Getting your community behind your franchise business would be an awesome win/win/win proposition.
Great for the community because it generates economic activity; great for a Veteran because it can help families reintegrate back into the community faster and great for new Veteran owned franchise because the whole process can offer business exposure and access to relationship that can accelerate local Veteran success stories.
Normally a few of typical ways to garner community support would be to join the local Chamber of Commerce or maybe service organizations like the Rotary, Lions or a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) such as the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars. These are all great networking opportunities but they have to be tackled one at a time and time is a precious commodity for any business. In an age of multi-tasking and the speed of social media a new Veteran entrepreneur needs to develop relationships quickly that can quickly enhance a Veteran business and Veteran family life as well.
There’s a new networking opportunity which is evolving as I write this article. It’s called MyVA and represents a dramatic new reorganization effort for the Veterans Administration across the country. And it looks very promising for Veterans and Communities alike. It’s not about entitlements; it’s about community leaders taking a very serious approach to help Veteran families. The MyVA effort is about shifting traditional command and control systems within VA to collaborations and partnerships at the local and regional level. It’s about using the entire local institutional infrastructure to deliver real results to Veterans in a holistic fashion. Essentially the model is intended to balance veteran resources and the communication processes surrounding them. The model is also very inclusive of many business facets and relationships in local markets. From the local financial network to marketing franchise products and services for corporate procurement opportunities; from local mentoring relationships to shaping Veterans leadership opportunities in business. MyVA will be all about relationships!
Basically MyVA is organic and can provide a Veteran the opportunity to get in the same room with dozens of local institutional players, including business actors, that are all focused on helping Veterans with a new customized approach for the local market. The VA is just one of the players in their 5 new MyVA regions. The rules, the mixing and matching of resources flow in a horizontal rather that a top down fashion. So how does a Veteran entrepreneur leverage this new MyVA network model for marketing exposure and key business relationships to advance a business quickly? It’s not about being a huckster in the network. It’s about helping MyVA succeed and build real relationships in many facets of Veteran life in the community. Helping fellow Veterans through MyVA might be the best strategic activity for building your own business and helping Veterans too. Let’s hope so.
The Old Way vs The New Way
The MyVA model has already advanced to point where there over 37 regional MyVA Boards which facilitate local Veteran support networks that include a wide swath of key local leaders. There’s nothing new about available resources, what’s new here is about how they will be coordinated All Veteran business owners will be welcome even so go get involved. For more information on MyVA, visit www.veteranscorp.org/connections/#articles-publications.
And if you’re building a franchise business with resources provided by the VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE) program, invite your VA Counselor along to a Board meeting and show him/her how MyVA can enhance the feasibility of your self-employment plan.
Finally, if you already have a VA certification such as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), when go to a local Board meeting make sure you wear your VA SDVOSB emblem which many view as the gold standard for certification in both the Government and Corporate marketplace. Let the Board and participants know what it means.
Just get involved with MyVA, the investment of your time will help you and your community as well.
VBS Founder and Managing Director, Jim Mingey, is a decorated Vietnam veteran raised from a proud military background. An entrepreneur for more than 35 years, Jim can relate on a personal level to the needs of the veteran small businessperson, and possesses the practical knowledge to implement his experience in today’s market. Jim participated in the EBV Program at Purdue University, is a mentor at American Corporate Partners, developed the first approved franchise training program for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program at Veterans Administration, and was instrumental in forming the first equity fund in the United States exclusively for veteran owned small businesses and franchises: The Veterans Opportunity Fund. Jim intends to keep on ‘advocating’ for veterans in franchising.