Former Navy SEAL teams up with former Under Armour execs to found new denim brand, Revtown

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Revtown

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Revtown, a new denim brand, today launched its first collection of hand-crafted, premium jeans at revtownusa.com. Revtown Jeans are built with DECADE DENIM™, the brand’s patented fabric that is infused with four-way, dynamic stretch, and constructed with the strongest fibers in apparel design today.

“We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Revtown,” said Henry Stafford, Founder and CEO of Revtown. “With Decade Denim, we’ve created a level comfort, fit and feel that hasn’t been experienced in a pair of jeans. And we’re proud to deliver our jeans directly to the consumer for less than half the price of a typical pair of designer jeans.”

This first Revtown collection is designed for men. A women’s collection is in design for next year.

Revtown was founded by a group with extensive experience in the apparel world. Stafford and Steve Battista, Revtown’s Chief Marketing Officer, worked together for nearly a decade at Under Armour as leaders of product, and brand, respectively. Stafford was chief merchandising officer at American Eagle Outfitters before spending more than six years at Under Armour, overseeing product and all of the company’s North American business. Battista served as Under Armour’s head of brand and creative, among other leadership roles over 17 years.

The company’s founders also include Matthew Maasdam and Chris Lust. Maasdam, Revtown’s Chief Digital Officer, served 14 years as a Navy SEAL and later as the U.S. Navy’s aide to the President of the United States, before running e-commerce Operations for Under Armour. Chris Lust, founder and partner of Dock Street Capital Management and SLC Capital Management, will serve as Revtown’s CFO.

The Revtown product team boasts some of the top designers and engineers from the most innovative athletic apparel brands today, complemented by a denim manufacturing team that has made over 150 million pairs of jeans, with a combined 100 years of denim production experience.

Revtown Jeans come in two fits styles, SHARP and AUTOMATIC. Sharp jeans are fitted with a refined look, more dress than casual, yet with the flex of DECADE DENIM™. Automatic jeans are for “any guy, any time, any place.” Automatic jeans are designed to be mobile, not baggy, providing ultimate comfort without having to size up.

Revtown also offers Revtown Shirts, made from world-class Pima cotton. Revtown Shirts come in four essential styles, including Crew, V-Neck, Henley and Polo. Also available as Revtown launches are Revtown Crates, offering two pairs of jeans and any three shirts for just $210.

For your perfect pair of jeans, visit www.revtownusa.com.

About Revtown:
Launched in 2018, Revtown is a new denim brand delivering “Ridiculous Quality, & Unbelievable Fit for Half the Price.” The Brand’s signature fabric is DECADE DENIM™, constructed with a stretch yarn that provides all-over stretch and supreme comfort in a proper pair of jeans. Revtown’s headquarters are in Pittsburgh, Pa. – revtownusa.com.

Charles Payne Hosts a FOX Business Network Special: Proud American from the Military to Marketplace

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Fox Business news commentators pictured together in four video shots with ticker tape running across the bottom highlighting military transition

Today on FOX Business Network, Air Force veteran Charles Payne hosted a special on military members rejoining the workforce following their service.

Making Money with Charles Payne: Proud American from Military to Marketplace highlighted the stories of the below veterans and answered viewer submitted questions on how veterans can transition back into the workforce.

In addition, Payne, along with his panelists, discussed the best ways for vets to improve their resumes, investment strategies and jobs to target.

Charles Payne on the goal of the special:
“Today we salute try to give back to those who served our nation volunteering potentially to make the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of our freedom. There are many reasons people join the military. To serve and protect for some, to expand their horizons. Others see greater purpose beyond their own individuality. And then there is tradition, no matter the reason it is honor that brings out the best. These warriors through hard grit and determination are tapping into unlocking intellectual curiosity and capacity, finding and testing emotional limits. I knew I would join the military, I spent half my life growing up on army bases, including escaping a dangerous environment to help my family. At 17 years old I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. After my training in Lakeland Air Force Base in Texas, I was assigned to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. I took college courses and I began to read everything. I went to Guam, got married had my first child. Going back to civilian life was exciting and frightening as well. I was prepared to fight for my country, now I would have to fight a different battle. This is the battle all vets understand especially those who have seen combat … My goal on today’s show to up lift and place those vets on a pedestal where they belong, as well as sharing them the ways to reach their potential outside of the military.”

