Perhaps you’ve recently found out that you’ll be going on a business trip soon - but this time, you won’t be accompanied by your team. Instead, you’ll be heading out on the road alone. If you’re feeling anxious about this trip, making a plan in advance can help soothe your nerves.
With a little help from the tips below, you’ll have no trouble navigating your destination town or city and making the most of your journey. The National Veterans Chamber explains how to tackle a solo work trip.
Outline Your Budget Whether you're forking out the dough to cover the trip or your client is, you need a budget. If your client is covering the costs, they may provide for your flights and hotel accommodations, and chances are, they will give you a stipend for meals, too. But you’ll probably have to pay for any extra activities that you want to do, and you may also have to cover transportation costs around the area after you arrive. Make sure to account for these costs in your trip budget, as you will not be able to split expenses with a traveling companion after you arrive.
Create Your Itinerary Now that you know how much you can spend, it’s time to finalize your itinerary! If you’re traveling for business, you’ll inevitably have certain time commitments already, like meetings, trade shows, or lunches with clients. Are there any local attractions you want to visit? Did you want to do some hiking during your trip? Is there a particular restaurant you want to try? Find some open space in your itinerary to slot these activities in. The Culture Trip recommends making reservations for any high-priority activities before you arrive.
Some activities may not include business matters at all. If you are a solopreneur who has embraced a nomadic lifestyle, and if you're one of the many struck with wanderlust, there are numerous tools and services to empower you. If glamor and slots are calling you, for instance, hire help while you're trying your luck in Vegas. You can use an alternative to a Las Vegas staffing agency to find talent that specialize in most all areas of work. A quality online job portal can assist you with everything from sourcing pros and providing areas of expertise and fee ranges all the way to setting up the interview.
Packing Tortuga notes that it’s best to put some extra thought into your packing list when you’re traveling solo, because you won’t be able to borrow items from a friend if you forget anything. Write down all the clothing, technology, toiletries, and other items you’ll need, and create a detailed list. You’ll want to make sure that you can carry your necessary belongings around town easily once you arrive.
Stay Safe As a solo traveler, you might have some concerns about staying safe on your trip. Female solo travelers often feel especially worried about their safety. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to alleviate your anxieties. For instance, you can avoid booking a hotel room on the ground floor, and request a room far from the elevator. You can also double-check that your luggage is locked before you leave your room. Finally, when you’re spending time in your hotel room, make sure to use the deadbolt for additional security.
Stick to a Routine When you’re on a business trip, Fast Company points out the importance of keeping yourself on a routine. You don’t want to miss any important tasks, and you want to feel your best as you tackle your to-do list. In order to stick with a healthy routine while you travel, Women’s Health recommends making an effort to adjust to the local time zone in your destination as soon as you arrive, choosing healthy meals with lots of fruits and veggies whenever possible, and working out at the hotel gym.
If you’ve never been on a trip by yourself before, it’s perfectly normal to feel nervous before heading out on your first solo venture. But soon enough, you’ll see that solo travel has plenty of perks! This includes even outsourcing your work for a time while you enjoy a little R&R or entertainment at new locales. With these tips, you can make the most of your work trip on your own and come back to your desk feeling accomplished.
The National Veterans Chamber promotes collaboration and supports innovative ideas that will address military/veteran challenges faced during pre- and post-transition. Contact us today for more info! email@example.com
The Complete Home Saving Guide For Veterans Owning a home is a big dream for many people, but the homebuying process often deters potential homeowners from going through with a purchase. If you’re a veteran, look into securing a home loan through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA makes purchasing a home easier and more accessible for veterans of all ages. However, there are a few critical parts of the process that can help you ensure you’re leveraging all the benefits available to you as a veteran. There are also important incentives to capitalize on so you can easily buy the home of your dreams. But before you start browsing the ‘for sale’ section on your favorite real estate websites, it’s essential to know the ins and outs of the home buying process. You’ll need to know how to apply for a VA loan, which benefits you’re eligible for, and how to complete your real estate purchase. From state-specific veterans benefits to loan applications and having a home inspection done to ensure your new home is in good condition, this guide will give you the details that you need to make sure you’re saving money at all stages of the home buying process.
