In doing research for my article, "Veterans Show Force as Business Owners," I received many more quotes and tips than I could use. Since all small business owners could definitely benefit from the veterans' words of wisdom to help with starting a business, attracting clients, and managing priorities, I collected some for this blog post.
Here are 5 business owners who are also U.S. military veterans answering the question, "What was your biggest challenge in the first year of business?"
Alice Guilford, Age Advantage Home Care Services (FL): The biggest problem the first year, honestly, was to stay motivated. That's where the discipline comes in to play. I knew, that in order to get where I wanted to be, I needed to "beat the streets", so to speak. Clients weren't going to just automatically appear. But, once we got our first client, that's when the light bulb went off. I was absolutely amazed to receive that first payment and was thrilled at how the whole process works.
Carlos Vasquez, Rowdy Marketing LLC, text message marketing service (TX): The biggest challenge was by far getting the first few clients. They didn't doubt that the service would benefit them, but I didn't have the clients to show for it. By attending networking events and giving free trials I was able to overcome those objections.
Nick Palmisciano, Ranger Up apparel (NC): Ourselves. We thought we had the right product and the right marketing. We didn't, and we ended up with 23 out of 25 of our first shirts being dogs. But we checked our egos at the door and listened to our customers. Now we incorporate social media into our design decisions and every shirt is a winner.
Dave Nielsen, Common Area Solutions, commercial and municipal facility maintenance (FL): It is tough wearing administrative and operational hats. I wanted to know the business and equipment from the inside out so I performed a lot of the work myself. With time, I was able to learn what tasks/services should be outsourced in order to focus on business and employee development.
Michael Kothakota, WolfBridge Financial (NC): My first year the biggest challenge was figuring out how to meet all of the regulatory requirements, run the business, and at the same time manage investments. It took away from time spent with clients, which is harmful to business.
For more on veterans and their success and tips regarding owning a business, read:
Veterans Show Force as Business Owners
How the U.S. Air Force Helped Me Succeed as an Entrepreneur
How the Military Prepared Me to Run a Small Business
How the Navy Helped Me Start a Greeting Card Company