fulfill the promises you make to your customers? How will you make them connect personally with your business? When you can help people relate personally to your business, they are more likely to gravitate toward your products and services.
  • Consistent Marketing: With clear goals in hand, a defined brand, and a solid picture of your target audience you can more effectively market your business. Make sure your marketing efforts are consistent with your business goals and establish your brand in the market. Most people today rely upon social media for recommendations and to connect with brands that they identify. Your website alone is not enough in today’s market. Make sure you are where your customers are and make sure it is all consistent! Your website, social media channels, ads (both online and offline), brochures, flyers, posters, business cards, and the like all need to have the same look and feel so that at a quick glance your customers know they are in the right place.

 

Branding your business will have a direct impact on your success.

Take the time to clearly define who you want to be in the market and make sure you stick to it.

Is A Consulting Business Right For You?

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By Debbie Gregory.

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A lot of people feel that they lack the training or expertise necessary to become a consultant. They feel that in order to be a consultant that they need to be an “expert” in one given field. Consulting is one of the best ways to be your own boss. You can work one-on-one with clients, provide online training, give talks or seminars, or combine them all. A consulting business can be started with very little capital, very little overhead, and a handful of clients. Thinking about a career in consulting? Do these four traits describe you?

 

1.) Are You Already Successfully Consulting?

If you have some experience and are continuing to learn in your chosen field, even one or two small successes can help build your credibility and lay the foundations for your solo consulting career. Each individual case that you work on provides you additional tools that to help a client solve his or her challenges.

 

2.) Do You Enjoy Helping Others Succeed?

The best consultants are compassionate and sensitive to the needs of their clients. They seek to understand the individual issues facing their clients and then use this knowledge to help them find the tools for success.  A consultant is teacher. You cannot show up for a client and solve their problems for them. Your job is to give them the tools that they need to succeed without you holding their hand. A true and honest desire to share your knowledge, expertise, and experience is a clear indicator that a career in consulting could be the right path for you.

 

3.)  Are You Someone Who Genuinely Loves to Learn?

To be successful as a consultant you must always be learning. You will start with a good grasp of knowledge about your particular field but you must be able to quickly gain knowledge of your client’s business, and their industry as a whole, in order to help them maintain their credibility (as well as yours). Learning can take place in many ways – you can sit and learn from the client themselves, or read about their industry, learn about their competition, speak with their team members, speak with their customers – basically find as many ways as possible to gain insight into each client’s specific field.

 

4.) Do You Thrive on Variety Each Day?

For the 9-5 crowd their day very rarely differs much from day-to-day. The routine is roughly similar day in and day out.  Even when projects change, they are dealing with the same team, the same target audience, the same products, and so forth. People who make the best consultants crave new experiences and unique challenges that working with clients in all types of fields bring to their day.  They strive to be the problem solver who finds new solutions to various new issues each and every day.

 

Being a consultant and running your own business is not for everyone. It is drastically different than the traditional 9-5 where you are working for someone else; thus it comes with its own challenges but it also comes with a lot more rewards. There is a good chance that if you have the traits listed above you already have everything that you need to make a successful career out of consulting.

Consulting is an excellent fit for both Veterans and Military Spouses and can be done remotely.

 

Small Business Ideas for Veterans – Part 1

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Those who serve in the military obtain many skills in various areas that can be transferred to owning and operating their own business. If you are a veteran who wants to become an entrepreneur, but you don’t know what type of business you want to start, below are some ideas (in alphabetical order) for you to consider:

 

Adventure Travel Business

This is an excellent fit for those who love adventure and travel.  This is the type of business that allows you to customize adventure trips for your clients.  You should be physically able to lead the excursions and be knowledgeable of the areas you are visiting.

 

Arms Dealer

If you are proficient with firearms and can qualify for a gun dealer’s license, that usually includes background checks and fingerprint scans, you can buy and sell firearms as a business.

 

Auto Glass Repair & Replacement

This is a business that can be very lucrative if you have a solid customer base and provide good customer service. If you can’t secure a location that is spacious enough to contain all the vehicles whose windshields you might have to work on, consider a mobile replacement operation. Mobile glass replacement is becoming very popular to consumers.

