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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.

 

Business Accelerators

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By Debbie Gregory.

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If you are launching or have recently launched your business startup, you are more than likely familiar with business incubators and business accelerators. Although the two seem to be used interchangeably, there are some very important differences.

 

While both provide developing companies access to mentorship, investors and other support that helps them become stable, self-sufficient businesses.  Many large startup incubators are run as nonprofits. They generally won’t ask for equity in a company in return for access to funding or resources in the way that accelerators do.

 

As a result, startups generally receive far less access to capital by joining an incubator than they could expect to receive from an accelerator. As a result, most investors prefer the accelerator model.

 

Additionally, incubators focus on fostering slow growth that can last years, where accelerators sponsor intensive, boot camp style programs that typically are much faster growth.

 

Companies that use business accelerators are typically start-ups that have moved beyond the earliest stages of becoming established, meaning they can stand on their own two feet but still need guidance and peer support to gain strength.

 

We have listed (alphabetically) a number of excellent accelerator programs:

 

  • Blue Startups – based in Honolulu, Hawaii, focus on technology companies, especially those that address markets in both Asia and the United States.
  • The Brandery – based in Cincinnati, offers support in branding, marketing and design.
  • Capriabased in Seattle, Washington, works with startups that develop innovative solutions to global problems, specifically those operating in emerging markets.
  • Cofound Harlem – based in New York City has the goal to build 100 companies in Harlem that want to make a real impact on the community by the year 2020.
  • Disney Accelerator – focuses on aiding technology innovators that want to create entertainment and new media experiences.
  • Gener8tor – based in Wisconsin, invests in high-growth startups that have a strong team.
  • Illumina Accelerator – based in San Francisco, focuses on clinical research and applied sciences, especially in the area of genomics.
  • LightSpeed Innovationsfocuses on helping startups in the aerospace industry in southern California.
  • Luma Launch – based in Santa Monica, California, focuses on evolving technology and content startups.
  • Make in LA – based in Los Angeles, focuses on hardware, from building prototypes to preparing pitches for investors.
  • Matter – based in both San Francisco and New York City, focuses on design thinking.
  • MergeLanebased in Boulder, Colorado, is focuses on women-led startups, Some of the programs can be completed virtually.
  • SaltMines Group, based in Vero Beach, Florida, focuses on mobile technology and social media products.
  • Sixers Innovation Lab – cultivates and supports the startup communities in Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.
  • StartFast – based in Syracuse, New York, is a mentorship-driven accelerator for startups working in software, mobile or Internet.
  • Startup52 – based in New York City, is an early-stage accelerator program that focuses on promoting diversity.
  • Startup Next – a pre-accelerator designed to help startups get into top accelerator programs, raise seed rounds of funding and achieve other early goals.
  • The Yield Labbased in St. Louis, Missouri, focuses on agricultural technology companies that want to create more sustainable agricultural products.
  • VentureOut – based in New York City, is a one-week hyper-accelerator that brings in startups from around the world and connects them to members of the startup and technology communities in New York City.
  • XRC Labs – based in New York City, focuses on retail and consumer goods.

 

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

By Debbie Gregory.

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A memo from Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan appears to have preserved $310 million in California military construction funds that were in danger of being diverted to border wall construction.

 

Shanahan directed the Pentagon to provide a list of $3.6 billion in military construction projects that could be used to fund the border wall by early May. Shanahan’s memo exempted projects awarded in fiscal 2019.   The majority of the new construction planned for military bases at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Camp Pendleton and Fort Irwin have fiscal 2019 award dates.

 

The projects include a $118 million reconstruction of the docking facilities at the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, which includes the overhaul of the Anaheim Bay depot. This project will allow the station to load munitions onto larger ships and onto more ships simultaneously. It also will help accommodate the current shift of ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Work could begin as early as the end of this year.

 

The Navy’s preferred plan includes a 1,100-foot pier, a new breakwater to protect the pier, a causeway for trucks and a channel dedicated to public boats, which now travel through the same area used by Navy.

 

Camp Pendleton is slated for a $49-million amphibious-vehicle maintenance and warehouse building that is needed to properly maintain and repair the existing fleet of AAVs and new ACVs, that support the main combat focus of the Marine Corps amphibious operations.  There is also a $47-million upgrade to the base’s potable water system. The base still stands to lose $26 million awarded last year for a replacement medical care center.

