Home-Based Business Tips: Starting Your Business – Part 1

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Part 1


Most businesses start small and some even choose to stay that way. Large corporations such as Amazon and Apple began in garages. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 50% of all firms in the U.S. currently are home-based. If your business idea is worth pursuing, don’t be afraid to start it at home. Working from home will require some forethought and discipline to stay on task.


To help ensure success, here are a few tips for starting and operating a home-based business:


Starting Your Business:

1.) Make sure your business idea is a good one:

Successful businesses, products, and services solve a problem that customer’s face. Make sure that you properly research your business idea before you begin to invest time, energy, and money. No one wants to waste what resources they have on an idea that will never get off the ground.


Search Google, YouTube, and other relevant sites to make sure that the product or service you want to provide doesn’t already exist. If it does, figure out ways to improve it or make it more distinguishable from what will be your competition.


Make sure that you create a comprehensive business plan to help organize your ideas, business goals, how you plan to make a profit, and all estimated expenses. Create a prototype (if applicable), and test it, to help you determine how the market will receive your product. Determine the right price for your product by determining the cost to manufacture and what your competitors charge and letting you know what customers are willing to pay.


2.) Obtain a business license:

Even home-based businesses need a business license and this is especially true if you plan to sell goods or services to customers. This allows your revenue to be tracked for taxation by your local city. Check with them for information on obtaining and renewing your license.


3.) Obtain business the insurance:

It is always a good idea to proactively protect yourself. Most businesses need professional liability insurance and general liability insurance; You may need additional coverages too. Consult an insurance professional to see what type of insurance your business will require.


4.)  Brand your business:

Branding your business is vital to your success. Branding offers consistency throughout all promotional channels (such as your social media, ads, newsletters, and more), it generates your unique identity, and can increase your perceived professionalism. Plan to pay a professional to develop a good logo, website, social media pages, business cards, unique packaging materials, and other marketing materials (brochures, flyers, coupons, signs, etc.) that you will need to effectively brand yourself and market your offerings.


5.) Build your team:

Unless you plan to run the business alone you will need to build a solid team of like-minded individuals. Make sure that you have already clearly established your goals for your team and work environment and then find candidates that share your vision for the culture you want to foster and make sure that they have a strong desire to help your business grow.


6.) Taxes:

There are different laws and taxes for home-based businesses, and it is always a good idea to fully understand how your taxes will change as.  There are quite a few deductions for home-offices such as mortgage, rent, utilities, real estate taxes, repairs, maintenance, upgrades, and more. It is always a good idea to consult a tax professional before you begin your business.


7.) Do Not Stagnate:

As our world changes around us, we must be flexible and change with it. Your business model and goals will need to be able to adapt as consumer needs, economics, technology, politics, laws, and preferences in the market change. Stay on your toes and don’t get too comfortable regardless of how successful you are becoming. You need to make sure that your product or service doesn’t become stale in your market.


We encourage Veteran and Military Business Owners to join VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association.   There are not any dues or fees charged to our members.  Here is a link to join:




By Debbie Gregory.

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Part 1 of 3


We have gathered some interesting and awesome statistics from the US Census about Veteran Owned Businesses to share in this three-part series of articles.  See what industries, job functions, business types, state concentrations are more likely to be filled with veterans and information on the characteristics of veterans starting and running these businesses.


Veteran-Owned Businesses – Top Level Stats per 2012 Census:

  • 52 million businesses were majority-owned by veterans.
  • Of this total, 442,485 were employers, and 2.08 million were non-employers.
  • Veteran-owned firms had receipts of $1.14 trillion, employed 5.03 million people, and had annual payroll of $195 billion.
  • Veteran-owned firms represented 9.1 percent of all U.S. firms.
  • 3 percent of all owners of SBO-respondent firms were veterans.
  • 3 percent of all respondent veteran owners had service-connected disabilities.
  • Veteran-owned employer firms.
  • 5 percent of all veteran-owned firms were employer firms, slightly lower than the 19.6 percent share of employers among all firms.
  • Veteran-owned employers had receipts of $1.049 trillion. They accounted for 91.9 percent of the receipts of all veteran-owned firms. Veteran-owned firms without employees.
  • 5 percent of all veteran businesses were non-employers, slightly higher than the non-employer share of all firms, 80.4 percent.
  • Veteran non-employers had receipts of $92.2 billion, or 8.1 percent of the receipts of all veteran-owned businesses.


Distribution by industry: Top six industries of Veteran Owned Businesses:

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services (16.6 percent of all veteran-owned firms),
  • Construction (13.2 percent),
  • Other services (11.8 percent),
  • Real estate (8.6 percent),
  • Retail trade (8.1 percent), and
  • Administrative and support services (8.0 percent).