Charles Payne’s thank you to veterans:
“As a veteran I want to salute all of the men and women that have served that are serving now , and have served this nation’s military, especially my own father. A special thank you to those that support our vets, and I want everyone to remember, we’re all in this fight together we are all brothers and sisters, and at the end of the day, we’re all Americans. Let’s stop all of the nonsense, let’s remember how we got here and how we’re going to stay here , because we’re the greatest country in the world for one reason. Remember, freedom isn’t free. God bless.”

Former Staff Sgt. and FOX Nation Host Joey Jones on his transition from military to the marketplace:
“When you take bombs apart, your job is to figure out a puzzle. You look at a puzzle, you take it apart. For me when I got injured that was the problem at hand how would I go from someone with no legs to someone could provide for his family. I looked at college, I went to school, that was the opportunity in front of me. They brought me to Walter Reed, That is where I went. I had no clue where I went after that. After I went to school, I volunteered for non-profits, they said how did you get on Fox News, speaking for crowds? I did it for free as long as I could until someone paid me for it. You lay the groundwork, find your passion, invest everything you have into it. It became a career. You can orient yourself toward that. The big thing for veterans to understand, look simply for something that has a mission you can believe in.”

Former combat helicopter pilot Amber Smith on her transition from military to the marketplace:
“I served in the army as a helicopter pilot in the 101st airborne division, Screaming Eagles. Very proud to do that. I serve combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I came home I decided to transition out once my service commitment was up. Like some other veterans who wonder what am I going to do when I get out? What do I want to be when I go up as so many people say? I really didn’t know. I assumed I wanted to stay within the aviation track. So that is the path I went. I applied for a couple helicopter jobs, made it all the way through it. … And so I would say to veterans, get out of your comfort zone. If you want to transition from something that you did in the military, maybe you want to start a different track, find a way to do that. Using your G.I. Bill is an excellent way to do that.”

Congressional Candidate Wendell Hunt on his transition from the military to the private sector:
“There are three West Point graduates in my immediate family. Service is something near and dear in our hearts. We had to deal with the transition not only as individuals, but as a family. Upon completion of my time in the military, I went on the to fly the Apache helicopter, did two tours in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. … From there, I went on to the private sector, in the mortgage business. Then the home building business and then now I’m running for United States congress again. This is the story of the American soldier. We always find a way. As was just stated we have to find ways to ourselves, that have meaning to you, that marry your sacrifice in the military.”

Joey Jones responding to a viewer question on stereotypes when hiring veterans:
“Most veterans are the best followers you have that lead by example. A lot of times, when I hear Amazon hiring 100,000 vets I retract a little bit, what I don’t want to see someone hired just because they’re a veteran. Put someone in a job they either are qualified for or can be qualified for. The stereotypes are a part of that. If you believe soldiers you don’t understand veterans, the stereotype goes both ways. Employers need to educate themselves as to who these people are, what their experience is and what they’re good at.”

Charles Payne on investment strategies for veterans:
“Listen, we’re living longer. I think people can be aggressive longer. With that in mind, in terms of personal things, You may have responsibilities that curb your risk. Your health condition may curb your risk. The time you have allocated to do it the right way. I want everyone to invest in the market.”

Watch the videos at:

https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6264617010001

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6264618166001

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6264621280001

1 Brilliant Leadership Lesson Every Boss — and Every Employee — Can Learn from Tom Brady

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Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady (12) of the Buccaneers hoists the Lombardi Trophy after the Super Bowl LV game

By Jeff Haden

A year after he retired from the NFL, Hall-of-Fame-in-waiting tight end Rob Gronkowski answered his phone. “[Tom Brady] hit me up and was like, ‘Would you come down?’ And I was like, ‘I’ve been waiting for you. I’ve been waiting for you to make a move.'”

Three years after the Jacksonville Jaguars made him the fourth pick in the NFL draft, running back Leonard Fournette found himself without a job. “The first guy that hit me when it happened was Tom,” Fournette says. “I’ve [known] Tom and Tom hit me like, ‘Man, I would love for you to come help us out.'”

Photo Caption: Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady (12) of the Buccaneers hoists the Lombardi Trophy after the Super Bowl LV game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on February 7, 2021 in Tampa, FL. Photo Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.

After a tumultuous (to put it mildly) 2019 season that left him out of a job, wide receiver Antonio Brown joined Tampa Bay in mid-season after serving an eight-game suspension. Why take a chance on a perceived “me first” instead of “team first” player? Brady wanted him. (So much so that Brown moved into Brady’s Tampa home.)