 

Auto Repair Business

You must enjoy working on autos and be willing to constantly update your knowledge as the technology changes.

 

Campgrounds

Starting a campground business is a wonderful business for those who love the outdoors. You will probably need to hire others to help out in the day to day operations, but camping has become more popular and can be lucrative.

 

Commercial Cleaning Business

Commercial cleaners keep the interiors and exteriors of businesses clean to ensure that the business image is hygienic and positive.  All you would need are the cleaning supplies and knowledge of cleaning chemicals.    This is an excellent business for service-disabled veterans to bid on government contracts.

 

Construction Business

If you are handy with tools and building, you may want to enter the construction industry.  You should obtain the proper licenses in place before you start your business.  You may want to specialize in specific areas of construction such as plumbing, roofing, framing, HVAC, patios, etc. and decide if you want to focus on residential or commercial.

 

Courier Service

If you have a cell phone and reliable transportation, you can start a courier business. You may want to decide on whether you will focus on residential or business services.  People an businesses want convenience.

 

Defensive Driving School

A defensive driving school offers the next-level training for teenage drivers and other drivers who need to know what to do under special conditions, such as driving police cars, ambulances, etc.  Parents want their children to be safe so this has become popular.

 

Disaster Planning and Preparation Service/Restoration Business

Disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes and wildfire are recurring on a regular basis. This business offers preventive measures that might help in reducing the destruction of property or offer repair/replacement services for properties that have been impacted.   Insurance companies often hire independent companies too.

 

Dry Cleaning/ Laundry Business

This can be challenging and a lucrative business that usually requires fairly long hours.  You would also need training as well as various permits and licenses required to operate.

 

Firearms Maintenance Business

Starting a gun cleaning business might be a natural transition for veterans. More than likely, you have probably been trained how to do this during your military service, and you can add other services and sell some products.  This offers repeat business as well.

 

Firearms Training Instructor

This also can be a natural transition for veterans who have received firearm training. If you expertise in operating firearms you should consider turning your talent into a business.

 

Fitness Trainer

“Boot camps” and hardcore workouts are part of every military recruit’s training, so this is a good idea for a business for those who are fit and can train others.  We live in a society that values fitness.

 

Garage Door Repair Business

Garage doors are important to every homeowner, so your business can offer maintenance, repairs or replacement service.

 

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

National K-9 Veterans Day Honors Dogs That Served

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By Debbie Gregory.

The United States K9 Corps were created on March 13, 1942, and this has been designated as National K-9 Veterans Day. Although it is an unofficial holiday, most dog lovers don’t need much of an excuse to celebrate “man’s best friend.”

Military K9s, Border Patrol K9s, Customs K9s, Police K9s, Secret Service K9s, Airport Service K9s and FBI K9s work to aid and protect us.  They preform important tasks and dangerous tasks such as search, rescue, explosives detection, scouting, patrolling and subduing suspects.

Some of the most relied upon breeds that perform this work include German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Labradors.

Today’s military dogs are valued.  They are important members of their military units and even have their own retirement ceremonies, awards and medals and memorial services.  Often they are adopted by a member of the team.

We salute non-profit American Humane’s Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs which helps reunite retired military dogs with their former handlers, provides veterans struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress, PTS with lifesaving service dogs, arranges free veterinary care for retired four-legged service members, and drives legislation that supports military dogs and their human counterparts.

A few extraordinary K-9s include:

  • Jag, a Labrador Retriever who retired in 2013 and served with the U.S. Army for seven years. Jag was adopted by battle buddy Sgt. Dennis Dow.
  • Jig, another Labrador Retriever who served with the U.S. Marine Corps for five years as an IED Detection Dog until he was medically retired do to an oral melanoma.
  • Kyria, a Dutch Shepard, who worked at Lackland AFB before joining the Albuquerque Police Department as an explosive detection canine.
  • Nico, a German Shepherd who served with the U.S. Navy Seals. Nico was eventually reunited with his handler.
  • Summer, a Labrador Retriever who served with the U.S. Marine Corps for five years and now serves with the TSA K-9 team for the D.C. Amtrak police.
  • Taker, a Labrador Retriever who retired in 2012 and served with the U.S. Marine Corps as an IED Detection Dog. Taker was adopted by battle buddy Sgt. Kevin Zuniga.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the canines who are placed in harm’s way to protect our servicemembers and first responders.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

 

Tax Preparation Resources for Military – Free & Discounted Services 

It seems tax season is here sooner each year   It can be more complicated for military families.   There are some filing preparation services available that are either discounted or free.  It is VAMBOA’s pleasure to bring them to your attention and make this task just a little easier and less stressful.

