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Strategies for Growing Wealth for your Small Business

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Often, business owners find themselves in the midst of a crazy business idea that promises to become their bread and butter. Has your dream come true? The last thing you need at this point is to throw practicality out the window. The first success may be only the start of a crazy growth spurt. Depending on the business itself and your own ambitions, the following considerations may grow your idea into a cash cow.

1) Know your Priorities. . . Budget, budget, budget!

Office supplies and equipment and maintenance can really dribble the resources of a Veteran Business Owner. Business owners should never be pennywise and pound foolish.  Profits don’t come from penny-pinching, 

You know your business better than anyone else. Over the long term, Veteran Business Owners should balance their plans with their resources.

For a successful business, the best profit margins should more than compensate for the overhead. Seek good deals. The tastiest ice cream should more than compensate for the glitter on the cone.

2)  Understand that Money should Make Money

Stagnant money does no one favors. Various resources can provide business owners with the seeds to grow their investments into a harvest that may yield fruit.

Occasionally, a bright idea may pop up in the news that sprouts and sheds its spores. Business owners should consider these situations case-by-case. However, in general, secure investments do the best service for Veteran Business Owners.

The best investment is yourself, and your knowledge and understanding of your own idea. Outside of their own considerations for their own business ideas, business owners need to maintain some sort of corporate veil between their own ambitions and those of their company.

Corporate bank accounts can yield dividends, but business owners should give thought to any opening capital until that money is ready to blossom into the Veteran Business Owner’s dream.

3) Diversify

When a business owner has capital, careful education should guide the management of that wealth. For example, many people confuse stocks and bonds. Bonds are essentially documents issued by corporations and governments that issue certificates that increase in value at a fixed rate. Stocks entail ownership of a share of the company. Bonds generally bank on the security of the issuing body, whether governmental or private. Stocks require care and confidence, and generally function best in a portfolio long-term, after careful contemplation. The health of the company matters. Also, consider the health and future of the industry.  

Also, consider your own resources. Do you own real property? Real estate can be rented, assets can be sold. As for yourself, as long as you have a place to live, consider all options. 

4) Stay in Control

Keep in mind your own “money story.” Business owners should know that they know their own story better than anyone else. Profit often matters more than cash flow. Assuming humble beginnings, strong incoming revenue indicates a healthy company. On the other hand, a large investment requires even greater incoming cash to make the company successful. 

Legally, remember that you are always the master of your own estate. No one can take that control away from you. Veterans should seek counsel in any situation that challenges their feelings about how to manage their money.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Who knew? Labor and supply shortages are creating havoc and cursing small businesses now more than ever, especially in the wake of reopening. Behemoths such as Amazon and Walmart have their safety nets. Smaller establishments must struggle with what they have. As a result, gaps in service plague the reputations and growth of their smaller counterparts.

Unfortunately for Veteran Business Owners, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 8.1 million job openings at the end of March, a new record. The pandemic only exacerbated a preexisting trend, and the reasons vary. 

Suggestions have included a lack of training opportunities, supercharged unemployment benefits, a mismatched skill set, and fear due to the pandemic for many. Whatever the cause, a shortage of qualified workers has left employers in the lurch despite a continuously shrinking workforce.

Gaps in service are a result, often leaving angry customers. This anger often shows up online. These days, an online presence can make or break a company. Angry reviews can pose real threats to a struggling business.

The trend nowadays is for buyers overwhelmingly to check their business’ online presence. How can business owners minimize angry diatribes on forums such as Yelp, Bing, Google My Business, and Facebook? Small employers are finding themselves trapped between the rock of the labor shortage and the hard place of customer satisfaction. The best short-term fix is better communication.

Business owners should build trust with their client base. Patrons should understand that they can work with the management of a company. These kinds of positive working relationships best protect smaller businesses from online reputational issues, which may leave business owners feeling helpless in their marketing efforts. Good working relationships often rest on a foundation of good communication, one of the variables that managers may control in this economic environment.

Methods of communication may vary. Updating profiles on relevant online business platforms is an easy first step. The business’s profiles on the above online platforms should provide up-to-date hours and terms of service. When possible, these sites should also include explanations for any changes in these terms. Additionally, a business owner should address any negative reviews directly as soon as possible.

Some verbal strategies can improve the outcome of discussions with a dissatisfied customer. For example, first, the person in charge should remain calm during a confrontation. Second, active listening can demonstrate that the manager understands the grievance.  Active listening methods generally emphasize engagement in the discussion. In other words, managers should not remain passive targets in these matters. One such technique may involve rephrasing the complaints in a manner that demonstrates a genuine understanding of the customer’s issues with their service. 