Fast-forward a few months to the Super Bowl. Gronkowski caught six passes, two for touchdowns. Fournette ran for 89 yards on 16 carries, including a 27-yard touchdown run. Antonio Brown caught five passes for 22 yards and a touchdown.

None of them played for the Buccaneers a year ago.

All were recruited by Brady after he joined the team.

Be a Leader Who Recruits

The average leader only thinks about recruiting and hiring great people when they have an opening.

The vast majority of their time is spent developing the people they have. Building a great culture. Building stronger teams. Improving individual performance. Achieving results.

All of which makes sense.

Great leaders go a step further. Great leaders aren’t satisfied with what they “have.” Great leaders also work to identify and recruit talented people.

Brady knew Gronkowski had more in the tank. Brady knew Fournette was a punishing, physical runner who would add a different aspect to the Bucs’ ground game as well as much-needed depth. Brady knew that his on-field connection with Brown could flourish, especially if he spent time building their off-field relationship.

That doesn’t mean Brady thought poorly of his existing Tampa Bay teammates; after all, he chose to join that organization because he felt it gave him the best chance to return to a Super Bowl.

But he also knew that attrition is a fact of life in the NFL.

Just like it is in business: While employees may not get injured, they do often leave. (The average person changes jobs between 10 and 15 times over their career.)

No matter how great your current team, someday, someone will leave. Several someones will leave.

Instead of waiting until that happens, think ahead. Spend a little time each week looking for great people to add to your team. Make connections. Take notes. Stay in touch with people you may want to hire down the road.

Instead of putting together a list of potential candidates to replace Alicia when she gets promoted or moves on, have a list of your own ready.

Start looking now — before you have a need.

Then, spend the rest of your time developing the people you currently lead. Best case, you’ll never have to pull out your list.

But if you do need it…you’ll be ready.

And Hire Leaders Who Recruit

A friend who owns a 4,000-employee manufacturing business applies an unusual filter to job candidates.

“By the time you’re on your third or fourth job,” he says, “if a person you worked for hasn’t recruited you to work with them at their new job, that’s a bit of a red flag.”

To him, that means the candidate hasn’t built solid professional relationships. It means the candidate hasn’t developed a level of reliability and trust that causes someone to say, “If I want to succeed at my new job, I need to bring her with me.”

On the flip side, that means the individual doing the recruiting needs to be the kind of leader, and the kind of person, that people want to team up with.

Gronk, Fournette and Brown were clearly the kind of players Brady wanted to play alongside. Brady is clearly the kind of athlete — and leader — they wanted to play alongside.

Success attracts success. Great people want to work with great people.

You may not be Tom Brady. (I’m certainly not.)

But you can start identifying great talent now — before you have a need. And you can make sure they’re the kind of people that others would want to follow. Even if you don’t need them to bring talented people along, the fact that great people would speaks volumes.

Then make sure you’re the kind of leader, and person, that great people want to work with.

Because it all starts with you.

Jeff Haden is a keynote speaker, ghostwriter, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc. and the author of “The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.”

@jeff_haden

Launching a Business? How to Start Smart

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Pretty business owner putting up her open sign

Paradoxically, in the middle of a pandemic and a tough economy, business startups are on the rise. Axios reports that Americans applied for new Employer Identification Numbers (EINs)—tax IDs for businesses—in record numbers last summer.  And we’re not talking about gig economy businesses – this is about the formation of companies that intend to hire employees.

Whether because it’s still challenging to find a job in the current environment, today’s affordable advanced technologies or that most people are working from home – starting a business is easier and less costly.

But before you leap into business ownership, there are some things you should know. I asked Ingrid Vanderveldt, a serial entrepreneur and founder of EBW and the SHEconomy Project, to share what she wished she knew before starting her businesses.

Here are five lessons she learned:

