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  • VBS pledges franchising profits to rebuild The Veterans Corporation

    EBV Graduate Companies to spearhead effort.

    The idea for The Veterans Corporation (“TVC”) when formed by Congress in 1999 was to act as central clearinghouse to help Veteran entrepreneurs. And it was a good idea supported by  major Veteran Service Organizations.  But when the original politically appointed team mismanaged and abused its promise, the next generation of Veterans who by then had begun to bear the burden of Iraq and Afghanistan got short changed. They were unaware that quietly, in the dead of night, the politicians took away the funding for their The Veterans Corporation. The politicians threw out the proverbial “baby with the bath water”.

    The reality is that old The Veteran Corporation just couldn’t function with all the political interference. Then and now it needs to be a private organization, one that is self-sufficient and controlled by the next generation of those who have borne the battle.

    The logo for original TVC was supposed to depict Veterans thinking outside the box.   And our new Veterans were definitely “outside the box” then, they were actually “in the sandbox”.

    The Veterans Corporation new logo with the red “V” will now simply represent Veterans, and it will belong to those who have actually borne the battle.

    Of course a logo and ten cents still won’t get you a cup of coffee these days. So initial financial support will come from Veteran Business Services (“VBS”) a company using a profitable franchise industry business model  developed at the Entrepreneurial Boot camp for Veterans with Disabilities (“EBV”).The VBS plan was also supported by the Federal Government’s” Boots to Business” Program for transitioning entrepreneurial servicemen and women. Unfortunately not all Veterans can access the competitive EBV program. Because of that limitation VBS and other EBV graduates have decided to launch an initiative to enable the new generation of Veterans to get control of The Veterans Corporation. By doing so, they can accelerate knowledge sharing and resource strategies.  TVC will operate  as a private social enterprise. VBS is now profitable and has been fortunate enough to get further support from the Institute for Military and Veteran Families (“IMVF”) with IMVF  acting as a Trustee. VBS will raise capital for the TVC initiative under the Kiva/IMVF crowdfunding loan platform.

    But what’s the strategy for rebuilding The Veterans Corporation to operational self-sufficiency?

    VBS, using its Franchise Accelerator will be the first of hopefully many other Veteran and EBV businesses which will pledge profits to help rebuild a new TVC .VBS will also make its technology available to TVC via its VA VRE pilot to train veterans to build and execute successful self-employment plans with Chapter 31 benefits. Veterans will first learn to use the tool to implement franchise transactions. Other uses include providing mentor teams for developing franchise concepts for qualifying Veterans under the VA VRE Program.

    As a recent Departent of Defense white paper, After the Sea of Goodwill: A Collective Approach to Re-integration pointed out, there are literally tens of thousands of Veteran support entities from the all of sectors depicted in our social enterprise outreach strategy.

    Even with the many resources that our out there, there’s been something missing for Veteran entrepreneurs:  coordinated small business advocacy team and peer to peer resources. VBS has been working with Process Peak to improve its Veteran focused CRM system and its VBS Franchise Accelerator. Both will provide TVC a platform for mentoring and partnership opportunities for economic growth and self-sufficiency.  TVC then can make the holistic advocacy team plan grow. Small business mentoring is a great tool for Veterans but any successful business plan requires focus and customization. TVC’s ultimate goal will be to have an Army of small business mentoring teams and Veteran peer to peer team members at the ready for the new generation of Veterans who have borne the battle.

  • From Battleground to Business

    With a stop at White House

                ….for a little “TAP” along the way

    Over 150 soldiers and marines were the first group to experience the BOOTS to BUSINESS REBOOT at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House .  Although the President didn’t make an appearance (apparently he had other business to attend to) he did send representatives from his Council of Economic Advisors. Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) delivered the keynote and a variety of small business experts provided quality presentations and advice for small business opportunities, including franchising.

    The BOOTS to BUSINESS REBOOT has now been presented to Veterans in other major cities across the nation. So what is this TAP? It stands for Transitional Assistance Program which is made available to service members who are making the transition to civilian life. Now Veterans who already have gone through TAP can still choose the TAP entrepreneurial track and get access to BOOTS to BUSINESS REBOOT and many other small business resources. For instance, the REBOOT is administered by SBA so its networks of SCORE mentors and Small Business Development Center professions are made available. Veterans also have access to Veteran Business Outreach Centers to hone their business plans and network in local/regional markets. The Veterans Administration also offers an Entrepreneurial Portal with a section on Franchising that has special services just for Veterans. Although the Veterans were encouraged to find the right business idea, it was noted that first you have to know “WHO YOU ARE “because without a passion for your idea it could be experience rough waters ahead.

    If the idea is a franchise concept, Veterans were advised they should drill down on five key aspects before they purchase:

    1) Product or Service:

    Is this something you would buy and be passionate about selling?

    Would you offer it to family and friends proudly?

    2) Profitability:

    Don’t just accept the franchisor’s dream presentation! Look at their past performance and  actually call several franchisees to verify that they’re making money.

    Do their newer units cost more than ones built during the most recent growth spurt, and, if so,  how long does it take to get your money back at your cost of investment?

    3. Culture:

    How does the franchisor treat the franchisee?

    Is the franchisee just a cog in a big system or is he/she treated as a real and equal partner?

    Is it a team approach?

    4. Depth of Support:

    Are you confident that their back office operations are sufficient now and can grow to support  an expanding franchise system?

    Are support plans current reality rather prospective ideas?

    5. Leadership:

    What is their vision?

    Do they really know their own competition and how they plan to be the ongoing force in their marketplace?

    Veterans like all other entrepreneurs must delve into these questions before making their final decision to act on purchasing any franchise.

    Veterans Business Services will be presenting on franchising at the BOOTS to BUSINESS in Annapolis, Maryland on September 3rd.  For more about BOOTS to BUSINESS REBOOT go to www.boots2businessreboot.org .

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