All about VA loansCurious about VA loans? Veterans Affairs loans are a fantastic option for military veterans who are trying to get into the real estate market. Still, in many cases, these loans are underutilized by veterans. Studies show that 24% of qualified homeowners don’t use their VA loan benefits. Similar to a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, a VA loan is backed by the federal government but issued by a private lender. VA loans offer many benefits, from easier qualifications to lower interest rates. VA loans are open to nearly all veterans — all you need to do is ask your lender. VA loan benefitsThe advantages of a VA loan start with lower interest rates and streamlined refinancing options, and the benefits continue for years after you purchase your home. No down payment requiredSaving for a down payment is arguably one of the largest barriers for those trying to get into the real estate market. With home prices rising disproportionately to income, saving for a down payment while paying regular expenses is more difficult than ever. VA loans allow veterans to purchase a home with no down payment, which significantly lowers some of the hurdles to home ownership. Low credit score acceptedA low credit score is one reason applicants are sometimes denied a mortgage. As anyone stuck in a bad credit cycle knows, it often takes good credit to be approved for the things that help you build good credit. By accepting lower credit scores, VA loans ease this requirement for veterans. No private mortgage insuranceUp to 20 percent of a VA loan is backed by the federal government, so applicants are not required for private mortgage insurance approval. Home buying is a complicated process full of various approval levels and applications, so removing the PMI requirement is a big step toward making the process easier for veterans. Low interest ratesHigh interest rates contribute to the difficulties that some people run into when applying for home loans. VA loans don’t subject veterans to the same interest rates as most other loans, which provides a more forgiving loan repayment process.
Easy to refinance There are often hurdles to refinancing, but with a VA loan, the hurdles are significantly lessened. Along the way, you might find that you want to refinance to consolidate debt or leverage your home’s equity. With a VA loan, it’ll be easier to make those changes to your loan than with a traditional mortgage.
How the VA loan works
Get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA.
Find a VA lender in your area and provide your COE (note: you can work with your lender without your COE, but you’ll need it before you close)
Work with your lender to get prequalified so you have an estimate on how much you can afford to pay for a house.
Get your pre approval letter from your lender.
Put an offer on your house.
Go through the VA for appraisal and underwriting.
Close to your house.
What to know before using the VA loan The VA loan is a great option for most veterans, but it does not apply to every home purchase or situation. Here’s what you need to remember before you shop: ● VA loans are generally designed for “move-in ready” homes, not fixer-uppers ● VA loans can only be used for your primary residence, not a rental or vacation property ● You can reuse the VA loan in the future ● The VA doesn’t actually issue your loan, it’s actually the government financially backing you as a mortgage applicant ● If it’s your first time buying a home with the VA loan with full entitlement, there’s no limit to how much you can borrow (except what a lender will approve you for)
The VA loan in 2022In 2022, the VA loan saw a significant change. While it’s still true that 2019 legislation essentially wiped out VA loan limits, there are still some limitations for certain circumstances. For veterans holding more than one VA mortgage at a time or those who have defaulted on a prior VA loan, or those with diminished entitlement, limits still apply. Those limits increased substantially in 2022 as a result of skyrocketing home prices. VA loan limits for those in unique circumstances increased by 18.05% in 2022 to assist veterans in an increasingly competitive market. Down Payments, Entitlements, and Loan CostsEntitlements and loan costs are two important factors to keep track of as you enter into the home buying process because they could save you money down the road. Read on to learn more about entitlements and other loan costs.