  • Protect your time. We all know entrepreneurs wear many hats. It’s easy to get pulled in multiple directions and spend your time and energy in the wrong ways. Over the years, I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it, take time for myself, and delegate by putting the right team in place to ensure I can focus on my job of running the business.
  • Enjoy the process of uncovering your unique talents. We all have preconceived notions of what success looks like based on examples of other successful leaders. But don’t try to be anything you’re not. Sure, there are times when you have to tailor your communication style to appeal to specific audiences, but don’t risk losing your authentic self in the process. Authenticity is what makes people want to join you on your entrepreneurial journey.
  • Mistakes are going to happen.If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not innovating. Mistakes are part of the startup process. The key to overcoming mistakes is to address them head-on as soon as they arrive, communicate with whoever needs to be in the loop, develop a strategy to solve the challenge, and most importantly, learn from it.
  • Your business will evolve, and you must too.With growth comes change, and that change won’t always be comfortable. Sometimes the most amazing people you’ve worked with in the past won’t be as amazing working for your business. I’ve had the privilege to work with so many great people over my entrepreneurial journey – people who supported my mission and who I then felt indebted to. Referring back to the importance of protecting my time, learning to make tough personnel decisions has allowed me to focus my time on what matters to me most—my family, my friends and growing my business.
  • Be a student of your craft.You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s essential to understand both the science and the art of entrepreneurship. When I was the entrepreneur-in-residence at Dell, my team and I started a $125 million credit fund designed for entrepreneurs looking to scale. Shockingly, no women applied for the capital! We learned that it was because they didn’t understand how debt capital worked. My advice – always be a student, continue to read, learn, and understand your options.

If you want to get an idea of today’s hottest businesses and market trends, take a look at the webinar I did for SCORE earlier this year. Despite current market conditions, there are many opportunities out there for all types of startups, in both the B2C and B2B fields.

And, of course, SCORE can help. To help guide you, check in with your SCORE mentor and check out the Startup Roadmap. Don’t have a mentor yet? You can find one at score.org.

Source: score.org

Small Business Loans & Grants for Disabled Veterans

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two business people shaking hand during meeting

According to recent statistics, there are almost 17.5 million veterans in the United States. Of these veterans, 4 million of them are suffering from a service-related injury with disability ratings ranging from 10% and above. Meanwhile, there are 13 million who have received disability ratings for non-service-related injuries.

This means the majority of them are suffering from one form of disability or another. That’s why it’s really not surprising, and incredibly critical, that there are a lot of small business loans and grants for disabled veterans in the U.S., especially for those who are thinking of starting a business.

Here are some of them:

Small Business Association Veterans Advantage 7(a) Loan
This is one of the most popular programs that the Small Business Association (or SBA) offers, and for good reason. It offers a low-down payment and more flexible payment options. SBA also offers a counterpart of this loan program for non-veterans, but they will not be able to enjoy the discounted rates and other privileges provided to veterans.

StreetShares Foundation
StreetShares Foundation is an organization that was specifically established to help veteran business owners. They have various loans and financing programs. In fact, they even award grants to veterans who qualify for their reward opportunities annually.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Program
This is technically not a loan or financing program; however, it will still prove to your advantage to apply for it. This government program seeks to assist veteran-owned small businesses by doing business with them in the form of government contracts.

All you need to do is to get your business registered through the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (or OSDBU). This will add your startup to their roster of small businesses to call upon if they found themselves in need of the products and services that you offer.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Small Business Grants
The best thing we love about grants is that you won’t have to repay them anymore. You are not getting this money for free, though. You will be required to follow the terms of the money provided. Not to mention that it can be quite difficult to get approved given the number of applicants each year. va.gov

The Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehab and Employment Ownership Track
Here’s a program that is specifically designed for veterans with disabilities. In fact, you must have a disability that serves as an employment barrier in order to qualify for it. We highly recommend this program, especially for those who have a high disability rating.

Small Business Administration Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business Program
This is closely similar to the OSDBU program wherein qualified businesses will be granted an opportunity to qualify for contracts that can, in turn, reap revenue. The only difference, though, is that these contracts will not strictly come from the government. https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/veteran-assistance-programs#section-header-0

Increasing Your Chances
The programs we have listed above are definitely not the only ones that are available out there. There are a lot of government offices, organizations and even companies that offer financing aid to disabled veterans. The ones that we have featured above are simply the most popular choices, and thus, more easily accessible. However, please feel free to research your options further.

In the meantime, allow us to share with you tips on how to increase your chances of qualifying for any program that you wish:

• Always check the eligibility requirements. Don’t waste your time getting the paperwork ready and waiting for a response. Make sure that you are eligible from the get-go by verifying your eligibility.
• Take care of your business credit history. Most of you are probably researching loans and grants to start your business. This doesn’t mean that existing business owners won’t qualify for these programs anymore. Quite the contrary, it is easier for a small business with an excellent business credit history to get accepted to these programs.
• Stay organized. There is a lot of paperwork required for any loan or grant application. Those with existing businesses already are typically required to present business and personal tax returns for at least the past three years. Other requirements may also include financial statements, business certificates and business plans, among other important documents.
• Find out your exact need. Finally, you should determine where you are going to use your loan or grant money and how much before even thinking of applying to a program. In this way, you will be able to make sure that the program you’re applying for and its benefits will be enough for your needs. It will also come in handy during interviews.
We hope that you have found our information helpful in finding the program that your small business requires to take flight. It is the least we can do in exchange for the service you have provided. Good luck!

