How many Veteran entrepreneurs are looking for that next big product, revolutionary business model or improved production plan? Many great innovators often take little credit for the originality of their ideas. They often allege that idea already existed and was in practice elsewhere. And that all they did was take that idea and apply it to a new field. Veteran entrepreneurs might want to look into their past, at their military experience, in order to get ideas that could benefit their futures in business.

It is amazing how great business ideas are born. Many Veteran entrepreneurs have found success by taking practices, standards and ideologies from their military service and applying them to their civilian companies. One of the best examples of this can be found in the business plan of Veteran Entrepreneur Fred Smith.

Smith served three years as an officer in the Marine Corps, from 1966-1969. During his time as a platoon leader, company commander and Forward Air Controller, Smith flew with pilots in over 200 combat missions, low and slow, so that Smith could observe enemy targets. Aside from his Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, Smith states that his two tours in Vietnam resulted in gaining invaluable knowledge that he later applied to what became the global courier service FedEx.

“Everything that went into FedEx that made the business what it is today relates to what I learned in the Marine Corps, and I’ve always been grateful for that education and for those I’ve served with,” Smith said.

Smith claims that his military experience gave him the foundation for the leadership standards and organizational structure for his company. Smith said that the leadership examples set for him in the Marine Corps prompted him to design a structure for his business, where the components of his company could all work collaboratively, but also function independently if need be. FedEx is famous for promoting from within and building leaders.

“The vast majority of FedEx leaders today started out as pickup or delivery people, or washing airplanes,” Smith said.

Smith also used lessons learned in the military when he revolutionized the industry of parcel delivery. Smith started Federal Express (would later become FedEx) in 1971. Using the example of efficiency that he saw in the military, Smith designed the well-coordinated air-ground operations delivery service that has made FedEx famous.

For any Veteran entrepreneur who is trying to dream up that next great idea, be sure that you remember your experiences in uniform. Because maybe your idea isn’t a dream– maybe it’s something you’ve done a thousand times before, in uniform.