Entitlements & Down Payments. Veterans who qualify for a VA loan have what’s known as a loan entitlement. This is the dollar amount that the VA promises to pay back to your lender if you default on your home loan. An entitlement is not the same as a down payment. However, that entitlement can cover your down payment. For veterans buying their first home with the VA loan who have full entitlement, this typically means they do not have to pay a down payment since the VA promises to cover 25% of the loan amount if you default. Bonus entitlementIf you have full entitlement and are purchasing a second residence, there are limits to how much of the loan the VA will guarantee. To calculate how much entitlement you are qualified for, you’ll need to use your current entitlement amount and your intended home purchase price in some quick math. One-time loan costsTo offset the cost of the VA loan to taxpayers, veterans are required to pay a one-time funding fee. The amount of this fee varies between 0.5 – 3.6% based on a variety of factors but is typically 2.3%. There are also a few other small one-time loan costs depending on the military position the veteran held. This includes ● Origination fees of up to 1%. Veterans are not allowed to pay more than 1% for origination. ● Appraisal fees ● Title charges ● Discount points to lower your interest rate ● Credit report fees ● Inspection fees
COE and other requirements. When you shop around for a home loan, you’ll find a variety of requirements that you need to meet before you can be approved for a loan. These requirements are in place to ensure that you’re eligible for certain benefits, such as those available through VA loans. Why COE is important and how to get oneCOE documents, also known as Certificate of Eligibility documents, are important as these documents verify your military services and approve your suitability for a VA loan. You can access your COE through the mail or online. There are different requirements that you have to meet depending on your military status or the number of years you served as an active member of the military. For the most part, all of the requirements are similar with very minor differences. Familiarize yourself with the details of your unique situation so you can give all the information that a VA loan application requires.
Mistakes to avoid as a veteran homebuyer Not using a real estate agent specialized in veteran mattersOne of the reasons that VA loans aren’t utilized as much as they could be is because the parties involved in the purchase of a home aren’t aware that this wonderful option exists. It’s a good idea to find a real estate agent who will make sure you’re leveraging all the benefits available to you. Lack of communication with the lenderCommunicating with your lender about your veteran status and inquiring about different programs that you’re eligible for is a key component in making sure you have all of your benefits available to you. Make sure your lending agent knows the details of your veteran status and is aware that there are special avenues open to you.
Spending too much money before the big investment Many first-time homebuyers get excited when their offer is accepted, and they start buying pricey items like home appliances, electronics, and home decor. It’s important to keep a cool head and finalize the home buying process before you start spending on renovations or other purchases. Forgetting about all the upfront costs. While veterans have some great financial advantages available, there are still some expenses you have to take into account. Be prepared to spend money on home inspections and appraisals when they come your way. Taking the time to get familiar with the upfront costs of homebuying sets you up for success.
A VA loan is one of the best ways for veterans to leverage their benefits. From getting into the real estate market and making home buying more accessible to relieving the financial burden of the conventional home loan process, these loans are an excellent resource that veterans won’t want to sleep on. Take advantage of the benefits available to you and capitalize on a VA loan today.
Many retailers extend generous discounts to veterans. Check out these options before paying full price somewhere else.
4 Steps for Starting a Business to Support Senior Caregivers
Caring for a senior loved one is a full-time job. Without the right support, the job can be overwhelming. If you have a passion for providing supportive services to the caregivers of senior citizens, use these four steps presented below by VCCSD.org to launch a business.
1. Decide Which Services To Offer No business can function without good products or services. If you want to open a company that offers support to caregivers, you need to consider which types of services you will offer. Instead of choosing random services that may or may not benefit your target audience, consider the specific needs of caregivers.
One study shows that 22% of caregivers are overwhelmed by their duties. Senior caregivers spend the vast majority of their time with the people they care for. Whether the caregivers are responsible for friends or family members, they usually have little time free to perform basic cleaning duties or cook nutritious meals. They may spend most of their time caring for basic needs and administering medication. This lack of time for self-care also leads to a need for a respite occasionally.
You can best provide support for caregivers by providing services to meet these needs. Having a meal-prep business is a good idea because it helps caregivers make healthy meals with minimal effort. You could offer laundry or cleaning services to help caregivers keep up with household duties. Providing respite care is also a good option so that caregivers have the opportunity to take a break.