Jim Hughes is a content marketer who has significant experience covering technology, finance, economics and business topics for about 3 years. At the moment he works as content manager in OpenCashAdvance.com.

Veterans Launch New Advocacy Organization to Promote American-made Clean Energy Ahead of Earth Day

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Two workers technicians installing heavy solar photo voltaic panels to high steel platform. Exterior solar system installation, alternative renewable green energy generation

(Washington, DC) ––  U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, President and co-Founder of CleanCapital Jon Powers, Mayor Pro Tem of Costa Mesa, California Andrea Marr, and clean energy entrepreneur Kevin Johnson — five veterans of the U.S. Military — recently announced the launch of the Veterans Energy Project. The new organization will work to support veterans and veteran-owned businesses that build and deploy American-made clean energy, and advocate for clean energy investments that create good-paying jobs in American manufacturing on top of the three million that already exist in clean energy.

**EVENT RECORDING HERE**

Speakers and project supporters discussed veteran leadership in the clean energy industry and pending proposals before Congress to invest in clean energy and sustainability technology that can rebuild American manufacturing, create jobs, and fuel an economic recovery for all.

“America’s veterans are leading the way in building and deploying American-made clean energy technology. The President’s plan would double down on their victories to keep our country and our climate safe while securing the jobs of the future. Please join us on this mission through the Veterans Energy Project,” said Ray Mabus, former Secretary of the Navy and Advisory Board Chair of the Veterans Energy Project.

“As a member of Congress I’m often faced with the false choice of clean air or a thriving, growing economy. But the truth is, we don’t have to choose. We can have both and we can do it all while supporting our veterans,” said U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA).

“Our brother and sister veterans take an oath to protect our country that lasts until the day we die. And many of our fellow veterans are drawn to the clean energy industry. Why? Because they’re good paying careers that build on the skills we honed in the military and it helps keep our country safe,” said Patrick Murphy, former Congressman and Under Secretary of the Army.

The U.S. Military is the largest energy consumer in the world, so American veterans have the skills and training that are ideally suited for the clean energy industry and sustainability technology. Already, veterans are building successful businesses and careers in clean energy all over the country. President Biden’s Build Back Better plan would double down on these victories and ensure our country is the world leader in these booming economic sectors.

“What I’m very excited about is what President Biden is putting forward in the Build Back Better plan, because it invests in American-made clean energy and sustainability technology. It’s restoring the backbone of our country and securing our place as a world leader in a booming economic sector,” said Jon Powers, President and co-Founder of CleanCapital. “It’s also really helping to align American manufacturing and jobs.”

“As a veteran, I believe that helping to lead the transition to a clean energy economy is one of the post patriotic things that I can do. It creates jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and combats climate change,” said Andrea Marr, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Costa Mesa, California, and Director of Willdan Energy Solutions.

“As a proud combat veteran, I served overseas in Iraq and saw our dependence on fossil fuels. I had soldiers ask me everyday: what are we doing here? And when are we going home? It really instilled in me the importance to think about what we do in the future in relation to our dependence on fossil fuels, and encouraging me to commit my career to service as a clean energy entrepreneur,” said Kevin Johnson, Clean Energy Entrepreneur and Board Director of the American Resilience Project.

Veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed, small business owners — and the President’s plan empowers all small businesses, especially in the clean energy industry, funding innovation hubs across the country and investing billions in programs that connect small businesses to federal research and development programs.

Visit www.veteransenergyproject.org for more information. 

Veteran Brings No. 1 Home Inspection Franchise to Hometown

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Lori and Dave Starnes closeup wearing blue work uniform

Sometimes you find a business opportunity that fits like a glove. That seems to be the case for Dave and Lori Starnes. The couple recently moved back home to the Adams/Clarksville, TN area from Hawaii and recently launched operations as new franchise owners with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®, the No. 1 home inspection franchise in North America.

Team Starnes Home Inspectors, LLC will serve homebuyers and sellers throughout Clarksville, as well as Hopkinsville, KY, and surrounding areas.