Finally, management should demonstrate their understanding of the weight of the problem and if possible, let the customer know the relevant steps for resolving such issues in the future.

Early communication with dissatisfied customers may prevent escalation or even an angry Yelp review. Overall, the goal is a synergy between the needs of the client and the capacities of the owner. During these novel times, business owners should engage any necessary communication techniques to achieve a meeting of the minds that leaves all parties satisfied and at peace.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

Pandemic Labor Shortage Hiring Strategies

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

The pandemic continues to keep workers at home. Real concerns about the Delta Variant loom large. Plus, continuing financial support motivates low-wage employees to stay home. Lower-wage employees often have the best reasons to snub less-than-optimal work arrangements. Concerns of such employees may range from childcare to vocational development. The result burdens many small businesses with serious labor shortages. Hence, current economic circumstances have only increased the necessity of wise hiring practices.

Know Your Capacities

Small businesses must stay mindful of their own needs and capacities. Some companies over-hire, leaving unnecessary workers to be idle and bored. Others burden a small number with an impossible workload. Before the start of the hiring process, owners should conduct a cost-benefit analysis to gain a clear understanding of their human resources needs.

Bored and idle workers become dissatisfied, even as they remain on company time. At the same time, overworked employees could simply walk off the job and leave the owners in the lurch. A healthy business provides a well-planned, balanced workday. 

Hence, management should gauge each task for the time and effort requirements. Not infrequently, an overwhelmed business may panic at their workload and over-hire. The resulting crowd of low-level workers may feel undervalued, undertrained, and ignored. Similarly, an employer may under-hire. Often, employees are expected to hit the ground running due to their experience or qualifications. Sometimes these expectations unduly burden newcomers and managers alike.

Granted, businesses cannot always afford expensive training programs. Sometimes expecting a hire to “hit the ground running” is the only option. However, ideally, this cost-benefit analysis regarding both training and the number of employees aids in the creation of a well-balanced workforce.

Know Your Platform

The Internet has long taken over the hiring process. The shift from paper to online applications has yielded pluses and minuses both for applicants and businesses. From the perspective of Veteran Business Owners, this shift opened the floodgates for countless frivolous applicants. Shifting through irrelevant, frivolous, or downright silly applications has become par for the course. When possible, business owners need to seek out jobs sites that specialize in their field. For example, encore.org and idealist.org specialize in nonprofit positions. Itjobspro.com connects employers with skilled IT professionals, and salesgray.com links business owners with sales professionals.

The list is endless. General job sites provide a cheap alternative but add to the burden of the hiring process. Small business owners generally spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the hiring process itself. A bad fit may cost still more in training costs, as well as the cleanup following termination. The miracle of the Internet provides countless opportunities to zero in on applicants who have at least done their own work to tailor their applications to their own interests and skillsets. Specialized jobs platforms are key resources to streamline the hiring process.

Involve the Team in the Hiring Process

Especially for a long-term commitment, consider the splash a new hire could make in the company pond. The involvement of future colleagues could ensure a “good fit” in the hiring process. In many cases, coworkers will spend many hours a day together. Often, the involvement of the team could safeguard long-term office tranquility should the newcomer take root in their new office home.

However, this process should ensure fairness. Many workplaces have corporate cultures that discriminate, explicitly or implicitly. Some interview practices may land certain employers on shaky ground. Beware of excessive prying into recreational activities, hobbies, and interests, or home or family life. Short of landing employers in legal hot water, such questions may simply deprive both parties of fruitful opportunities.

Conclusion

As always, balance is key. An employer’s rewards in the hiring effort will likely be proportionate with their investments. Companies should plan wisely and implement judiciously. The result following onboarding should leave a balanced, satisfying workday for everyone.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

Psychological Barriers to Starting a New Business

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Veteran Business Owners have a right and a responsibility to market their talents and skills. Successful paths are myriad, as are roadblocks. Many of these roadblocks are psychological. Here is a list of some of the most common misconceptions veterans often have that impede their paths to running a successful business.

1) “I don’t have the resources.”

A Veteran Business Owner need not invest unwieldy amounts of cash or resources to carve out a place in the economy. “Start small” is often the best strategy. Your best resource is yourself. 

A new business can start with meager resources, assuming a good concept. Good planning conceivably may keep the dream alive. 

Consider Sophia Amoruso, founder of the fashion company Girlboss Media. She literally started her fashion company browsing secondhand stores, selling her finds on her Myspace site. Also consider Khan Academy. Sal Khan’s company evolved from tutoring sessions he provided a family member. Other family members showed interest in his lesson plans for themselves, and thus his company turned into a marketable idea.