Another idea is working as a senior living advisor. You could help senior citizens transition to assisted living. Make sure you provide clients with important information such as pricing, reviews, and payment options. You can also show them how to use websites filled with the info they need to make informed decisions going forward.
2. Create a Business Plan Writing a business plan is an important step for launching any type of company. The document serves as a blueprint for growth and helps you stick to the vision for your business. A well-written business plan details your marketing plan and describes your business structure. It should also identify company people and how you plan to accomplish them. Finally, a business plan should discuss what type of funding you plan to secure. The document will help you establish a company brand and develop a positive reputation so that your business can thrive and support many caregivers.
3. Start Marketing Spreading the word about your business is important. Word-of-mouth marketing is often incredibly effective when you have a small, localized target audience. A social media campaign is also a good way to engage with potential clients. Because businesses that support caregivers often provide specialized services such as feeding, cleaning and doing laundry, it's best to form a personal connection with your clients so that they feel comfortable trusting you for support.
4. Gather Reviews As with any type of business, you must have good reviews and referrals to continue to provide support to caregivers. You can often connect with caregivers by networking at local community events or advertising your services on social media. The more positive reviews you get, the more your company will grow and the better you can support caregivers.
Senior caregivers need support to take care of their loved ones. Starting a business is a great way to provide support to people who dedicate time and energy to taking care of elderly loved ones. Get started by using these tips. Contributed by: Lucy Reed
Guide to Home Ownership for Veterans and Military Families
The Ultimate Guide to Home Ownership for Veterans After working so hard to protect our nation, our country’s veterans deserve to find a nice home where they can be with their families and relax. If you are a veteran who is looking for the perfect house, then we are here to help. At the Veteran’s Chamber, we want every one of our service men and women to find the ideal property that they deserve after doing so much for the world, so we have a list of tips and considerations to make during your house hunt. Get Your Finances in Order In order to obtain a manageable monthly mortgage payment, you will want to put down a decent down payment and to do that, you will want to get your finances in order. Start by looking at your credit report. Look over all of your accounts, and if something looks wrong, then report it to the credit bureau so that it can be corrected. A good credit score is essential because it convinces the lenders that you are a good borrower that can be trusted to pay back your loan.
If you want to be sure about what your monthly payment may look like then go online and look for a mortgage calculator. You can use that calculator to input the total price of a potential home and your down payment, and then you can get a clear picture of your potential monthly payment. If it looks good then move forward.
Find a Home Loan In the case that you still believe that you need help securing a loan, then you have many resources that can come to the rescue. The first stop that you should make is at the Veterans Benefits Administration, where you can find many programs and great loan options that could set you up for success. You can also ask for assistance by contacting one the Veterans Friendly Lenders who partnered with the National Veterans Chamber. These lenders understand and have a passion for helping Veterans.
Invest in a Home Warranty Once you find that perfect house, it is a good idea to have an inspection completed on the home so you can learn about any issues or red flags. Then, if the house meets your standards, then you should research online so you can find and purchase a home warranty.
Even if you are good at basic repairs, it helps to have the safety blanket in the form of a warranty in case there are any costly issues. Typically, a warranty will cover broken appliances and damage to systems within your house, including HVAC, internal plumbing, and ductwork.
It is important to remember that homeowners insurance only covers damage to the structure of your home or belongings if they meet a specific financial threshold, so you will want a warranty to cover the rest.
Consider Using a Storage Locker During the Move Whether you are between homes or you just don’t want to move all of your stuff into your new house until you are settled, then you should consider using a storage locker in the meantime. Storage units come in a variety of sizes and you can rent them by the month so you won’t be locked into a long-term contract.
When looking for a solution, consider these storage options which come in a variety of prices. You can typically find a smaller 5x5 unit for under $150 and a massive 10x10 unit for $300 or less. It is a great option if you can’t bring everything with you at once.
