AMGEN
 

Key factors of BusinessBy Debbie Gregory.

Bottom line, it takes hard work, know-how, and tremendous determination for owners of small firms to be successful. Small business ownership is not about avoiding a forty hour work week, as many business owners put in closer to eighty hours a week to get their businesses up and running.

Close to 40 million businesses are started each year. Of these, approximately 350,000 survive and make money. So how can small business owners overcome the odds and make their company one of the success stories? Some of the keys to success depend on luck and timing. But many successful people and companies have sworn by a few key factors of success that they rely on, again and again.

Have a plan: Everyone in the business world agrees that having a plan is important. But plans don’t have to be big undertakings. Nor should they be a bar that you must always measure your current situation up against. Plans should start small, and expand over time. Initial plans should include identifying your target customers/clients, figuring out what their needs are, and how your business is going to meet those needs. Internal plans include establishing responsibilities, setting realistic short and long term goals, and devising ways to track your company’s performance.

Build a Dream Team: Just like in sports, one player cannot win championships. Yes, superstars make winning easier. But teams win when everyone knows their roles and plays their positions well. You may be a superstar worker at your company, but you can only do so much. Surround yourself with great players who are willing to follow your lead and play within your system. And don’t be afraid to add a few other superstars to your team, they can only add to your team’s talent level.

Consider your product: Is there demand for your product? Does it solve a customer’s problem? Are there products similar to yours in your market? How can you improve upon or out-do your competitions’ product or product delivery method? While running a successful business does require a lot passion, it must also fill a need (or serious want). And once you decide on a product, be sure to use your passion for your product to ensure that it is the best product of its kind in the market.

Constantly re-evaluate your process: Once you have the right product, people, and plan in place, it is important to generate and constantly improve upon your company’s process of creating, selling and distributing your product. Most business fail to do so, and as a result, fail to meet customers’ expectations. These expectations fluctuate, so it is important to stay on top of consumer trends.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

Franchising

Many of the articles we write address the fact that Veterans are 45% more likely to go into business for themselves than their civilian counterparts. But many Veterans don’t have the business or marketing backgrounds that are advantageous to create, grow and maintain a thriving company from the ground up. That’s why, more and more, Veteran entrepreneurs are turning to franchising opportunities in order to be their own boss.

Franchising is not for everyone, or even every Veteran. But those who have military experience have found great success, working within established systems, using established brands, and other corporations’ established practices to run successful businesses.

To simplify the process, franchising utilizes the method of distributing products or services with at least two levels of people involved. The first level is the franchisor (corporation) that sells memberships for use of their trademark or brand name and their established business system. The other is the franchisee (entrepreneur), who often pays fees and royalties for the right to do business under the franchisor’s name and system. The contract binding the two parties is the “franchise,” but we often hear that term used to mean the actual business that the franchisee operates.

Whether Veteran entrepreneurs decide to buy into a franchise or start their own brand from scratch, there are a number of important questions they should consider, including:

What type of business do you want to own? Depending on the industry that you want to break into and the saturation of that industry in your area, a franchise could either be the less costly or more costly choice. It’s better to narrow down the business type first, and then look at franchises available to you in that industry. Research each franchisor thoroughly, and see the initial fee and royalties that they will charge, and what they require from you to be a franchisee. Also, take a careful look at what support they are offering you in return. Click here to see franchisors approved for SBA loans.

How are your business and marketing skills? If they are strong, and you have an interesting idea for a unique product or brand, then you might want the freedom to operate your business your way. If you have less business experience, you might find comfort knowing that you have the backing and know-how of a larger corporation behind you. It is important to remember that in franchising, the franchise brand is more important than anything else. While providing a quality service and product are important, the customer’s loyalty is to the brand, not the individual franchisee.

What brand, product, service can be your life? If you own a business, you will need to live, breathe, eat, sleep and be that business. You should consider industries that you have experience in, as well as a passion for, and an extreme desire to succeed in.

Do you have the necessary support system to start a company or franchise? If your family doesn’t support the decision, the business could fail before your grand opening. You also need a banker, investors, an accountant, and even a lawyer to help you get your business contracts signed to start and maintain your business or franchise. Also, make sure that the franchise owner requirements listed by the franchisor fit in to your skill set and lifestyle.

Your success as a franchisee is based on your willingness to work within a pre-existing system, and help build the value inherent in the brand. This should not be a problem for Veterans, especially those with leadership experience. Still, franchising is not for everyone, so you have to be honest with your ego, and make an informed decision.

For more information or advice, you can also seek assistance from the SBA.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching,Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Veteran Entrepreneurs Should Consider Franchise Opportunities: By Debbie Gregory

The Bunker Austin

In the fall of 2014, The Bunker, a business incubator conceived to house Veteran-owned technology companies, launched in Chicago. In December, 2014, the Bunker Austin branch opened, and will be headquartered out of the Austin Technology Incubator at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Bunker Austin was championed by Veteran Entrepreneur Joseph Kopser. Kopser, a West Point graduate and a twenty year Army Veteran, co-founded the transportation app RideScout with fellow Army Veteran Craig Cummings in 2011. The two raised approximately $2.5 million in funding for their company, and employed 16 people before selling their app for an undisclosed amount. The duo of Veteran entrepreneurs credit the help they received through The Bunker Chicago, as a major contribution to their success.