Assembling Your Documents – If you are prepared and have assembled the important and necessary documents to file, it will be much easier, quicker and less stressful.   Below is a list of what you need;

  • Photo ID/Military ID
  • Social security cards for you and each family member claimed on the return
  • Wage and earning statement(s), such as Forms W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R – you can download from MyPay website here: https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx
  • Child care costs
  • Investment income forms
  • Receipts for charitable donations
  • Receipts for deductible expenses
  • Your bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit
  • Last year’s returns

We will begin with Online Tax Preparation Services that include:

  • TurboTax – offers discounts on software for active-duty military.   Servicemembers who are an E5 or below can obtain free federal and state filing with Free Edition or Deluxe.  There is also a $5 off discount available for Premier, Self-Employed and Turbo Tax Live federal products. Those with an E6 and above pay grade are eligible for a $5 discount or more on all TurboTax federal products.
  • TaxSlayer – has a military offer that allows active duty to file military to e-file a federal return for free.  State returns are additional.
  • IRS Free File Software – You can file your federal individual income tax return for free using tax-preparation-and-filing software.   If your income is below $66,000, it is free for federal and state return options. If your income is above $66,000 you can use Free File Fillable Forms.
  • Military OneSource – This is such a great resource in so many areas for those who serve.   They provide free tax preparation and e-filing software as well as easy access to tax consultants and free in-person preparation through approved Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offices.  Their easy to use software, MilTax is designed for the military community too.

Military Installation Tax Centers – Many large military installations worldwide offer servicemembers and their families free income ta filing assistance via VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program which is sponsored by the IRS.  VITA volunteers are trained by the IRS to provide assistance with military specific tax issues that include combat-zone tax benefits and more.  They know their stuff when it comes to military taxes!

H&R BLOCK – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is joining forces with H&R BlOCK to offer military members and their families a 10% discount in select Exchange locations worldwide.  Please see a list of locations for CONUS and OCONUS at the bottom of this article.

https://bit.ly/2J6faU4

 