As you can see, there are many steps that veterans can take to find the house of their dreams after many years of service. During the process, consider a storage unit, get your finances in check, and heavily consider a home warranty, and you will be in good shape. If you would like to know more about the services offered by the Veteran’s Chamber, then check out our memberships here. Contributed by: Lucy Reed
How to Feel Connected When You’re Apart
The Challenges of Deployments Being separated from loved ones can be hard. Whether it’s a special occasion or just an average day, we miss those closest to us when they’re not near. There are many reasons why we might be parted: they are away on business, they are deployed, or perhaps they are in recovery to overcome addiction. No matter the reason, there is always cause to reach out and feel connected.
The National Veterans Chamber of Commerce understands the challenges of being apart, and they present some tips on how you can stay connected across geographical distances!
Send Your Love Those that are away from their loved ones tend to feel lonely and forgotten. While everyone is caught up in the bustle of daily life, they may feel like they are the furthest thing from your mind. The best way to let your loved one know that they are still on your mind is to send them something! A care package is the perfect way to show your love and appreciation at a time where they feel fragile and alone. Send them a box filled with family photos, their favorite candies, and items they love. A thoughtful card signed by family and friends will add a nice, personal touch to their package.
If for some reason your loved one cannot receive care packages, nothing says “thinking of you” more than a handwritten letter. Have a few family members write letters expressing their love and how much their loved one’s physical presence is missed. This kind gesture will be greatly appreciated and it is something that they can go back and read whenever they would like.
Do Kind Things If your loved one is away temporarily, perhaps in recovery or in deployment, you can do kind things for them while they’re gone. If they have a house nearby, you can care for their indoor plants or even tend to their garden for them. You can also solicit the help of local landscapers to keep their yard looking nice for their return. Just be sure to read the reviews so that you choose someone who is reliable. You can even mention the situation when you call to ensure they are okay with working on an uninhabited house.
Children of veterans can have a hard time adjusting to their parent being away, but there are community services designed to help, too. We understand that the old adage is true: it really does take a village to raise a child. The Veterans Chamber of Commerce San Diego is part of that village, and offers services to the children and families of veterans, as well as to the veterans themselves when they return.
Keep Your Kids Happy As a parent, one of your main priorities is to equip your child with enough memories to last them a lifetime; however, the absence of a loved one may put a damper on your child’s spirit, especially on special occasions. It is important that you encourage them to look for the positive aspects of the situation and to remain happy.
If their loved one is in the military and overseas, let your child know that their loved one is doing an honorable thing by fighting for the freedoms of our country and to keep everyone safe. Tell them they should have pride in their loved one for taking on such a noble task. If your loved one is trying to overcome a drug addiction in rehab, tell your children that their absence is only temporary, and they are just trying to become better versions of themselves for the future. Explain to them that the best way to honor their loved one is to enjoy life and create lots of memories to share when they get back!
Not having a loved one around can be difficult. You may feel sadness as well, but it’s important to remember to stay uplifted and to try to include your loved one through gestures throughout the year, whether it’s sending a package or having a brief phone conversation. Not only will your spirits be lifted, you will also spread happiness to your loved one! Contributed by: Lucy Reed
Vets Starting a Handyman Business
As a veteran thinking about starting your own business, it's likely that you've given some thought to how to obtain the American dream. While starting a new business can be both exciting and overwhelming, your military background will put you in a great position to succeed. From following local and federal requirements and regulations to getting the word out about your services to potential customers, you'll be on your way to building a business you're proud of if you follow these tips.
Getting Started Getting your handyman service up and running will go smoothly if you take it one step at a time. Start by contacting your state's small business agency to find out what you'll need to do in regard to forming an LLC. You'll also want to know about permitting and licensing rules in your county and state. Paying attention to these legal steps in the beginning, like getting liability insurance, proper vehicle, and tool coverage, will help you succeed long term. As you begin to formulate your business plan with this information, consider how you'll brand yourself. Pick your specialty areas and search for an online logo maker service to design an appealing logo that will identify your new business to customers. You'll have many fonts and color options when it comes to creating your logo which will be displayed on your website, vehicles, and communications with customers.
