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Veteran Entrepreneurs Who Rock It!

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By Debbie Gregory.

It is becoming more and more common for veterans to leave the battlefield and enter the world of entrepreneurship. This article will introduce a few outstanding veteran entrepreneurs.   They set a high bar.

  • U.S. Marine Corps veteran Travis McVey of Heroes Vodka combines being a veteran entrepreneur with a commitment to support his fellow veterans. Heroes Vodka was first bottled on Veteran’s Day, 11.11.11. As the “Official Spirit of a Grateful Nation,” the mission of Heroes Vodka is to deliver exceptional taste and superior value to consumers, while honoring veterans and other American service organizations through charitable contributions. McVey donates a portion of all sales to AMVETS. 
  • U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Nick Taranto, founded Plated, a meal delivery service that offers healthy, affordable, and delicious food. The service, which was acquired by Albertson’s Grocery Stores, delivers boxed chef-designed dinners that can be prepared at home in around thirty minutes. 
  • U.S. Navy veteran, Brandon Buttrey founded Counterstrike Coffee Buttrey reflected on his time in the service when coffee was highly valued and enabled servicemembers to better function. He knew that if he designed a military/veteran friendly coffee brand, he would have some serious customers. Counterstrike Coffee offers pre-packaged coffee in both whole bean or ground form. A portion of the proceeds goes to the veteran warfighter community. 
  • Michael J. Penney is the co-founder of Cigars and Sea Stories, a podcast devoted to sharing stories with veterans who are adding value to the world. In March of 2016 he presented at TEDxRaleigh, “What’s Your IED: How to Add Value During Life’s Explosive Situations”, combining military and personal experiences to bridge the lives of veterans and civilians. Penney is the creator of the “5 Paragraph Business Plan” – taking the military operations order format and applying it to business. 
  • Few entrepreneurs can say they founded an internet business that grew from zero to a billion dollars in revenue. Chuck Wallace is one of those rare entrepreneurs. In 1999, Wallace co-founded eSurance, a company that not only survived the bubble burst, but thrived and provides a quick and easy way to purchase insurance.  Before starting eSurance, Wallace was a U.S. Air Force pilot who taught undergraduates to fly.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

Turning Construction Contacts into Contracts

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Don’t Miss This – December 13, 2018

Over 60 exhibitors looking for business with small certified firms DVBE’s, DBE’s, WBE’s, and SBE’s.

PROCUREMENT EQUALS PROFITS – 5 STEP METHOD FOR RFPs

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Procurement equals profits when you follow the 5-Step method for RFPs shared in this free training…

Your supply chain is the greatest source of profits in your company!

Procurement = Profits, so watch this free training.

Use RFPs for strategic sourcing to remove crisis and get best value for every dollar spent.

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A short webinar shows you the 5-step process to get more from your RFPs.

These five steps make your vision a reality, so you’re more profitable.

 

Establishing Business Credit for the First Time

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By Debbie Gregory.

Establishing business credit is an important step for any new business. Business credit allows a company to borrow money that can be used to purchase products or services.

Having a business credit history separate from a personal one minimizes the effect negative events on one might have on the other. For example, financial missteps that impact personal credit history and score wouldn’t impact the business credit if there is a clear separation, and vice versa. Setting up a separate legal entity, such as a limited liability company or corporation also provides protection of personal assets.

The first step is to structure your business as a separate legal entity.

Next, obtain a federal tax identification number (EIN). The EIN is basically a social security number for a business.

Open a business checking account in the legal business name. Once open, be sure to pay the financial transactions of the business from that account. Apply for and use a business credit card, and be sure to pay the credit card bill from your business checking account.

Open a business credit file with all three business reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. It’s important to closely monitor your business credit reports and scores on a regular basis to ensure the information reporting is accurate and up to date.

Establish a line of credit with vendors or suppliers. Work with at least five vendors and/or suppliers to create credit for your company to use when purchasing with them. Ask them to report your payment history to the credit reporting agencies.

Most importantly, be sure to pay your bills on time. Just like with your personal credit, late payments will negatively impact your business credit.

By establishing business credit; banks, lenders, suppliers, retailers, insurers and investors will now be able to better access the viability and creditworthiness of your business. Ultimately, your business credit report will impact the amount of credit, payment terms, interest rates and insurance premiums your business will pay.

Funding for Veteran Business Owners

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According to the most recent census data, there are 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. Veteran entrepreneurs contribute to the economy through their businesses and their willingness to hire veterans.
There are a number of funding resources available to veterans in order to get their business off the ground, or expand an existing business.
• The Office of Veterans Business Development, through the Small Business Administration (SBA) supports new and existing veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses. The program offers a variety of training and financial services. The SBA Veterans Advantage Guaranteed Loans program offers loans of $150,000 or less with no guaranty fee. Larger loans carry a low guarantee fee. SBA Express Loans have no upfront borrower fee for eligible veterans and military spouses on loans up to $35,000. Leveraging Information and Networks to Access Capital matches businesses with SBA-approved non-profit lenders. The 7(a) Loan Program is the SBA’s most common loan program, and includes financial help for businesses with special requirements.
• The Department of Veteran Affairs is a great starting point when looking for financing, and has created the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP), which can help you quickly identify financing resources for your business.
• The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan provide funds to eligible small businesses to meet necessary operating expenses that it could have met, but is unable to meet, because an owner/essential employee was “called-up” to active duty.
• The USDA Veteran and Minority Farmer Grant, run by the Department of Agriculture, aims to bring traditionally underserved people into farming through training and technical and financial assistance.
• The VetFran(R) program is designed to help veterans start their own business. While these aren’t traditional business loans for veterans, the program offers financial incentive for veterans to launch a franchise.
In addition to lending resources, don’t discount the value of networking resources. Who better to share advice than those who have walked the path before you?
• American Corporate Partners links veteran entrepreneurs with successful businesspeople for training and mentorship.
• National Veteran-Owned Business Association presents you with a great networking opportunity and the chance to learn much more about running a business.
• SCORE Foundation Veteran Fast Launch Initiative offers advertising, marketing and business mentoring, all at no cost.

• Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families provides entrepreneurial training. Their Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans program is free for post-9/11 veterans.
• Veterans Business Resource Center provides business consulting and mentoring.
• Veterans Business Services can assist in obtaining capital for your business.

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