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Amazing Veterans Who Have Change Business

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Ever since World War II, military veterans have consistently created and innovated businesses in America. Veterans are generally quite good at looking at the world, figuring out what is missing from it, and learning to create those solutions. Veterans are responsible for brands such as FedEX, Nike, and GoDaddy. New technology companies such as Sybase, Skybox Imaging, Ustream, RedOwl, Rhumbix and RideScout have also been created and are run by veterans.

 

Some remarkable veterans who saw needs and created the frameworks, movements, networks, and methodologies that changed the way people think and currently do business:

 

1.) Angel Investor – Will Bunker

In 1990 Will, a former Marine, built one of the largest dating sites in existence, which later became Match.com. Recently he co-founded GrowthX to fund startups and the GrowthX Academy to help people learn the skills to be better salespeople, growth marketers, and UX designers.

 

2.) Athos – Don Faul, CEO

Don, a former Marine, is a current leader in smart performance apparel that monitors your biosignals. Prior to his involvement with Athos he led Facebook’s online operations, and was COO of Pinterest.

 

3.) CrossLead – David Silverman, Founder and CEO

David was a Navy Seal and createad CrossLead to help companies leverage real-time data to better understand their networks and build better teams of people.

 

4.) Esurance – Chuck Wallace, Co-Founder

Wallace, a former Airman, was a key player on the teams that created Automatic, Ustream.TV, and USell.   He then came up with a new way to sell insurance and started Esurance, which quickly became one of the fastest growing insurance companies in the US.

 

5.) Lean Startup Movement – Steve Blank, Creator

Blank is a former Air Force mechanic turned entrepreneur and is known as the “Godfather of Silicon Valley” for his role authoring innovative books in the Lean Startup movement, which have been implemented by millions of startups worldwide.

 

6.) Maker Movement Pioneer – Mark Hatch

Hatch is a former Special Forces leader who currently runs the Green Beret network on LinkedIn, he is a partner at Network Society Ventures and is an author. He helped pioneer the Maker Movement and through his works he continues to help future makers and tinkerers.

 

7.) Social Media Maven – Koka Sexton

Sexton is a former Army officer who is one of the world’s leading minds in social media. Sexton used to head LinkedIN’s social media department, created Social Selling Labs to provide sales resources, and is currently working for the most-used social media management tool – Hootsuite.

 

8.) Startup List – Nick Frost, Creator

Frost is a Navy veteran who created Startup List in his bunk in Iraq. He currently works as a curator at the Mattermark Daily newsletter.

 

9.) StreetShares – Mark Rockefeller, Co-Founder

Rockefeller, a former Air Force officer co-founded StreetShares and a created a new way to match borrowers with investors. Recently the company added Veteran Business Bonds to their offerings to better support veteran businesses.

 

10.) The Lean Product Playbook – Dan Olsen, Author

Olsen, a former Naval Officer, has been a leader in Silicon Valley for over 20 years. His experiences working on nuclear submarine designs led him to write a practical step-by-step book for lean startups that is used by thousands of entrepreneurs each year.

 

11.) VC Trailblazers – Pitch Johnson and Bill Draper

Johnson (Air Force) and Draper (Army) were some of the venture capitalists on the West Coast back in the early 1960s. They created Asset Management Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures and through these companies they have funded a staggering number of other companies.

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.

 

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.

Small Business Ideas for Veterans – Part 1

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Those who serve in the military obtain many skills in various areas that can be transferred to owning and operating their own business. If you are a veteran who wants to become an entrepreneur, but you don’t know what type of business you want to start, below are some ideas (in alphabetical order) for you to consider:

 

Adventure Travel Business

This is an excellent fit for those who love adventure and travel.  This is the type of business that allows you to customize adventure trips for your clients.  You should be physically able to lead the excursions and be knowledgeable of the areas you are visiting.

 

Arms Dealer

If you are proficient with firearms and can qualify for a gun dealer’s license, that usually includes background checks and fingerprint scans, you can buy and sell firearms as a business.

 

Auto Glass Repair & Replacement

This is a business that can be very lucrative if you have a solid customer base and provide good customer service. If you can’t secure a location that is spacious enough to contain all the vehicles whose windshields you might have to work on, consider a mobile replacement operation. Mobile glass replacement is becoming very popular to consumers.