Hammering out the Details As you work to nail down details of your business plan and ways to market yourself, you'll want to consider investing in cost estimating software that can help you to make bids quickly, so you'll stand out against the competition. By using a service, the software can help you to send estimates directly from the job site, send out automated email reminders for bid approvals, estimate labor expenses and material costs, and include a payment schedule for customers. They'll not only save you time but also help you to stay organized.
Adding Benefits and Support As a veteran, you'll want to use resources out there specific to you. As a thank you for your service, you'll find discounts at local and chain hardware stores. In addition to applying for accounts at the contractor's rate, be sure to ask about veteran benefits that will help you keep costs down; this is something you can pass on to your customers that they'll appreciate. Also, consider looking into grants specific to veterans through your state. You might be surprised what kind of start-up funding you can get for new tools or vehicles to help you succeed.
Living the Dream Whether you plan to open your business in Los Angeles or somewhere else in the United States, taking advantage of the software, social media platforms, listing services, and current real estate market will help make your plan work as you build your handyman business. Still not sure where to start or how to find the right plan? Check out the National Veterans Chamber for ways they can help make your dreams come true.
The National Veterans Chamber brings together Individuals and Organizations to collaborate and develop programs & projects that will result in a Positive impact in our Veteran/Military community. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article prepared by:Lucy Reed
How Emotional Wellness and Suicide Prevention are Related
Suicide affects all races, genders, and age groups. In fact, some statistics indicate it is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S, and is especially prevalent among veterans. While the specific reasons why someone chooses to take their life can differ, there is one common thread that affects most cases: emotional wellness.
Whether it’s a genetic condition or something stemming from a traumatic or emotional life event, treating the mind is one way to help prevent an act of suicide. Read on for more information and wellness strategies, courtesy of The National Veterans Chamber.
Learn About Emotional Wellness
If you or someone you know is struggling, it’s important to become more aware of emotional wellness. Having a sense of emotional well-being can enhance coping strategies and prevent feelings that could prompt suicidal thoughts. Emotional wellness is described as setting priorities, being aware of your thoughts and emotions, having a positive attitude, expressing emotions in a proper manner, and accepting mistakes and learning from them.
If the workplace has you stressed out to the point it’s affecting your emotional wellness, it’s time to take steps to mitigate the factors. You can make your work experience more positive by doing things like avoiding toxic coworkers (if possible) and changing up your routine as you’re performing mundane tasks to prevent monotony.
Consider a Team Approach
An asset for anyone struggling with mental health concerns is an emotional wellness team. This would consist of people with unique insights and resources into mental health issues, and skills for steering healthier choices. For instance, a social worker can be a key member on an emotional wellness team. In the course of their certifications and licensing, social workers often earn a Master of Social Work degree from an accredited university. Part of that education includes learning to diagnose mental health issues relating to social functioning, and helping to enhance someone’s ability to cope.
Physicians can also be important participants in an emotional wellness team. As Verywell Mind explains, primary care doctors can screen patients for depression and rule out or address contributing physical issues. They can also prescribe helpful medications and refer people to mental health professionals. If you’re a senior with a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll likely be covered for prescriptions. Plans offered by insurers like Humana offer prescription coverage and access to fitness and wellness programs, which can improve your mental health.
Along those lines, mental health professionals might also be team members. For instance, your doctor might recommend a psychiatrist if a round of antidepressants aren’t helpful. The psychiatrist would perform an analysis and plan a course of therapy for healing. Psychologists can also help with various therapies, analyzing the source of someone’s depression and helping to resolve their feelings in a healthy manner.