 

Fort Irwin, a major training center in the Mojave Desert, is scheduled to receive $29 million in 2019 awards for a multipurpose training range complex. The National Training Center (NTC) is part of the United States Army Forces Command. The opposing force at the NTC is the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Blackhorse Cavalry, who are stationed at the base to provide an opposing force to units on a training rotation at Fort Irwin.

 

Tell us what you think and bring any new updates to this information to our attention.

 

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

Research & Development Tax Credits

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Governments typically incentivize private industry to produce research and development (R&D) as a strategic tool to advance their economies. The United States government also does so. The  Research & Experimentation Tax Credit (R&D Tax Credit) was first introduced in 1981 as a two-year incentive, and has remained part of the tax code ever since.

The rules of the Research & Development Tax Credit can be found under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 41 and the related regulations. The R&D tax credit may apply to any taxpayer that incurs expenses for performing Qualified Research Activities (QRA) on American soil.

It’s not only high-tech or life sciences companies with dedicated research departments that qualify for the R&D tax credit. Some other common industries that qualify include, but are not limited to:

  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Architecture
  • Automobile
  • Chemical & Formula
  • Engineering
  • Environmental
  • Food Science
  • Foundries
  • Life Sciences & Pharmaceutical
  • Machining
  • Manufacturing & Fabrication
  • Software Development
  • Tool & Die Casting

To qualify, you must be able to prove that the activities rely on are hard science, such as engineering, computer science, biological science, or physical science;  that they relate to the development of a new or improved business component; and that your activities constitute a process of experimentation involving testing and evaluation of alternatives to eliminate technological uncertainty.

The potential R&D credit benefits include a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your federal and state income tax liability; improved cash flow; look back studies that recognize unclaimed credits for open tax years(generally for three or four years); and up to 13.5 cents of R&D tax credit for every qualified dollar spent.

Whether you’ve already filed your return or filed an extension, the R&D credit is a powerful tool to help lower your tax rates. If you are uncertain as to whether you qualify for the R&D tax credit, there are numerous professionals that can guide you through the process.

 

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

Small Business Ideas for Veterans – Part 3

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By Debbie Gregory.

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VAMBOA invites you to enjoy Part 3 of this series of Small Business Ideas for Veterans.

 

Security Dogs

If you love canines, breeding and training security dogs can be a very lucrative business.  This is an excellent idea for those who handled dogs in the military.  Law Enforcement Agencies are potential clients as well as private individuals.

 

Security Gadgets Installation

Installation of many security gadgets can be user friendly, a lot of people prefer to have someone else do the installation for them. Outdoor security lights, video door bells and home security system installations are on the rise.

 

Self-Defense Training

In real life, victims do not get to pick the bad guy or the time, place and/or method of attack. You can offer group training or individual training to those who want to take responsibility for their personal security.

 

Senior Care Business

Aging at home is often the first choice for the elderly population. Services you offer can include meal preparation, light cleaning, medication reminder, client escort, companionship, helping with bills etc.  With the aging of America, this is a huge market.

 

Special Event Security

Many venues that host special events, including musical concerts, award shows, film festivals, carnivals, require a security staff.  Many venues need reliable security and will award contracts.

 

Tax Services

People usually prefer having a tax expert handle the filing of their income taxes. If you have a talent for accounting, this may be a good business to pursue.

 

Temporary Staffing Agency

There will always be employers looking for temporary staff, and people looking for employment,  This can be a lucrative business as your agency will make money for every hour that each temporary employee earns and you can obtain contracts.

 

Tire Shop

Every car on the road will eventually need new tires. Make sure that you can secure a good location and be competitive.

 

Tow Truck Business

Your business can be called upon for everything from towing an illegally parked vehicle to helping those with a broken-down vehicle including accident victims. Keep in mind the hours can be long and you will have to work in all types of weather.

 

Tutor

As a professional tutor, you will need to be constantly updated and have relevant knowledge of the subjects you are tutoring.  You may want to specialize in a specific subject or preparing students for specific tests such as SAT, ACT and moe.

 

Vehicle Wrap and Graphics Business

You can produce your own graphics and wraps, or order wraps from a dealer. This is a growing industry.

 

Wilderness Survival School

There has been an increase in wilderness survival schools due to the demand. If you’re resourceful and the outdoors type, consider sharing your knowledge with others.

 

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

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