Dave retired from the United States Army after 26 years and had been a high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) instructor in Hawaii. He also ran his own handyman/general contracting business, while Lori was an operations/ property manager for 100 luxury vacation rental properties, in addition to running her own cleaning business. If it’s something related to homes, the couple has a pretty good handle on things, so becoming franchisees with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors was a natural fit. “Dave had been a handyman and general contractor for more than five years and worked directly with realtors in fixing and repairing many of the deficiencies discovered during the home inspection process,” Lori said. “He had a knack for finding and fixing those issues and we decided to join Pillar To Post Home Inspectors in order to provide professional home inspection services for current and future homebuyers throughout Clarksville and the surrounding areas.”

According to Pillar To Post Home Inspectors President and CEO Dan Steward, “We are rolling out some pretty amazing technologies that are now in full swing for all Pillar To Post Home Inspections. One of these is the PTP360 tour.” PTP360 is an interactive, virtual home inspection tour that allows users to revisit a home anytime and anywhere from a smartphone, tablet or desktop and even share the tour with family and friends. “It’s a great new innovation – fast-tracked to completion because of COVID-19 concerns – and we saw just how well it performed,” Steward said. Clients can also receive a measured FloorPlan of the entire home, with measurements to help with furniture fit and placement. “In the long term, PTP360 is a huge help for busy, professional Realtors, saving them time and better serving their seller, while also giving prospective buyers a far better experience,” Steward said.

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors has achieved the highest standings in various rankings of “Best in Category,” “Top 20 Franchises to Buy,” “Top 10 Global Franchises” and “Top Franchises for Veterans” in addition to achieving 5-Star status with VetFran, a program offered by the International Franchise Association that provides discounted franchise fees to veterans. A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

Dave and Lori have two adult children who followed their father’s footsteps into the Army and their son, Russ, will be joining his parents in their business in the near future. In the meantime, Dave and Lori are looking forward to the new year and the newest chapter in their life. “We chose Pillar To Post Home Inspectors because we felt the support and technical advances were superior to other options we considered,” said Lori. “And we were ready to start our own business to secure our financial independence.”

 

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 9 years in a row and appeared in the ranking for 24 years. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit www.pillartopostfranchise.com.

How Do You Ask for a Professional Favor?

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Business men in smart casual wear shaking hands in office

Just because many of us are now working remotely doesn’t mean staying connected becomes any less valuable. In fact, we all might need a little bit more human connection these days.

When you’re alone with yourself (as most of us have been recently), it’s easy to see the value of community and why building a professional network is important. No one can think of everything, and a strong professional network can bring new ideas to the table — along with different perspectives, personal and professional advice, and emotional support.

Once entrepreneurs recognize the value of professional networks and learn how to start networking, the next hurdle is often how to ask for a favor professionally. We all know the feeling: a lump grows in your throat, your tongue suddenly ties, and you can just feel the flop sweats coming on.

Before you tuck your tail and abandon the request altogether, remember that overcoming that fear is essential to benefiting from your professional connections. It’s important to build mutually beneficial relationships with your network to help one another fuel your successes.

Finding the right words to ask for a favor isn’t always easy. Even as an experienced entrepreneur, I still get nervous from time to time and feel my confidence shaken. But through the years, I’ve found that asking for favors professionally really boils down to four simple rules:

  1. Be Direct

Remember, a lot of people do like to be helpful and appreciate the opportunity to assist others. Instead of assuming your connection won’t want to help you and floundering nervously on small talk to start the conversation, be direct. Just say this: “I was hoping you could help me out.”

Framing it directly and positively from the get-go will lower the risk of seeming like you’re just trying to get something out of your connection. What’s more, getting to the point quickly is much more efficient, and your connection will value your respect for their time.

  1. Be Complimentary

Think about why you are going to this person specifically for a favor. Do you like their ideas? Do they tend to have a unique perspective? Whatever the answer, let your connection know why you’re coming to them. Offering a compliment isn’t just considerate. It’s good etiquette when asking for a favor professionally. Sharing the reasons why this person is essential to whatever it is you’re asking makes it about more than just what they can do for you.

  1. Ask Ahead of Time

If you’re asking someone to go out of their way to help you, the last thing you want to do is rush them. Waiting until the very last minute is likely to make you appear unprepared and disorganized.

Instead, ask for what you need as soon as you know you need it. Having months to deliver a favor is a lot less stressful than having mere days or hours, and you want to make your request as easy as possible to fulfill.