Address Mental Health Issues
If you’re already dealing with a mental health issue like depression, it’s crucial that you seek treatment, as it can be a preventative measure for suicide. Healthy Place explains there are also several other benefits to treatment including: ● Better physical health ● Improved productivity and financial stability ● Less strain on personal relationships ● Less risk of crime ● A longer, happier life
Address Any Addiction Problems If you struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, getting professional treatment is liable to improve your life and reduce your risk for mental health issues. Some professionals note a strong link between addiction and suicide, as users are often self-medicating for untreated, underlying mental health concerns.
There are several effective options for treatment. You should start by researching the best antidepressant medications available, but understand that’s only part of the solution. Depending on your level of comfort, you can choose between a holistic, traditional 12-step, or alternative therapy approach to treatment. You can also seek help by visiting an addiction counselor.
Identifying Warning Signs If you see any of the following concerns in yourself or someone you know, they are indicators suicide is a risk, and it’s time to get help: ● Depression or hopelessness ● Preoccupation with suicide or death ● Reckless behavior ● Moodiness ● Searching for access to weapons or pills ● Rage ● Social withdrawal
You can also embrace some lifestyle changes with self-care and stress reduction in mind. Find positive outlets for your feelings, such as exercising, meditation, getting enough rest, and eating well.
It can be difficult to admit that you need help, which is why you shouldn’t ignore feelings of depression — you can live a happier, healthier life. If you know someone who is exhibiting signs of suicide, don’t be afraid to approach them about it and steer them toward help. Knowing you care can be a first step in helping someone feel better.
The National Veterans Chamber brings together Individuals and Organizations to collaborate and develop programs & projects that will result in a Positive impact in our Veteran/Military community. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
3 Reasons for New Business Owners to Hire Veterans
Why should you consider hiring one of the 19 million United States veterans for your new small business? Whether your new employee has just finished a tour with the Air Force, the Navy, or the Marine Corps, this person can enhance the day-to-day operations of a small business due to unique skills, training, and experiences. Learn more about the benefits of hiring veterans as well as special considerations you should keep in mind during their employment with you.
3 Reasons to Hire a Veteran People who spent time in the armed forces are typically hardworking, reliable, and task-oriented. Check out the following three advantages of hiring from this pool of applicants.
1. They Have Skills That Transfer to Business According to data collected by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, veterans have been highly trained in areas that translate well to the business world. For example, your new employee is likely adept at following detailed instructions, respecting authority figures, and swiftly changing tasks when the situation calls for it. Photo by Memento Media
2. They Boast Advantages for Specific Jobs Do you need someone who has work experience in a stressful environment as well as specific data analysis skills? Consider the veteran who has a degree in analysis and has worked in Navy Intelligence for the past four years.
Are you looking for a manager who can lead a team with authority and empathy? Think about giving that retired Marine Corps officer a chance.
Veterans, more so than standard employees, are trained for specific roles within their military organization. Their military roles have afforded them practical experiences, on-the-job training, and leadership qualities that can't be found anywhere else.
3. They Provide Tax Advantages for You Did you know that there are many tax incentive programs for employers who hire veterans? Check to make sure your veteran qualifies for this type of program. If your potential employee falls into many categories — such as "veteran" and "disabled veteran" — you may qualify for more tax breaks.
Considerations When Employing a Veteran Having an understanding of military protocol and culture can help you when hiring a person who comes straight from the service. You may wish to speak to a friend in the military, connect with a recruiting officer, or do research online to discover how to word your job postings, ask questions in interviews, and be sensitive to mental health issues that your new hire may be dealing with.
Many veterans struggle to reintegrate into the civilian world. Even if they are performing adequately at work, they may be dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder behind the scenes. Educate yourself on these issues and be willing to work with your employee to come up with a plan that will benefit both their mental health and your new venture.
Considerations for Your Small Business Don't forget to tie up all the loose ends involved in running a small business before you launch. Use payroll software that utilizes automated payroll scheduling, tax filing, and same-day direct deposit for convenience to make small business payroll easy. Look for a platform that can be integrated with your payroll system for supreme organization.
