America The Land of Opportunity
America is the land of opportunity and nobody knows that better than the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces protecting our Freedom both here at home and in foreign lands. We understand it because we have seen what it is like when people don’t have Freedom, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Personally, I've served in both Bosnia and Afghanistan. In Bosnia I witnessed as people who had lived under a communist dictator for decades, suffered through a brutal civil war and then tried to learn the values of Freedom and capitalism. Fast forward 5 years and I found myself in Afghanistan which, while completely different culture, terrain and ethnic background, was undergoing the same transition after we ousted the Taliban.
Witnessing and enabling the transition to a FREE society is an amazing experience and I believe that without it success is not possible.
The first step in Success stems from the three important factors that I believe are critical for success. First, as I mentioned, you need FREEDOM. Freedom is essential to allowing people the opportunity to be successful. The day I realized what freedom meant was a very hot day in Afghanistan. I was pulling security on the street while my team was inside a building. A small girl probably 5-6 years old approached with an older gentleman. Every bad thought was running through my head. Like does she have a bomb strapped to her? And for the first time in my military career I didn't know how to react. The older gentlemen nudged her forward and she extended her hand up to me. I was one of the scary looking bearded guys [flash a picture of me with my beard] so I was amazed that she came up to me. When I took her hand she looked up at me and she said, Thank you for freeing my country. That was a powerful moment for me because I understood Freedom and what it would mean for that little girl. Cherish your Freedom.
Second, you need a good moral foundation. Do the right thing and good things happen for you. Follow your moral compass.
Third, you need other people. People are everywhere and you can't go through life without affecting other people's lives or being affected by other people. Always keep your faith in people.
Military Veteran Entrepreneurs have a number of unique qualities that give us a distinct advantage over non Veterans. Our leadership training, combat experience, decision making ability, our ability to plan and execute and our risk taking genetics. The list is truly much longer than those few items. That’s not to say non Veterans cannot be successful, because I know a lot of them (they do outnumber us 99 to 1), but we are unique and know how to win and be successful.
Veterans know and understand teamwork, they stand by one another and help each other when we need it and that makes all of us more successful.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Posted by ASBDC Biz Blog
Entrepreneurship and Wounded Warriors
In the current economy where unemployment rates are already elevated for people in their twenties, the rate for Veterans sits at approximately 5% higher than the population as a whole. At the same time the SBA reports that veterans are more likely to start a business than the general population. Some reasons for this include the discipline and risk-taking they might have experienced in the field- when you’ve risked your life, taking a risk to start a business is put into an easier perspective. When you’ve been trained to get back up and keep going in the field, and to work precisely and closely with others, well, those are extremely useful entrepreneurial traits.
Because of the internet, the options for creating business and services create opportunities exist that weren’t imagined by veterans of previous eras. Even severely impacted people who might have needed in the past to be supported to live, are now often likely to need support to start something.
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities
Ruth. E. Hedges is the creator and CEO of Fundingroadmap.com. and Startups Across America. She has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC’s Home Show, and the Financial News Network did a two-part series on her for their show entitled ‘American Entrepreneur’.
For more information please visit fundingroadmap.com and startupsacrossamerica.com/SAA/
The Keys to Hiring Veterans
The upcoming surge of job-seeking veterans presents a great opportunity for small business owners nationwide—one you might not see again in your lifetime. Hiring a veteran means you’ll have an employee with a unique skillset, offering experience in:· learning new skills and concepts with minimal training
· administering and using a variety of hi-tech systems
· leading staff at different skill levels
· remaining calm and productive under intense pressure
And that’s really just scratching the surface. To attract and retain veterans to your business, we’ve identified the two pillars for making your business a magnet for military hires:
1. Develop a veteran-specific differentiation for your business
2. Capitalize on the Veterans Hiring Toolkit
Focusing on these building blocks for your veterans recruiting efforts will give you an edge over your peers—and help you compete with the big boys.
Differentiating Your Business
You can compete for veterans by showing the advantages of working for your business, and small business in general, from their perspective. The key is differentiating how your business, and not a large-scale competitor, can help unemployed veterans:
· achieve higher levels of success in their desired fields, and
· enjoy more freedom in your work environment than they’d be afforded elsewhere.
