Recently, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published a short (4 pages! – and one is a thank you page! ) report on the state of entrepreneurship in the United States. http://www.inc.com/news/articles/201108/new-york-tops-for-entrepreneurship.html
The report measured five variables to which they assigned an index value of 1.00, and measured a statistical variation from 1.00 to rank the states.
The five variables were
1) percent growth in new establishments
2) percent growth in new establishments per capita
3) business formation rate
4) patents per thousand residents
5) gross receipts of sole proprietorships and partnerships per capita
At the Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, we are completely, 100% committed to giving veterans every opportunity and all the tools to be successful entrepreneurs. We’re really rooting for everyone to be immensely and wildly successful! But it doesn’t always work that way, unfortunately.
And that’s ok.
I posted an earlier blog that I titled How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. But the cold hard truth is, most entrepreneurs fail first, fail early, and fail often.
Thomas Edison famously said about his invention of the light-bulb “I discovered 9,999 ways not to make a light bulb.”
Hank Aaron once said, when asked about his home-run hitting prowess, that he really only hit a home run once out of every 20 at-bats, and he considered his success more a function of health and longevity than anything else (he played full-time for 24 years). For those of you who are baseball fans, they say you can make a career and get into the Hall of Fame by failing 7 out of every 10 at bats – thats a .300 batting average.
Here’s a link to an article called Thirteen Business Leaders Who Failed Before They Succeeded. It’s about 13 famous and wildly successful entrepreneurs who failed miserably before they succeeded. Several went bankrupt. My favorite is Colonel Sanders – of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame – whose famous recipe was rejected more than 1,000 times before he started his business – after the age of 65 – when most people want to retire.
I am a member of, and on the board of directors of, Semper Max. Semper Max was started by Tim Maxwell, a severely wounded Marine. He started the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment while he was recovering on active duty. When he retired, he attended the EBV program at Texas A&M. He recently sent me this link
This is the link to Semper Max
Matt Bradford, Cpl., USMC, is in a show given by country singer Toby Keith. Matt was severely wounded in Iraq. He Lost both of his legs, and he is completely blind. Despite his conditions, Matt reenlisted in the USMC, and currently (2011) is on the staff at the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East. Check it out!
The State Dept of Veterans Affairs is hosting its annual veterans stand-down on Friday, Sept 9th, at Rocky Hill from 7 am to 3:30 pm. This is an important event for more than 1,500 of Connecticut's veterans who are struggling with homelessness, joblessness, substance abuse and addiction, and legal issues. This is an opportunity for those veterans to come in from the cold, so to speak. On this day, they will be fed, given full medical and dental screening, an opportunity to meet with pro bono lawyers, judges who can adjudicate minor legal issues, and career and social counseling services.
I encourage everyone involved in the state veterans community to get involved. You can sign up to volunterr by clicking on the link. There is also an opportunity to donate items for veterans. For more information, go to the CT State VA website.
On Monday, the 25th of July, the Dept of Veterans Affairs published a study entitled Audit of Veteran-owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business Programs.
The findings are simply stunning. The VA awards more than 1,400 contracts for more than $500 million annually. According to the study, which reviewed contract awards for FY 2010 – 76% (32 out of 42) of contrators were ineligible for the contract that they were awarded.
Here is an article in the May-June issue of VetLikeMe, a national news publication for Service-Disabled Veteran-owned businesses, which tells the story of a “entrepreneur” who fraudulently obtained $16 million in contracts from the Veterans Administration. He faces up to 75 years in prison and more than $3 million in fines.
There are a couple of places to make sure your business is registered.
The VA has a portal called VetBiz where you can register your business as a Service-Disabled Veteran-owned business. The process is designed to be simple and doable. Once certified, you can put the certification stamp on your website, business cards, promotional literature, website, etc. Given the two factoids aforementioned – this is crucial! In business parlance, it is known as a “Strategic Differentiator.”
The second portal is the Central Contractor Registry. Every single federal contractor – anyone who does business with the federal government – can be found here. You can’t get a federal contract without being registered. It takes about an hour to complete the registration – it may well be the most profitable hour in the history of your business!
I found this article How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Website Sins by Jeff Haden at the Bnet Interactive Business Network. I find this articles particularly useful for veteran entrepreneurs making early decisions about how to get on the internet!
As he always does, Jeff emphasizes simplicity, clarity, and concision of communication to your potential customers. And as he always does, he emphasizes the most important thing: be able to deliver what you promise. Veterans recognize that trait – in the military, we call it INTEGRITY.
This fall, we will be emphasizing website design and information technology decisions for entrepreneurs.
For an entrepreneur in the early stages of getting on the 'Net and doing business via the 'Net – these are critical decisions.