 

Auto Repair Business

You must enjoy working on autos and be willing to constantly update your knowledge as the technology changes.

 

Campgrounds

Starting a campground business is a wonderful business for those who love the outdoors. You will probably need to hire others to help out in the day to day operations, but camping has become more popular and can be lucrative.

 

Commercial Cleaning Business

Commercial cleaners keep the interiors and exteriors of businesses clean to ensure that the business image is hygienic and positive.  All you would need are the cleaning supplies and knowledge of cleaning chemicals.    This is an excellent business for service-disabled veterans to bid on government contracts.

 

Construction Business

If you are handy with tools and building, you may want to enter the construction industry.  You should obtain the proper licenses in place before you start your business.  You may want to specialize in specific areas of construction such as plumbing, roofing, framing, HVAC, patios, etc. and decide if you want to focus on residential or commercial.

 

Courier Service

If you have a cell phone and reliable transportation, you can start a courier business. You may want to decide on whether you will focus on residential or business services.  People an businesses want convenience.

 

Defensive Driving School

A defensive driving school offers the next-level training for teenage drivers and other drivers who need to know what to do under special conditions, such as driving police cars, ambulances, etc.  Parents want their children to be safe so this has become popular.

 

Disaster Planning and Preparation Service/Restoration Business

Disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes and wildfire are recurring on a regular basis. This business offers preventive measures that might help in reducing the destruction of property or offer repair/replacement services for properties that have been impacted.   Insurance companies often hire independent companies too.

 

Dry Cleaning/ Laundry Business

This can be challenging and a lucrative business that usually requires fairly long hours.  You would also need training as well as various permits and licenses required to operate.

 

Firearms Maintenance Business

Starting a gun cleaning business might be a natural transition for veterans. More than likely, you have probably been trained how to do this during your military service, and you can add other services and sell some products.  This offers repeat business as well.

 

Firearms Training Instructor

This also can be a natural transition for veterans who have received firearm training. If you expertise in operating firearms you should consider turning your talent into a business.

 

Fitness Trainer

“Boot camps” and hardcore workouts are part of every military recruit’s training, so this is a good idea for a business for those who are fit and can train others.  We live in a society that values fitness.

 

Garage Door Repair Business

Garage doors are important to every homeowner, so your business can offer maintenance, repairs or replacement service.

 

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

Ways Delegating Can Grow Your Business

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DelegatingBy Debbie Gregory.

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Delegation doesn’t come naturally for many small business owners. It’s often difficult to shift gears when you’ve been used to wearing multiple hats to get your business off the ground. But don’t underestimate the benefits of delegating. It is nice to share the workload and it enables you to move forward and be more creative.

First, you need to learn to recognize the difference between giving orders and delegating. A key to the delegation process involves documenting what you want to accomplish and then transferring the knowledge needed to your team members to get it done.

Effective delegation provides you the opportunity to focus on fueling those areas of your business that will drive longer term profits and growth. It also provides you more breathing room to brainstorm ideas enabling and providing you valuable time to think of new ways to take your business to the next level.

You also need to be able to create and implement repeatable systems. Systems should be created to provide repeatable results; rinse and repeat is the key. Also implement step-by-step workflows for time-consuming tasks that can be handed off to your employees, removing you from the process.

It is paramount that you have an understanding of each position within your company and listen to your employees with their ideas and concerns. Even though you may have an overview of the position, your employees know the minutia of it, and they may have ideas of how to increase efficiency.

No one is good at everything so be cognizant of the fact that there will be aspects of running your company that you’re not particularly good at nor enjoy doing. You need to either hire employees to do those tasks or outsource them.

It is important to know what you should be doing when it comes to delegation and it’s equally important to know what you should avoid doing.

Micromanagers aren’t very good at delegating and interacting with their team. They take on all the business responsibilities, watching over what the team does, redoing work, and stopping the flow. Letting go of perfection and trusting that your team members will take the ball and run with it will result in company growth. It is challenging to let go but it is important.

It is natural to feel anxious about trusting a capable employee, partner or outsourced service to take over the tasks you’ve done to make your company thrive. Trusting your team with specific tasks can free up your time to focus on what’s important- growing your company.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

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