Installation

CONUS

State

Zip Code

Office Phone#

PATRICK AFB 1221 S PATRICK DR FL 32925 321-868-0285
MACDILL AFB Bldg 926, 3108 N BOUNDRY BLVD, Tampa FL 33621 813-840-1512
BOLLING AFB Washington DC, 20 MAC DILL BLVD DC 20032 202-729-3920
ANDREWS AFB JOINT BASE ANDREWS, BLDG 1683 MD 20762 301-568-2154
FORT MEADE FORT MEADE AB BLDG 2790 2790 MACARTHUR RD MD 20755 410-672-0271
FT LEE PETERSBURG, 300 A AVE BLDG 1605 MAIN PX VA 23801 804-518-3850
FORT BELVOIR FORT BELVOIR, 8651 JOHN J KINGMAN RD VA 22060 703-337-9001
HANSCOM AFB HANSCOM AFB 1709 EGLIN ST- BASE EXCHANGE MA 01731 781-264-2228
WEST POINT WEST POINT, 1204 STONY LONESOME ACCESS RD NY 10996 845-446-5187
JBDML AAFES MAIN EXCHANGE BLDG 3452 BROIDY RD NJ 08641 609-723-3604
FT HAMILTON BROOKLYN, 123 GENERAL LEE AVE NY 11252 718-748-4282
FORT DRUM MAIN PX BLDG P 10730 A, 10730 ENDURING FREEDOM DR NY 13602 315-681-4810
FORT BRAGG BLDG 42171 REILLY RD NC 28310 910-436-0108
FORT BRAGG BLDG 85050 BUTNER RD N POST PX BLDG NC 28310 910-436-0475
FORT BRAGG SOUTH POST PX, BLDG Z 3252 CANOPY LN NC 28310 910-493-0491
LANGLEY AFB LANGLEY AFB – 61 SPAATZ DRIVE, 61 SPAATZ DR VA 23665 757-865-1024
FORT EUSTIS FORT EUSTIS BLDG 1527 VA 23604 757-243-2245
FORT GORDON FORT GORDON EXCHANGE BLDG 38200 3RD AVE GA 30905 706-793-1956
HUNTER AAF SAVANNAH 171 HALEY AVE BLDG 1286 GA 31409 912-692-1163
FORT JACKSON FORT JACKSON BLDG 4712 LEE RD SC 29207 803-782-7430
CHARLESTON AFB CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, BLDG 1990 SC 29404 843-552-8881
FORT LEONARD WOOD 233 ILLINOIS AVE BLDG 498 MO 65473 573-329-5310
FORT SILL FORT SILL PX (IN THE FOOD COURT) 1718 MACOMB RD OK 73503 580-353-6347
FORT LEWIS FORT LEWIS MINI MALL WA 98433 253-964-2161
MCCHORD AFB MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, 6330 111TH ST SW WA 98438 253-581-0835
MCCHORD AFB FORT LEWIS-MCCHORD AFB, 41ST DIVISION DR AND A ST WA 98438 253-964-2488
FORT STEWART CONCESSION SHOP 112 VILSECK RD GA 31314 912-876-2224
FORT STEWART 345 LINDQUIST RD BLDG 71 GA 31315 912-877-3421
FORT BUCHANAN FORT BUCHANAN, BLDG 689 PR 00934 787-994-9384
LUKE AFB GLENDALE 7071 N 138TH AVE BLDG 1540 AZ 85307 623-979-3821
DAVIS MONTHAN AFB GLENDALE 5405 E GRANITE ST AZ 85707 520-514-9066
KIRTLAND AFB KIRTLAND AFB EXCHANGE, 8000 GIBSON BLVD BLD 20170 NM 87117 505-268-1222
FORT BLISS FORT BLISS 1 BLDG 1611 TX 79916 915-566-5639
FORT BLISS FORT BLISS 2 BLDG 13471 TX 79916 915-566-5758
TRAVIS AFB 461 SKYMASTER CIRCLE BLDG 650, PO BOX 1505 CA 94535 707-437-1448
MCCLELLAN ARMY AIR FORCE EXCH SERV AAFES, 5443 DUDLEY BLVD BLDG 911 CA 95652 916-921-1449
EDWARDS EDWARDS AFB 240 W FITZGERALD BLVD CA 93524 661-809-0676
HICKAM AFB HICKAM AFB, BXTRA BLG 1235 HI 96853 808-422-9098
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, BLDG 694-PX HI 96857 808-853-4725
FORT SHAFTER FORT SHAFTER BLDG 537 HI 96858 808-487-6079
FORT CARSON FORT CARSON EXCHANGE 1510 CHILES AVE CO 80913 719-576-2070
COLORADO SPRINGS AAFES-PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, 1030 E STEWART AVE BLDG 2017 CO 80914 719-596-3366
BUCKLEY AFB BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, 365 TELLURIDE BLVD CO 80011 303-341-4472