Marketable ideas often stare potential entrepreneurs in the face for years before they spark inspiration. Often, these ideas require little to no investment at the outset. Consider your talents, hobbies, surrounding circumstances, and social connections. Good ideas are often free and can sow fertile seeds that lead to rich fruits over time.

2) “I can’t do it,” aka “Imposter Syndrome.”

When lightning strikes, and you have a great business idea, one natural reaction might be some variant of “I can’t do it.” 

If an entrepreneur needs affirmation, online communities can frequently offer support, a sounding board, or at least ideas for development. In the end, remember that nothing can take away your relevance to the world around you.

However, “imposter syndrome” is nothing new. Consider Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and his comment “[v]ery few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe they are now qualified to be CEO.”  Also, Consider Sonia Sotomayor, and her quote “I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and at various professional jobs, not feeling a part of the worlds I inhabit.” The best and brightest of us often suffer from self-doubt. Often these doubts are simply an indication that we have the wisdom to know what we don’t know. 

3) I’ll Fail

Failure is inevitable in business and in life. The first failure can lead to greater success in later attempts. Everyone who lives fails. Frederick W. Smith’s first service, Zapmail, cratered before Fedex could focus on his core concept. Similarly, Amazon took years to turn a profit

Of course, no one wants to fail big. Not everyone has $350 million to burn, as did FedEx. However, the early failures serve as necessary steppingstones to creating a well-oiled machine. Failures of all kinds, whether administrative errors, operations inefficiencies, and hiring mistakes, are necessary to design an enterprise that fits well into the economy. Depending on resources such as financing and social support, slow and steady may win the race. 

4) “The Timing isn’t Right”

Consider a spore in your garden that may sprout hundreds of plants. The most inopportune times may give rise to the perfect storm to get your idea going

Even mulling the idea in your own head can become your own stress relief exercise. The smallest measures can build inertia. Building a web presence, for example, you can start with little effort and adapt to a changing schedule. Your relationship with your idea can morph gradually as it takes on a greater part of your life. Short of huge commitments, there is no wrong time to get started on a business idea.

 

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

Questions to Ask Before Starting a New Business

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Many Americans are evaluating their lives and how they make their livings. Driven by factors such as safety, job security, life purpose, future goals, and work-life balance, the COVID-19 pandemic has led a lot more people to question whether now is the right time to start their own business.

Do you dream of creating your own product line? Setting your own hours? Being your own boss? Starting your own business can really help you take control of your life and work, take charge, add flexibility, learn new experiences, connect better with peers, and broaden yourself as a person.

Business owners are not special super humans.   They are normal people who have big ideas and work very hard to turn their ideas into reality. Every business owner is different but there are a few key traits that they all seem to have in common. To help you decide if starting a business is right for you, below are some basic questions to ask yourself before making the leap.

1.) Can you make important decisions quickly?

Problems arise all the time in business, and it is very important that the business owner can respond to them quickly, decisively, and with a clear head. You will also need to be able to handle any consequences that may occur after the problem has been resolved. Being a business owner, requires you to have confidence under pressure but not arrogance. You need to be able to be part of the team you build, have confidence in each other’s skills, accept that mistakes will happen, and be able to learn from those mistakes to move forward. If you struggle to make effective decisions quickly, owning a business will be more difficult for you.

2.) Do you have energy? 

Running a business is a lot of work. You need to have a high level of energy and excited to grow your brand. If you are the type of person who is constantly seeking after-work hobbies, weekend projects, and other activities, you may have the energy to start a new business.

3.) Are you creative?

Creativity is a key aspect of owning a business.  It is important to have the ability to think out of the box. As the owner, you will be required to constantly come up with new ideas.   These new ideas may include but not be limited to new product ideas, lead generating strategies, marketing thoughts, revenue boosting activities, improving the company culture, and more. If you are usually bursting with new ideas, a business is a great way for you to share those ideas with the rest of the world.

4.) Do you like to solve problems?

A business owner is basically a full-time problem solver. As we touched on in point #1, problems constantly arise in business. These problems should be viewed as opportunities and challenges rather than setbacks. As the owner, you cannot afford to be easily discouraged by setbacks or bad news. You need to be able to push forward and continue working hard. So, if you love solving problems and are not easily discouraged, business ownership could be for you.  VAMBOA wishes you great success.

Regardless of how you answered the above questions, we hope that you can see that business ownership is not out of your reach if it is something you are interested in. If you are even slightly creative, energetic, and love to solve problems plus you have a great idea for a business, now is one of the best times to get started.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Don’t forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

 

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