5 Formidable Ways to Feel More Empowered as a Veteran Entrepreneur
For veteran entrepreneurs who want to enjoy long-lasting careers as business developers, believing in your abilities is crucial. You can't hope to earn the admiration and respect of others if you don't first believe in your strengths as a veteran entrepreneur. Learning how to boost your own self-respect is critical if you want to build a business that survives and thrives over the long haul. As military veterans, we are trained and empowered to command our missions and our military careers. Moreover, the same strategy can prove valuable in governing your veteran-owned enterprise. If this is the year, you go all-in on pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams. Following my five strategies, you too can feel more empowered as a veteran entrepreneur.
Understand Your Strengths and Capitalize on Them
One of the quickest ways to feel more empowered as a veteran entrepreneur is to take stock of your strengths. Make a list of talents you have that make you an exceptional entrepreneur, and understand how you can use those abilities to build a stronger company. You can't hope to impress others with your talents if you're not first aware of them yourself. Learn the strengths you possess as a veteran entrepreneur, and then develop strategies to integrate your skills into your business development efforts. Simply put, these strengths can translate directly from your military service experience into your veteran-owned business. For instance, I like many of you earned combat badges that differentiated me from my peers during my time serving in the armed forces. Although listing my Combat Action Badge in my business branding would prove invaluable, listing that my company's mission is to ensure that we advocate for our clients regardless of the circumstances directly correlates with my combat experience. You can utilize the same strategy to help differentiate your veteran-owned business from others in a crowded marketplace.
Outwork Your Competitors via Data Analysis
Outworking your competitors can make you feel more empowered. An incredible way to outwork those in your market sector is to analyze their behaviors and then use your newly acquired data analysis to improve your business development strategy. Pay attention to the conferences your competitors are attending, the speeches they're giving, the marketing they're doing, and how they're acquiring new customers. This is a strategy that we utilized to advance in the military. As you well know, the military uses a point system to help differentiate military service members. Military specialty badges, certifications, combat experience, and time in service help leaders decipher the soldier most eligible to promote. Furthermore, the point system shows how much a service member has invested in their careers and what service members take on extra responsibilities. When you start analyzing specific data on your competitors, you learn how to outwork them by having a deep understanding of their growth initiatives.
Goal Setting is Essential
If you want to feel more empowered as a veteran entrepreneur, start setting attainable goals for yourself. Documenting your goals and monitoring performance to-date helps you feel like you're achieving what you set out to do. Goal setting and monitoring help you feel like you're moving your business forward while becoming a stronger veteran entrepreneur in the process. In the military, we utilize after-action reports to document the success of our mission. You can do the same when evaluating whether you are reaching your revenue and branding goals. National Invest In Veterans Week Co-founder Drayton Florence encourages veterans to set and achieve their business goals consistently. Florence stated, "I learned through my experiences in the NFL and through helping launch award-winning veteran businesses that goal setting is essential for success both on and off the field. Without a clear goal, your team will never truly understand what you are working towards and how to get there."
Analyze Your Experiences
Another remarkable way to turbocharge your sense of empowerment is to analyze your experiences as a veteran entrepreneur. Did you recently attend a tech conference? Analyze what you learned, whom you met, and which business lessons you learned as a result of the conference. Did you go through a challenging time recently while attempting to scale your startup? Christian Brothers Automotive veteran business owner Joshua Standridge eloquently integrated his military service experiences into his branding while being interviewed for a National Invest In Veterans Week segment. Standridge stated, "I joined the military after I graduated from The Citadel. Deployed straight to Afghanistan and Iraq, and I have been currently serving in the South Carolina Army National Guard ever since, I truly just enjoy serving our country." Standridge's military experiences show that he is a veteran, his willingness to fulfill his obligations, his dedication to the mission, and his desire to keep serving the Lexington South Carolina community.
Trademark Attorney Erik Pelton highlights the value that veteran entrepreneurs bring to the business community. Pelton stated, "Through their service and sacrifice, veterans have proven that they have the leadership and drive necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs." Pelton's insight is not merely a sound bite; he draws his conclusion based upon the multiple veteran business owners that he's helped secure trademarks through his firm Erik Pelton & Associates, PLLC. Put simply, analyze your military experiences and curate a list of lessons you learned. Not only will you feel more resilient after exploring your struggles, but you'll also have the makings of a business blog post you can share to improve your company's SEO (search engine optimization).
Study the Habits of Successful Business Builders
An excellent way to boost your sense of empowerment is to study the habits of business builders you admire. How did they grow their companies, and how do they treat others in their network? What habits do they follow, e.g., reading extensively, and what methods do they use to build their companies? A great place to start studying and learning from successful business builders is through your local Chamber of Commerce. Not only can you network with other area business people on all levels you can also attend business development events and educational sessions. Put simply, the more effort you put into analyzing the actions of those you admire, the greater your chances are of becoming a successful veteran business owner and community leader.
Integrate these tips into your business development efforts, and chances are good you'll feel more empowered as you grow your veteran-owned company. Developing a sense of empowerment can feel like empowering as a veteran entrepreneur. Once you start reveling in your sense of strength, you'll want to experience that business-building high regularly.
About Jeff Shuford
Jeff Shuford is an Iraq War Veteran, nationally syndicated columnist, serial veteran business owner, and a thought leader specializing in innovative digital marketing. As the Co-founder of National Invest In Veterans Week, Shuford advocates for veteran entrepreneurs nationwide.