The Bunker Austin is designed to be a one-stop hub for Veterans to access all of the resources available to them in and around Austin. Veteran-led startup companies will have access to mentorship and a network of veteran entrepreneurs, as well as assistance with finding venture capital. The first program runs from January 21st through July.

Kopser and Cummings also put up $70,000 of their own money for the Student Veteran Entrepreneurship Endowment they established in November. The endowment will be named the Pippin Award, after retired Command Sergeant Major James D. Pippin, whom Kopser served with.  The first Pippin Award will be presented to the most promising startup in the Texas Venture Labs, where The Bunker Austin is housed. The first Pippin Award is expected to be a $2,000 endowment, and is intended to augment funding available to provide for the education of Veteran entrepreneurs through the GI Bill.

The Bunker is looking to expand to six other cities this year, including: Los Angeles, Tacoma, Colorado Springs, Kansas City, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. The Bunker is also seeking and accepting additional corporate sponsorships, as well as private funding, to pay for its programs.

If you would like more information about the Austin Technology incubator, please visit: http://ati.utexas.edu/

If you would like more information about resources available through The Bunker Austin or how to donate to or sponsor to the program, please visit www.thebunkeraustin.com/

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business CoachingContracting Opportunities, aBlog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans.Join Now!

VAMBOA: The Bunker Austin and the Austin Technology Incubator: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA cyber security

Cyber-attacks against private businesses and the governmentincluding hacks, seem to be on the rise. The recent hacks of Home Depot, Target, Sony Entertainment and the U.S. military’s Central Command have heightened our need to safeguard our cyber presence against potential threats. Our online information, records and documents, in both the government and private business sectors, are at constant risk.

Small businesses are increasingly becoming more of a target for criminals looking to access sensitive data because attackers know that small businesses tend to have limited resources dedicated to their cyber security.

The protection of sensitive data, such as business invoices, client and employee data, payroll records, and other proprietary information is essential to the security, and ultimate success, of a small business. Much like installing locks and other physical security measures, it is imperative that business owners learn how to identify vulnerabilities in their cyber security that could potentially put their firms at risk.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has taken steps to strengthen its public and private sector partnerships on cyber security. The aim of the SBA is to help small businesses learn how to guard against cyber-attacks, secure their business information, and identify security threats.

Providing the protective tools and techniques needed to maintain and guard business information and systems, the SBA has developed a free online course called Cybersecurity for Small Businesses to help educate business owners as to how to secure their online information. The information also assists in the evaluation and usage of security tools and techniques.

The SBA has previously conducted cybersecurity workshops for small business owners across the country in partnership with the FBI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The program was renewed in December 2014, and the SBA is in the process of coordinating the 2015 calendar of workshops.

The SBA’s cyber security programs are in line with President Obama’s newly announced legislative proposal, a program that will facilitate seamless sharing of information about cyber security vulnerabilities, and potential hacks between government and private business websites.

In a recent statement, President Obama said, “Our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business CoachingContracting Opportunities, aBlog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans.Join Now!

VAMBOA: SBA Offers Cyber Security Resources to Business Owners: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA Millennial Veterans

The term “millennial generation” refers to people born between 1980 and 1999. This group of Americans, also called “generation Y” and “millennials,” are those who are aged 14-35 in 2015. The U.S. Census Bureau data shows Millennials as the largest demographic in history to date, at more than 80 million.

A report written by the U.S. Chamber Foundation, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, titled “The Millennial Generation: Research Review” describes the millennial generation as technically savvy, “…almost as if it has a digital sixth sense.”

To go along with their partiality to smartphones, tablets and other technologies, members of the millennial generation are dexterous multitaskers. Millennials often have multiple browser windows open on their laptops, often while watching T.V., texting on their smartphones, eating, and completing homework. This generation is renowned for their ability to process multiple activities in rapid succession, so that it seems as if the activities are being completed simultaneously.

But one area where this diverse and capable generation is lacking in is their pursuit of entrepreneurial ventures. Studies, including data provided by the Federal Reserve, show that the number of American households led by persons under the age of 30 who own their own business has dropped from 10.6% in 1989, to 3.6% at the end of 2014.

Many may contend that this data lends to other conclusions, such as the fact that millennials aren’t claiming of head of household status. Just as members of the millennial generation are known for their using technology, they are also stereotypically profiled as still living at home, going to school, or living with multiple roommates. Factoring this data could cause the data to read differently, meaning that business owners from the millennial generation also need to be the heads of their households, disqualifying millennial entrepreneurs who live with roommates or one or more of their parents (even in a cohabitation situation).

We should also remember that millennials also make up the bulk of those who have been fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are many lending and business programs geared towards different industries and demographics, including many programs designed to benefit millennials, and specifically Veterans from the millennial generation.

The truth is that entrepreneurship is extremely important to the American economy, the country’s growth and global competitiveness. New companies, specifically those started by millennials, which also employ millennials, do much to boost the economy and create new jobs.

Veterans are some of the most experienced members of the millennial generation. And because of their war-time service, by way of their federal benefits and state and local provisions, they also happen to be among the leading companies that financiers are willing to work with.

Millennial Veterans are strongly encouraged to seek out entrepreneurial ventures to better their financial situation, be their own boss, and help the U.S. economy. Let the Veteran and Military Business Owners Association at www.VAMBOA.com assist you on your journey to business ownership.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Millennial Veteran Entrepreneur Wanted: By Debbie Gregory