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VAMBOA, a non-profit trade association for Service-disabled business owners, Veteran business owners and Military business owners, works to assist these entrepreneurs start, maintain, and grow their companies.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is announcing that it has surpassed 5,000 memberships of Service-disabled business owners, Veteran business owners and Military business owners, with over 105,000 followers on Twitter.

In the military, personnel are asked to complete an infinite array of tasks, and failure is not an option. Officers, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen are often provided limited resources and miniscule budgets to complete their missions. But through American ingenuity, and a determination that dwells in the hearts of those who serve, they are driven to complete their missions.

Thousands of Veterans have put that same drive into running their own businesses. Veteran owned businesses account for over $1 trillion in receipts per year. Veteran owned businesses are a vital part of our nation’s economy. It is for that reason that federal, state and local governments provide special loans, incentives and allotments to help Veteran owned businesses succeed. There are even further provisions, governed by law, for service-disabled Veterans.

“There are scores of programs and benefits designed to help Service-disabled, Veteran and Military owned businesses succeed,” said VAMBOA’s founder, Debbie Gregory. “At VAMBOA, we have made it our mission to connect these Veterans with the resources they need to start and maintain a successful business.”

Since 2010, VAMBOA has been providing its members with the knowledge of these government provisions that help Service-disabled Veteran business owners, Veteran business owners and military business owners succeed. VAMBOA also assists its members by providing business coaching, links to resources, and networking opportunities that are crucial to the success of their businesses. VAMBOA also connects it members to contacts within large corporations and government agencies who can mentor members, and in some cases, can even directly provide members with government contracts and vending contracts within large corporations.

VAMBOA is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization and does not charge dues for membership. VAMBOA relies on corporate sponsorship. If you would like to find out more about corporate sponsorship, contact VAMBOA’s founder, Debbie Gregory at: info@vamboa.org. VAMBOA has a significant reach and is the Go To Site for Corporations to Connect with Service-disabled and Veteran Business Owners.

FedEx

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.

SBA Show Savings on Fees Waived on Small Business Loans

Small businesses start with passion and ideas. But they need funding to get off the ground. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been a primary resource used by Veterans and civilians for obtaining loans to fund their startups and existing businesses. While the SBA doesn’t directly loan money to business owners, the SBA does guarantee loans made by participating lending institutions.

The basic program utilized by the SBA for small businesses is the 7(a) loan. The 7(a) loan is the most utilized loan by the SBA because it can be used for a multitude of business purposes. Additionally, it is more easily approved, a plus for business owners who may otherwise have difficulties procuring loans directly from lenders. Small business owners, especially those who are just starting their companies, may not have the cash flow that independent lenders require. The SBA serves to provide lenders with an increased guarantee against a defaulted loan. The 7(a) loans are capped at a maximum of $2 million.

In an effort to promote entrepreneurship, the SBA has also taken the initiative to waive fees on smaller loans. On loans under $150,000 guaranteed through the SBA after October 1, 2013, the fees have been set at 0%.

The SBA recently announced that small business borrowers who have or will receive SBA 7(a) guaranteed loans of $150,000 or less during Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014) will have saved more than $6.3 million. The SBA contends that this number includes fees that were eliminated on the agency’s smallest loans, including approximately $142,000 in savings to 179 borrowers in the Santa Ana, CA District.

The waived fees are part of the SBA’s initiative to make it more cost effective to originate smaller loans.  In addition to the fees that borrowers typically pay based on the amount guaranteed by the government, the ongoing monthly fee paid by SBA lenders will be eliminated for the entire life of 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less made while the initiative is in effect.

The SBA still includes fees on loans greater than $150, 000. On any loan greater than $150,000 with a maturity of one year or shorter, the fee is 0.25 % of the guaranteed portion of the loan. On loans with maturities of more than one year, the fee is 3% of the SBA-guaranteed portion on loans of $150,000 to $700,000, and 3.5 % on loans of more than $700,000. There is also an additional fee of 0.25 % on any guaranteed portion of more than $1 million.

The SBA believes that fees collected from larger loans are expected to offset any losses sustained from the smaller loans.

To participate in the 7(a) Loan Program, a lender must meet requirements that are indicated in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Active duty military, Veterans and any civilian interested in starting a small business should utilize the SBA’s website, www.sba.gov as a valuable resource.

Tips for Veterans Considering Business Ownership

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VAMBOA Small Business

One reason that many young Americans join the military is to get the chance to excel in a broad range of talents. Many young people complete high school and college, and realize that they have not isolated a singular talent that they want to spend the rest of their working lives doing. With their futures laid out before them, these brave patriots opt for military service as a means of finding an occupation that afford them the opportunity to wear many hats.

When these same patriots complete their contractual term of military service, some find that they still don’t have a desire to work in a field that only utilizes a few of their many skills and talents. Many Veterans choose to become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is an exciting path for many Veterans, because it provides them with the freedom to be their own boss, while using all of their natural abilities and trained skills.

Similar to military missions, success or failure of a Veteran entrepreneur’s business relies heavily on the individual effort in preparation and execution of a business plan. In creating a business plan, Veteran entrepreneurs need to be sure to research every option, benefit and program available to them as a Veteran small business owner. Contacting the U.S. Small Business Administration, or researching their website at www.sba.gov is the best way to start gathering all of the intel needed to create a business plan. Veterans interested in starting their own businesses should also research the VA website’s portal for Veteran entrepreneurs.

Once a strong business plan has been created, Veteran Entrepreneurs can look into seeking loans and financing. Some of the particulars that Veterans want to look at include the type of credit scoring model their prospective lender uses, the lender’s loan rates, and loan terms. Lenders reputations can be viewed at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) by visiting www.finra.org. And again, the VA and SBA websites are great places to start your research for lenders who have a history of loaning to Veterans.

Veteran entrepreneurs who brave business ownership should take care to find a way to remember that like great military careers, great businesses aren’t made overnight. No one wakes up one morning to find stripes on their sleeves or stars on their collar. Instead they spent years learning the ropes and paying their dues as lower-grade enlisted or officers. The same mindset needs to be kept for entrepreneurship. Your business might start out small and experience struggles and hardships before it establishes itself and its reputation.

In 1546, writer, sildenafil John Heywood was credited for the phrase, viagra “Many hands make light work.” But for small businesses, especially Veteran owned small businesses, very few hands carry a majority of the load. The success or failure of a small business can easily be shaped by the presence or absence of its owner, or a key employee.

With the number of Reservists who own small businesses and have been called to active duty in support of their country, a significant number of them have seen their economic fortunes suffer as a result of their military service. But the good news is that there is relief for these entrepreneurs.

Small businesses that sustained economic losses due to their owner or a key employee being summoned to active duty can apply for a loan of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA provides Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) to small businesses affected by the absence of a critical military employee. Applications for MREIDL loans are accepted any time from the date that the member was notified of their call-up to one year after the date of discharge or release from active duty. The loans are designed to allow eligible small business to maintain a current balance on operating expenses that the business could have covered if the business owner hadn’t been called to active duty.

The MREIDL program is managed by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. The loan is a direct working capital loan, not meant to grow or expand the recipient business, but to maintain the funding of daily operations. It also can’t be used to replace lost profits or refinance long term debt. Interest rates on MREIDL loans are at 4%. No collateral is required to secure MREIDL loans of $50, 000 or less.

Interested Reservist business owners should visit the SBA’s MREIDL portal where they can find more information, including how to apply for the loan. Reservist business owners can also call the SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email the office at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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