Calling Veterans to a New Service as Exceptional Business Owners

Author : , Date : May 12, 2015

Calling-Veterans-to-a-New-Service-as-Exceptional-Business-Owners

 

As a veteran of both the U.S. Navy and Army the one group of people I identify with no matter where I go is a fellow veteran.

There is just an instant bond even though there are very different experiences and stories. The military, unlike any other organization, is so standardized that no matter your branch of service or when or where you served there are things we all have in common.

Of late, I have met a number of active and reserve military, and veterans, who realize that they have a special skill and ability that many in the civilian world don’t have because of our training.

The modern military requires more than just taking orders and self discipline. It requires:

 

  • A wide range of managerial skills.
  • A wide range of leadership skills at levels of the chain of command.
  • A tight set of specialize and technical skills.
  • The ability to improvise and think outside of the box.
  • Courage and bravery in the face of adversity.
  • The ability to think clearly in times of intense stress

 

These are also skills required of entrepreneurs and business owners.

In my ten years of entrepreneurship I’ve encountered a lot of setbacks and some incredible successes.

As a veteran of both the U.S. Navy and Army the one group of people I identify with no matter where I go is a fellow veteran.

There is just an instant bond even though there are very different experiences and stories. The military, unlike any other organization, is so standardized that no matter your branch of service or when or where you served there are things we all have in common.

Of late, I have met a number of active and reserve military, and veterans, who realize that they have a special skill and ability that many in the civilian world don’t have because of our training.

The modern military requires more than just taking orders and self discipline. It requires:

 

  • A wide range of managerial skills.
  • A wide range of leadership skills at levels of the chain of command.
  • A tight set of specialize and technical skills.
  • The ability to improvise and think outside of the box.
  • Courage and bravery in the face of adversity.
  • The ability to think clearly in times of intense stress

 

These are also skills required of entrepreneurs and business owners.

In my ten years of entrepreneurship I’ve encountered a lot of setbacks and some incredible successes.

waterfordWhile in the Navy, I was stationed at the Submarine Base in Groton, CT in the early 90’s and I can remember some pretty incredible times  of doing whatever it took to ensure that a submarine could meet its mission. Sometimes that meant two days straight without sleep or rest. Other times in meant replacing equipment outside of the “boat” in 20 degree weather in a wet dry dock with a wind coming off of the frigid water.

I have to tell you, it took a lot of mental and physical fortitude to get through some of those moments!

However, we always got the job done no matter the adversity.

Business ownership is the same exact way!

Whatever adversity, trials or losses you faced while you were on active duty have prepared you for what lays ahead if you chose to go into business ownership or entrepreneurship.

 

 

Click Here to learn what the Military Taught Me About Business

 

 

Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces; are you Ready to Change America?

 

When I look at America today, I see the kind of leadership and skills that are going to be needed to continue to make us a great country!

The kind of leadership that was honed and developed in our Armed Forces:

 

  • Discipline
  • Courage
  • Bravery
  • Critical thinking skills
  • People skills
  • Technical skills
  • Managerial skills
  • Calmness under pressure
  • Etc…

 

America today needs us as veterans and are we willing to rise to the occasion once more?

Business ownership and entrepreneurship is the way to lead our country to a brighter and more hopeful tomorrow.

Government is not the answer no matter how much they want us to believe that it is.

Big business is not the answer as they are competing on a global scale and more desirous to protect their investors than the country as they sit on trillions of dollars that is not in the American economy.

Small businesses have and always will be the driving force of the U.S. Economy.

Real people just like you and me who have answered the call and will do so again.

This time, we have something more at stake and a potential future that will provide for our own dreams as well as the dreams of those we love while having a positive impact on others.

 

What is My Catalyst for Calling Veterans to Service through Business Ownership?

 

Over the years I’ve met some incredibly talented veterans. Each one of us has the capacity to do something amazing and great.

I’ve been away from the military for over eleven years. I was honorably discharged from the Navy after four years in 1993 and I served as a Chaplain in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard from 1998 – 2002.

In that time, many were able to leave the military for good paying jobs in the defense industry or in other businesses that needed those who had advanced training, skills and experience.

As you know, since 2008 the economy has changed significantly and I’m hearing stories from some fellow veterans of how hard it is to find a job.

Why are you looking for a job and helping someone build their dreams when you can build one of your own?

I’ve lived it for ten years and it has been hard at times and easy at other times. I’ve made a lot of big mistakes that have hurt deeply and some great decisions that changed the course of my life and my family’s life.

It has all been worth it!

Would I change some things?

Absolutely!

But, I can say that no matter how much I change what I know there will always be the unknown that gets in the way. We all know what that’s about!

 

How to Know What Kind of Business to Start

 

I was asked this very question a few days ago by a young man who knows he doesn’t want another boss in his life and he just got out of the Marine Corp.

harrierMark is a twenty eight year-old with ten years military service. He had been working on the AV-8B Harrier II and promotions were getting harder and harder to come by.

Now that he is out if the Marines he continues to look for a job but he’s having a hard time finding one he wants to take that will pay him what he wants; where he wants to live.

He’s been contemplating starting a business but has no idea what to do.

I started asking him some questions about his military training, experiences and his passions.