Concentration Within Industries:

Overall, 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses were Veteran Owned but this percentage varied by industry, ranging from 12.9 percent in the mining, quarrying, oil and gas group to a low of 5.7 percent in the accommodation and food services industry.


Other industries with higher-than-average veteran ownership included:

  • Finance and insurance (12.8 percent);
  • Transportation and warehousing (12.1 percent);
  • Construction (11.4 percent);
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing (11.3 percent);
  • Utilities (10.9 percent);
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services (10.8 percent); and
  • Manufacturing (10.2 percent).


Top industries in terms of sales:

There are five industry groups that accounted for 71.5 percent of all Veteran Owned firm sales and they are:

  • Wholesale trade (22.9 percent),
  • Retail trade (19.5 percent),
  • Manufacturing (12.3 percent),
  • Construction (10.1 percent), and
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services (7.0 percent).


Concentration of Sales within Industries:

Veteran Owned firms accounted for 3.4 percent of all U.S.firm sales. Their share varied by industry, ranging from a high of 7.7 percent in construction to a low of 0.7 percent in the utilities group.


Other Sectors with Higher-than-Average Veteran Shares of Sales:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing (7.1 percent);
  • Other services (6.9 percent);
  • Real estate and rental/leasing (5.7 percent);
  • Retail trade (5.2 percent);
  • Transportation and warehousing (4.9 percent);
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services (4.7 percent); and
  • Accommodation and food services (4.7 percent).


Home-Based Businesses:

A larger share of veteran Owned Businesses than all U.S. firms reported that they were home-based, 57.0 percent compared with 52.2 percent.


Franchised Businesses:

  • The percent of veteran-owned businesses operated as franchises was somewhat lower than that for all firms, 2.1 percent versus 2.9 percent.
  • Among veteran Owned employer firms, 4.2 percent were franchises, compared with 5.3 percent for all firms.
  • The two most important industries for veteran Owned franchises were accommodations and food services (15.5 percent of all veteran franchise operations) and retail trade (4.7 percent).


Exporting and E-commerce activity:

While most veteran Owned firms reported no exporting or E-commerce sales, they differed only slightly from all firms. 93.5 percent reported no export sales, compared with 91.3 percent of all firms, and 92.8 percent reported no e-commerce sales, versus 91.0 percent for all firms.


Seasonal and Part-Tme Operation:

Veteran Owned firms had profiles like all firms with respect to seasonal and part-time operations. Many more non-employers than employers were seasonal or part-time. Among all respondent Veteran Owned firms, 48.0 percent were in none of the seasonal or part-time categories included in the survey, as were 77.6 percent of employers, but only 40 percent of non-employers.


Sources of Startup or Acquisition Capital:

The largest source of capital for business startup or acquisition was personal or family savings: 59.4 percent for Veteran Owned firms and 57.3 percent for all firms. Business loans from banks or other commercial lenders were used by 7.8 percent of Veteran Owned firms and 7.5 percent of all firms, while personal credit cards were reported by 7.5 percent of veteran-owned firms and 7.6 percent of all firms.


Amount of Startup or Acquisition Capital:

Finance patterns were like those of all businesses. About one-quarter of all businesses reported that they did not need any capital to start up or acquire their business (23.7 percent of Veteran Owned Businesses and 24.8 percent of all firms). Among firms that used capital, the share using less than $5,000 was 34.1 percent for Veteran Owned firms and 31.6 percent for all firms. The share using less than $25,000 was 50.8 percent for Veteran Owned firms compared with 46.9 percent for all firms.


Sources of Expansion Capital:

Capital for 20.8 percent of Veteran Owned firms and 21.9 percent of all firms. Business profits and/or assets were used by 5.5 percent of Veteran Owned firms and 5.7 percent of all firms. Personal and business credit cards were used by 4.5 percent of veteran-owned businesses and 4.9 percent of all firms.


Major Customers:

Veteran Owned Businesses reported that their major customers were similar to those of businesses in general. (Major customers are those who account for 10 percent or more of a firm’s sales.)


  • A slightly lower percent of Veteran Owned Businesses’ major customers were individuals, 67.6 percent, compared with 72.2 percent for all firms.
  • Other firms and government accounted for a slightly greater share of veteran owned businesses’ major customers. Other firms were major customers of 37.9 percent of veteran-owned businesses, compared with 34.0 percent for all firms.


Veteran Owned Businesses rock and represent a significant portion of the US economy.

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 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.



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.