You can probably answer these questions for any candidate. But as you target veterans, you can impress them with:
· your knowledge of the skills and training they’ve already acquired, and
· how they can use and build upon that knowledge at your company.
By researching military careers, you’ll learn what aspects of your open jobs align with certain veterans’ experience. Yes, this will take some work on your part, but the benefit of being able to present yourself and your company as experts in what veterans have learned and gone through—and having the research to back it up—outweighs the cost of your research.
Once you’ve finished differentiating your veterans-friendly business, include the message in all steps of your recruiting: from the ad, to the phone interview, and all the way to the hire offer.
Following the Veterans Hiring Toolkit
The U.S. Department of Labor has released a Veterans Hiring Toolkit that provides useful and actionable steps to create a business that addresses veterans’ wants and needs, including ways to accommodate wounded veterans and military spouses.
The Toolkit breaks down the most important aspects of hiring veterans into six steps:
1. Designing a strategy for your veterans hiring program
2. Creating a welcome and educated workplace for veterans
3. Actively recruiting veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses
4. Hiring qualified veterans and learning how to accommodate wounded warriors
5. Promoting an inclusive workplace to retain veteran employees
6. Providing access to helpful tools and resources
The website provides detailed instructions for each of the six points mentioned above.
With a small investment of your time, you can help those who’ve served their country work in an environment that understands, appreciates and challenges them daily.
Veteran Entrepreneurs: Demonstrating Our Gratitude Through Acts of Support
They served and fought on our behalf. They devoted years of their lives and many endured repeated deployments. Now is our opportunity to help them in return. 26% of returning veterans are not looking for a job or a degree: they’re looking to get into business for themselves, and we should all be contributing in one way or another to help. We can help returned vets build new lives and thrive as they launch new business and grow their piece of the "American dream" in these tough economic times.
Imagine the impact it would have if millions of experienced business people individually stepped up and did just one thing, like mentoring, coaching, investing, creating strategic partnerships, making introductions to contacts and connections to help further an enterprise, donating or discounting equipment or materials, office space, and so much more that might be needed. What a powerful thing it would be to show our gratitude in this way and pay it forward to help support local veteran entrepreneurs in our towns and neighborhoods all across the country. Imagine if the rest of us were to make a point of buying their products and services and do whatever we can to help give them a leg up.
This is a serious problem and we can't wait for policies to solve it. Every month thousands of returning veterans arrive stateside to confront a stressed economy and meager job prospects. Veterans have a 25% higher unemployment rate than the general population, and it’s trending in the wrong direction. It’s our responsibility to foster the success of these people who have subjected themselves to the rigors and sacrifices of military service on our behalf. And when things are not going well, it’s our duty to do more. Many Vets come home to personal financial troubles. Those who owned homes often have fallen behind in their mortgage payments. In the current era, policy makers in many respects sacrifice the nation’s warriors to “benign neglect.” “Thank you for your service” is not enough, we can all do our part to create a successful and secure future for veterans and their families. Helping them to start businesses not only helps veterans but helps increase job growth and spur further economic recovery for us all.
The perfect Win-Win!
So as we continue to write about entrepreneurial veterans over the next year for the ASBDC, we’ll focus on how ordinary people are reaching out to help veterans launch and grow their businesses. If you’re an entrepreneurial veteran who’s been helped, or a citizen with a success story to share about how you are helping out, please leave a short comment below. We would love to hear your story. It may also help inspire others to pay it forward in ways they may not have ever thought of.
This is a golden opportunity to build not only a more successful and prosperous country, but also to weave closer communities through gratitude and support.
We couldn't’ have imagined that the online launch of the Funding Roadmap TM would coincide with the most profound economic crisis of our lifetime, but here we are, and as a world full of investors and lenders look to reboot, we’re here to provide an innovative, networked business planning and due diligence reporting system for funding professionals and entrepreneurs alike. It also includes a video pitching platform, a document repository and deal flow marketplace so entrepreneurs will have an online medium to brilliantly communicate all the essential data – along with their personal passion and commitment.”
Posted by ASBDC Biz Blog