  1. Show Your Gratitude. 

You don’t want to develop a reputation as someone who takes but never gives. Asking for a favor should never feel like you’re trying to pick someone’s pocket. You should always be prepared to reciprocate.

Even if your connection doesn’t ask for a favor directly in return, be on the lookout for ways you can help out. Can you cover them in a meeting when they have a conflict? Can you take anything off their plate when they’re having a busy day? Even simple actions such as bringing them coffee or treating them to lunch can show your gratitude and willingness to help out in the future.

The most successful professional relationships are win-win, and that means both parties benefit from each other. That’s why an essential step in networking is learning how to ask for a favor professionally. Especially for entrepreneurs just starting out, asking your connections for help can pave your path to success. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors from your professional networks — just be sure to demonstrate respect and gratitude when you do.

Source: score.org

Five Tips for Women Veteran Entrepreneurs

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business woman leaning towards table with her hand extended on keyboard interested in an open laptop

By Natalie Rodgers

Transitioning from the military field into a new line of work can be difficult for any veteran, but this problem seems to be especially prevalent for women looking to transition into business ownership.

Veteran Airforce pilots and current business owners, Chassity Jackson and Patricia Frame, recently took part in a CNBC hosted seminar to discuss their best tips for women veterans looking to start their own businesses.

Here are five tips for aspiring women veteran entrepreneurs:

Know Your Industry

Of the millions of small businesses in the United States, it can be difficult to make your work stand out. Study the competition and decide what you would like to bring to the table. What will your company be bringing to the table that is different than everything else? What are the consumers of your product looking for and what are some typical frustrations they come across when they are trying to obtain it? Once you understand how your business fits into the industry, keep up on the latest news with competitors and customers to ensure you are fulfilling industry demands.

Networking is Key

Connect with other business owners, especially ones who are experienced in the field and can help mentor you through this new journey. Attending business conferences and networking events have always been a standard way to make these connections, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these conferences have switched to online platforms for business owners to easily utilize and converse through. LinkedIn is also a great source for networking. Make sure your profile is up to date to seem as presentable and professional as possible to new connections.

Know Your Audience

When a business is first starting out, its crucial to understand who the target audience is for the project. Start off by testing a select number of products to your customers and observe what sells and what doesn’t do as well. As you get to know your clientele, it will be easier to figure out how to best allocate your resources and where to put your money to receive the most profit.

Have the Funds

Once you have a business plan, you want to make sure that your business is going to be properly funded. Though many have used their own source of income to help get their company off the ground, there are a number resources that that veterans can utilize to get started. One of the most well-known ways is through the U.S. Small Business Administration, which provides low cost loans to veterans, military personnel, and their families.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that veterans will just be given money because of their status–a misconception that has been believed by many current and former military personnel in the past. Raising money through pitching competitions and crowd funding campaigns are other significant ways that you can allocate the proper funds you need for your business.

Be Willing to Change

In the midst of COVID-19, companies are preparing now more than ever for unprecedented circumstances their business may face. Many businesses have closed due to repercussions from the pandemic and you don’t want yours to be one of them. Make sure you have a back-up plan should something drastic happen to your everyday routine. How will you continue to provide your products to customers if a lockdown occurs? Can you utilize the internet to help your customers in times of need?

It’s also critical to make sure that you have a cushion to fall back on should a situation arise. Put some of your profits aside as often as you can to create a money reserve to fall back, just in case.

Source: CNBC

Military Veteran Uses Experience and Corporate Background to Run His New Mobile Business

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The way Jason Colon sees things, his background provided him the perfect combination of skills to become a small business owner.

It all came to fruition this past December when the 46-year-old Rocky Mount resident became a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International of Winterville serves customers throughout East Raleigh, Knightdale, Wilson, Rocky Mount, Greenville and surrounding areas.

Colon spent 21 years in the United States Air Force before retiring from active duty. He didn’t skip a beat, transitioning into a corporate career where he spent almost six combined years in operations working for two global corporations, both providers of technology and manufacturing services worldwide. “I think each of the career paths provided a different set of tools to prepare me for being part of the Floor Coverings International family,” Colon said. “My time in the military prepared me to run process and support people. And my time in Corporate America provided the customer experience education and tools, while also giving me the ability to realize my various skill sets and bring them all together to be a successful small-business owner.”

In Floor Coverings International, Colon found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. For this, Floor Coverings International was given the Innovation Award for Customer Response from Franchise Update Media, the benchmark publication and conference entity that is the Gold Standard of Franchising.