HILL AFB 5845 E AVE, BLDG 412 UT 84056 801-776-9655
MALMSTROM AFB 7200 PERIMETER RD, BLD 1340 MT 59402 406-727-3577
FAIRCHILD AFB FAFB BASE EXCHANGE, 101 W SPAATZ RD WA 99011 509-244-7006
EXCHANGE HQ 3911 S WALTON WALKER RD DALLAS TX 75236 214-339-1669
NASJRB FT WORTH FT. WORTH, 1880 MILITARY PKWY TX 76127 817-732-4759
FORT HOOD FORT HOOD, 4250 CLEAR CREEK RD TX 76544 254-526-0139
FORT HOOD FORT HOOD BLDG 136, 761ST AT TANK BATALLION AVE TX 76544 254-532-8651
FORT HOOD FORT HOOD #3 BLDG 52021 TANK DESTROYER BLVD TX 76544 254-616-1634
FORT HOOD 19TH STREET MALL BLDG 9401 BATTALION AVE TX 76544 254-532-1675
RANDOLPH AFB UNIVERSAL CITY, 630 3RD ST W BLDG 1068 TX 78148 210-566-6243
LACKLAND AFB LACKLAND AFB 2180 REESE ST BLDG 1285 TX 78236 210-670-2216
FORT SAM HOUSTON 2406 REYNOLDS RD BLDG 366 TX 78234 210-588-2921
FORT SAM HOUSTON MINI MALL, 3150 HARDEE RD BLDG 1387 TX 78234 210-444-0219
JBER 5800 WESTOVER AVE AK 99506 907-222-2978
FORT IRWIN 308A LANGFORD LAKE RD CA 92310 760-267-8757
NELLIS AFB NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, 5691 RICKENBACKER RD BLDG 431 NV 89191 702-309-2831
FORT BENNING FORT BENNING EXCHANGE, 9220 MARNE RD GA 31905 706-225-8830
MAXWELL AFB MONTGOMERY, 355 KELLY ST AL 36112 334-523-2866
KEESLER AFB AAFES, 506 LARCHER BLVD BLDG 2306 MS 39534 228-435-1335
BARKSDALE AFB BARKSDALE AFB, 455 CURTIS RD BLDG 4711 LA 71110 318-747-2883
FORT POLK FORT POLK, BLDG 850 – 7742 COLORADO AVE LA 71459 337-537-6355
EGLIN AFB EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE 1757 MEMORIAL TRAIL FL 32542 850-651-2254
TYNDAL AFB 108 OKLAHOMA BLDG 912 FL 32403 850-286-1415
ROBINS AFB BLDG 982 MACON ST, MAIN EXCHANGE LOBBY GA 31098 478-923-9501
WRIGHT PATTERSON AFB 2275 D ST, AREA BLD 16 OH 45433 937-639-3173
WRIGHT PATTERSON AFB 1250 CHESTNUT ST AREA A OH 45433 937-306-2100
OFFUTT A F B OFFUTT AFB EXCHANGE 106 MEYER AVE BLDG 166 NE 68113 402-292-1196
FORT RILEY FORT RILEY MILITARY BASE BLDG 2210 TROOPER DR KS 66442 785-717-2435
FORT LEAVENWORTH 330 KANSAS AVE, BLDG 700 KS 66027 913-364-2584
TINKER AFB TINKER EXCHANGE, 3360 N AVE BLDG 685 OK 73145 405-455-5178
FORT KNOX 127 GOLD VAULT RD KY 40121 502-799-0560
FORT CAMPBELL 2840 BASTOGNE AVE, LOCATED IN LEFT SIDE OF PX KY 42223 270-640-7510
LITTLE ROCK AFB 787 SIXTH ST LITTLE ROCK AR 72099 501-983-0001

OCONUS

Location Office Phone#
EU Baumholder Bldg. 8243 06783-9049003
EU Kleber Kaseme Bldg. 3231 0631-41456444
EU KMCC Bldg. 3336 0631-8020410
EU Stuttgart Panzer Mall Bldg. 2903 07031-6314800
EU Grafenwoehr Tower Barracks Bldg. 700 49173-5736112
EU Grafenwoehr Rose Barracks Bldg. 2203 49173-5736112
EU Vincenza Bldg. 305 Via Aldo Moro 0444-303327
EU Lakenheath Bldg. 1034 Bury St Edmunds 01638-533919
PAC Hickam 1232 Hickam CT 808-422-9098
PAC Schofield 694 McComack Rd 808-853-4725
PAC Ft Schafter 550 Pierce Rd 808-487-6079
PAC OKI Kadena Bldg. 412 036-868-2278
PAC OKI Foster Bldg. 1002 Foster 098-971-9307
PAC OSN Bldg. 965, Unit 2038 Osan Air Base 070-7597-0132
PAC Hump Bldg. P-4600 Room H101 Camp Humphreys 070-7727-6100
PAC Korea-Yongsan Yongsan Main Post S 2209 070-4186-6890

 

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