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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.

Do You Have A Good Business Idea?

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Starting any business takes a huge leap of faith. You’re jumping off of a cliff and hoping your parachute will open and lead you and your business to success. So how do you decide what’s really a great idea? Sure, you can rely on your gut instinct, but that isn’t the only good measure. Identifying the difference between a good business idea and a good business opportunity will serve you well on your entrepreneurial journey.

Recognizing that passion for your concept is important but will only get you so far. It is important to be both realistic and well informed as you approach the process. Successful business opportunities should fill an ongoing need. They provide a new or different product or service that also allows you to make a profit and grow your business. But just how will you translate your idea into a viable business?

 

Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

 

Why are you doing this? What’s your mission?

Your business needs a sense of purpose that sets it apart from the competition. If your business improves people’s lives in some way, that should drive your mission.

 

What problem are you solving?

You need to be solving some sort of real problem that exists for your customers. If not, how will you motivate people to buy your product or service?

 

Who is your customer?

Knowing who your ideal customer is and how you can find them is critical to starting a successful business.

 

How are your potential customers solving their problem today?

Identify the choices your potential customers currently have and how your solution is better.

 

What will potential customers be willing to pay for your solution?   Do you think you can make money?

You want to make sure your idea can be profitable, and that your planning and hard work will result in success.

 

While there’s no definitive way to tell if a company will be successful, if you put forth a quality offering that solves a problem and reflects your passions, you’ve greatly increased your odds.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

2019 Veteran Owned Small Business Regulation Updates

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By Debbie Gregory.

As the new year was ushered in, so were two major rules and three proposed rules that may have an effect on how government contractors and other veteran owned companies operate in 2019.

The first rule is the DFARS Deviation 2019-O0003 – Limitations on Subcontracting. This rule was signed by the Department of Defense (DoD) on December 3, 2018 and effectively implements the SBA’s Limitations on Subcontracting regulations for DoD procurements. The updated small business regulations allow small prime contractors to include work subcontracted to “similarly situated entities” when calculating their compliance with limitations on subcontracting.  

The second rule is the Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018, passed on December 17, 2018, adjusted the previous measure of a company’s size by using the average annual receipts from the previous five years, up from three years. The change was designed to reduce the impact of rapid-growth years and resulting spikes in revenue that could prematurely eject a small business out of a size standard. It was also designed to allow small businesses to have more time to grow and develop their competitiveness and infrastructure.

In previous regulatory iterations, the percentage of work that small business contractors could subcontract on contracts set aside for small businesses was limited to essentially 50% for supplies and services, 85% for general construction and 75% for specialty construction. These limitations have created a hardship for many small businesses. The class deviation addressed the nonmanufacturer rule and clarifies that those small businesses who are in a joint venture may aggregate work performed by all members of the joint venture to reach the minimum percentage.

The three proposed rules are the End to Self-Certification for SDVOSB, the FAR Rule, and the HUBZone Program Changes.

The Proposed End to Self-Certification for SDVOSB- The purpose of this new legislation is to facilitate the transfer of responsibility for verifying small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans to the Small Business Administration (SBA). While this proposed legislation will serve to consolidate the separate SBA and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) certification standards, it will also put an end to the current SBA policy of self-certification and will require many small and large businesses to revise policies, procedures, and certification programs.

The FAR Rule – Limitations on Subcontracting proposes to update the FAR to match the SBA regulations on limitations on subcontracting.  This again includes language to include a prime’s subcontracted work to “similarly situated entities” in its calculations towards its limitations on subcontracting.    

Proposed HUBZone Program Changes- The SBA recently proposed new regulations to make it easier for small businesses to understand and comply with the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Program’s requirements. These proposed changes will make the program a more attractive avenue for procuring agencies.  While the 8(a) Business Development Program has been an integral part of SBA’s history, the HUBZone Program has the potential to be just as popular. The problem with existing HUBZone rules and regulations is that compliance is often difficult to achieve and maintain and can change almost without warning, thereby rendering a company ineligible due to no fault of the business owner.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

 

Businesses You Can Start Tomorrow

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By Debbie Gregory.

Having a great business idea usually begins with filling a need. Whether you are going to sell a product or provide a service, your status as a veteran owned business or service disabled veteran owned business gives you a leg-up on the competition. The general public, corporations and the government all want to do business with you.

So what type of business should you start? The obvious first choice is something that is related to the things you enjoy. Many hobbyists go on to elevate their interests into thriving businesses at little to no cost.

Here are some examples:

Gear-heads who have a love of cars and motorcycles could launch a swap-meet style business that offers fellow enthusiasts the chance to meet up and buy, sell and trade parts.

If you love being on your computer, perhaps an online researching company would be up your ally. All you need is a phone, a computer, and internet access.

If your talents run more to the social media side of the web, social media management is an up-and- coming area that many companies are looking to outsource. Scaling up and hiring others will allow you to focus on getting new clients.

If you enjoy painting, you’re not just restricted to residential properties. A graffiti removal company is an unfortunate necessity in most cities nowadays.

Like working from home? You can become a virtual assistant. Once you are established, you can scale your business as you secure more clients.

If you’d rather be out and about, consider an errand running service. Again, as your business grows, you can hire employees. And since most people know how to do this already, your employees won’t require a lot of training.

If you love animals, there are numerous opportunities available, including pet walking, pet waste clean-up, pet day care, pet-sitting and pet transportation. You have the choice to either stick to one specific service, or choose a number of them. It’s your business, so it’s up to you.

If you know enough about a subject to advise others, start a consulting business. This could include IT consulting, fund-raising for non-profits, advertising consulting, public relations, writing services, and many more.

Gifted in math? Start a tutoring company or a tax return service. Interior design your thing? Start a design business or staging company.

If you’re willing to invest a bit more money in your business, you might consider the following:

A mobile paper-shredding service- Again, an unfortunate necessity in today’s identity theft climate.

A residence for the elderly- Turning a private home into a home for older people who do not wish to or cannot live alone can be a very profitable business. Keep in mind that who you employ to take care of the residents is probably the most important element.

Corporate health/fitness centers- Develop and manage fitness centers for corporations since higher stress, longer work days and constant multitasking make it difficult for employees to find the time to act on wellness goals. Creating an on-site wellness program works due to the amount of time spent at the workplace.

These are just a few suggestions, and with a little leg-work, you can find your niche.

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