“I wanted to have more control of what happens to my future and Floor Coverings International gives me that opportunity,” Colon said. “When COVID-19 struck, it wiped out the aviation industry and jobs were not plentiful. Getting on board with Floor Coverings International was the best path for me.”

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Norcross, GA-based Floor Coverings International has been ranked consistently as the No. 1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America by Entrepreneur Magazine. The 142 franchisees and their Design Associates offer a unique in-home experience with a mobile showroom that comes directly to the client’s door. More than 3,000 flooring choices are available to view in the home with and alongside existing lighting, paint, and furniture. The company will open several more locations throughout the U.S. and Canada through franchise expansion in 2021.

For franchise information, please visit opportunities.flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location go to floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Marines, rejoice: Someone made crayons that are actually meant to be eaten

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cartoon image of solder in uniform sqatting down with crayon in hand

Marine veteran has spent the last several years trying to turn a joke at the Corps’ expense into a successful business, and it looks like he’s nearly there with Crayons Ready to Eat. Created by Frank Manteau and Cassandra Gordon, Crayons Ready to Eat are not only edible, but writable chocolate crayons that come in a range of colors — though unlike those actual little color spears and waxy-practice-pencils, these have a triangular shape, and that’s by design.

“It’s so they don’t roll off a table,” Manteau said, and so “parents, [noncommissioned officers] and [staff noncommissioned officers] can say ‘this is okay to eat because of its shape,’ and ‘this one is not okay to eat.’”

They also come in packaging modeled after the military’s Meals Ready to Eat, hence the name Crayons Ready to Eat — and yes, a lot of this humor is on the nose, but considering that 90 percent of those reading this story will be Marines, I wanted to break it down Barney Style for my fellow ‘crayon eaters.’

Now, if you’re a little confused on some, or all of the above, and find yourself wondering: What does eating crayons — something you expect from a young child without adult supervision — have to do with being a Marine? Well, you’re not alone. Manteau was a bit lost back in 2017 when he learned that Marines had added ‘crayon eaters’ to an already long list of nicknames.

“When I was in the Marine Corps we were not crayon eaters,” said Manteau, a former infantryman who served from 1995 until 2002. “We were not crayon eaters,” he said again, just for emphasis. “We were jarheads, grunts, ground pounders, bullet sponges.”

The term, its mocking tone, and its origins piqued his curiosity, so he started to ask around “Where did this come from?” he wondered, but nobody knew.

“I could not figure out how we became crayon eaters,” he said. And while there were plenty of memes, and even a few videos that referenced, or fully embraced the “Marines are dumb and eat crayons” joke, none of it explained how that came to be. Instead, he simply accepted it as the new normal for Marines; So long ‘Devil Dogs,’ we’re ‘crayon eaters’ now.

So Manteau accepted the joke and wore it like a badge of honor “in true Marine Corps fashion,” he said. “We embrace every joke that comes at our expense and we will make it our own. We will laugh with you, not be laughed at by you.”

Manteau is right after all: ‘Leatherneck’ and ‘Devil Dog’ are hardly laudatory nicknames; one is a reference to an uncomfortable uniform item that Marines long ago had to wear; the other, according to Marine Corps lore, was bestowed on World War I Marines by horrified German soldiers. And let’s not forget ‘jarhead’ which was most definitely meant to be an insult, but instead had to settle for being the third-best nickname.

As for how a joke about being in the Marine Corps is a lot like being in kindergarten segued into an idea for a business, well, that’s another matter. (Now, it’s worth noting that there have been other Marines who tried to turn the ‘crayon eater’ trope into a business, or at least a product, like the Marine vet who created edible crayons through her company, Okashi Sweets, though the venture appears to have been short-lived as the link to the site is now broken.)

Manteau, a carpenter by trade, said the idea began to take shape while he was working on an art project, and just so happened to find himself drawing on a piece of wood near a box of crayons. Without thinking, as he reached for a different color crayon, he put the one he was using in his mouth and began to chew.

“And then it hit me: Maybe there is something to people chewing on crayons,” he said. Naturally, the next thought was: Okay, so how do you make a crayon that’s meant to be gnawed upon?

Immediately, Manteau called up Cassanda Gordon, a former colleague and pastry chef.

“Can you make chocolate writable?” he asked. “She said ‘yes,’ and that’s all I needed to hear,” Manteau said.

By September 2017 she’d developed a working model for edible and writable crayons.

Read the complete article on Task & Purpose here.

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