One thing that came out of our conversation is that he is helping a friend at Harrisburg International Airport with his small business flying cargo parts around for airliners. His friend doesn’t have a mechanic on staff and he can’t afford to pay one full-time at this point.

Mark just contacted me the other day to say there may be a huge demand for a contract / vendor company to provide those services to multiple aviation companies in the area and he’s now looking into what it would take to get his certifications and start his own business.

Is that cool or what!!!!

 

Challenges Mark Will Face

 

Mark will face some challenges but the most important one starting out will be to determine what business he is “really” in.

It will be tempting to promote what he does and then get help from the Small Business Administration or other entities to help create a business plan in order to obtain funding.

Let me say, a business plan is not what he immediately needs. Business plans are for bankers and bankers come a little bit later on the process.

What he needs to do us lay his business foundation and determine:

 

  • What he wants the tangible values to be after his clients have experienced his company?
  • What “specific” problems he is solving. These problems cannot just be the obvious… they have to be the “business” problems… Can he save businesses money by hiring his company as a vendor? Reduce overall expenses? Increase performance and efficiency? Etc…
  • Who he “specifically” is solving problems for.
  • How his service is a part of “a” solution to each specific problem.

 

Once this work is done, he will be able to gain the clarity he needs to secure funding and start marketing.

The reason why 80% of all small businesses fail in 5 years (and of those 80% nearly 70% will fail within the first 24 months) is because they lack the clarity they need in order to focus.

Clarity is the key to success. Don’t skip this work and head straight to starting your business. Take the few necessary weeks to lay this foundation before you start creating business plans and executing strategies.

I would like to refer you to a couple of articles that can make more sense of this in detail (each one will open in a new tab):

 

What is a Vision and How Can It Transform My Business?

Assembly Required If Online Marketing is Going to Work!

Starting a Business and Building it for Success

Why You Must Create a Dynamic Online Presence for Your Business

How to Use Social Media Marketing and Online Networking to Grow a Business

 

Conclusion

 

As a fellow veteran, I know you are skilled and able to take on the challenge of building a business and helping make a difference for our country once again.

If you want to learn how you can make a difference then take what you’ve learned and start something like a business or a non-profit.

There is a need in every community and industry for someone just like you!

Sincerely,

Don

P.S. – One great resource I’ve found that is awesome for military veterans who own a business is the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. Be sure to check them out!

 

Do you have an idea, thought or comment? If so, please leave it in the comments section below and let’s chat. Do you have a question or idea with me that you would prefer to share in confidence? Please visit the “Contact” page and get a hold of me. I would love to chat with you!!!

 

 

 

 

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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
  • Hi Don,

    First I must say Thank YOU for your service in the military. I have the highest respect for you and others that have stepped up to the plate in the military. I have a huge open heart when it comes to Vets. Especially in this economy. I see people coming back with no jobs available. But I can go on forever and won’t right now! lol

    I like the way you took on Mark. He has valuable strengths to run a business, but you have brought out his clarity to focus on the specifics. That’s what you are so good at Don. Now I’m sure when Mark applies this and starts a business he will be highly successful.

    -Donna

  • Hi Donna,

    Thank you, I appreciate your kind words! My time in the military was extremely rewarding and gratifying and I appreciate every moment of it looking back.

    Mark, like many Vets, has an incredible opportunity awaiting him. It’s up to him to decide what he wants to do with his option. However, I sincerely believe as a veteran that there are some very talented, capable and special people who are veterans who would make great business owners and entrepreneurs. We really need them!!!!!

    Thanks again for your kind words!

    ~ Don

  • Hi, Don,

    I absolutely love the story and description of when you were in the military. My favorite quote is “We always got the job done no matter the adversity.”

    You are absolutely right, my friend, business ownership is the same way and many parallels can be drawn here which you did, and did beautifully I might add.

    Each and every experience we have in our lives points us to the future and aids us just at the right time, so very true.

    It’s so awesome that Mark saw a need and a potential market and is acting on fulfilling that need. It doesn’t get any better than that. That is tremendous! 🙂

    This is a wonderful encouragement to veterans all across the United States, and I really appreciate you putting this together for us. Sharing now… so very valuable!

    Hope you have a wonderful evening,

    ˜Carol Amato

  • Hi Don,

    You have addressed some important points there! It is certainly the small businesses that drive the US economy. The government and big business all have their own agenda!

    Apart from that you have emphasized well about the importance of preparation and going through those challenges to start one’s business. There’s so much to learn from here!

    Thanks for this valuable post (even though I am not a veteran, it will certainly help all of us!)

    Have a great day!

  • Hi Carol,

    Thank you so much for your kind words!!!!

    That’s an absolute truth… we had no choice but to get the job done. Some of the best but hardest moments in my life came in the military. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    Not every veteran will feel like I do. We all have different backgrounds, experiences and challenges.

    However, we all have the same core training and that training has prepared us well for the rigors and stresses of owning a business and making a difference again in our country and communities as business owners.

    I would never do anything else again. I love the ability to make a difference and for me being a business owner allows me to do that all of the time!!!!

    Thanks again Carol. I find it interesting that the comments are much lower on this post, don’t you?

    Have a great weekend.

    ~ Don

  • Hi Nisha,

    Thank you for reading my article and for your comment. I appreciate you sharing and I hope that you have an amazing weekend!

    ~ Don