Hiring new employees is one of the many privileges of being a small business owner. Don't take your role lightly and make it a point to invest in these trained, dependable, and honorable people to grow your organization from the ground up. Article prepared by:Lucy Reed
How to Innovate Your Veteran-Owned Business
At The National Veterans Chamber, we know that veterans make fantastic business owners. Not only are veterans hard working and driven to succeed, but they’re also eager to test new ideas and quick to adopt new technology. This open-mindedness towards innovation will take your business to new levels. Whether you run an ecommerce company or a brick-and-mortar store in your community, developing your business through innovative tech upgrades will help you keep up with your competitors—and maybe even surpass them. Here are some digital improvements to consider for your business!
Optimize Your Business Processes and Workflows Business process management (BPM) is the practice of improving how your business operates. It’s about optimizing workflows and regular processes to improve efficiency and adaptability. BPM is critical to digital transformation! By streamlining and automating repetitive business processes in areas such as accounting, sales, and customer service, you can boost productivity, reduce errors, save costs, and improve process outcomes. This will make daily work easier for you and your employees, decreasing resistance to new technology and facilitating employee buy-in.
Automate Repetitive Tasks Automation is a core component of BPM. When you automate time-consuming processes, you free up time and money for projects that foster the growth of your business. You can automate almost any repetitive business task. For example, OnDeck explains that you can automate social media posting, competitive monitoring, website traffic tracking, customer support, email responding, payroll, bill payment, invoicing, appointment booking, and much more.
Use Machine Learning Machine learning will make it easy to automate business tasks that often require human intervention. By drawing on databases of information, machine learning can handle many tasks you’re currently doing manually, from pricing your products to responding to customer service inquiries. Beyond saving time, machine learning can improve your customer experience by offering unique personalization capabilities to your website, marketing materials, and customer interactions.
Get Comfortable with Digital Marketing If you’re not advertising your business online, it’s time to get familiar with digital marketing. You don’t need to be a marketing expert to create effective digital marketing campaigns. With the help of automation tools and machine learning software, you can plan and implement digital marketing strategies that specifically target your ideal audience. BuildingBlocks Marketing Solutions explains that veterans who want to learn more about digital marketing can participate in online training workshops and statewide Boots-to-Business events.
Offer Remote Work to Employees The pandemic was a great experiment in remote work. As it turns out, remote work offers plenty of benefits for employees and employers alike. Remote work leads to increased productivity, lower costs, reduced employee stress, lower employee turnover, and less absenteeism. Plus, remote working opens up worldwide talent pools, so you can hire for the specific skill sets you need instead of spending money on employee training. And with the help of remote work tools, onboarding and managing a remote team is easier than ever!
Leverage Low-Cost Apps Many veteran business owners are hesitant to adopt new technology due to the anticipated costs involved. But innovation can be surprisingly affordable! Software companies often offer plans at tiered price points, so businesses of all sizes can afford to use their technology. Some of these tools are even free! For example, you can set up Google Analytics on any website for free, providing a wealth of information about your website visitors at no cost. Look for other free or low-cost apps designed to handle things like customer relationship management, inventory management, bookkeeping, and other time-consuming business processes.
Successful businesses are always innovating. If you want your veteran-owned business to keep up with your competitors, you must stay on top of the latest advancements in your industry and the business world in general. Leverage technology to make your business run more efficiently, and nothing will stop you!
Are you a veteran business owner? Join The National Veterans Chamber to support the veteran community, including other veteran business owners and veteran families. Fill out the membership form on our website to join today!
Article prepared by:Lucy Reed
Running for Office as a Disabled Veteran
In a perfect world, the government would support everyone, regardless of physical capability, race, gender, economic status, and other such parameters. As Huffington Post notes, though many of these are far from resolved, it does prove that representation truly matters. Here are some resources to help you in your run for office.
Facing Challenges It’s safe to say that the many challenges that disabled people face when running for office have a lot to do with why disabled political candidates are still quite rare. The rigors of such a physically demanding endeavor notwithstanding, it can, in fact, be said that politicians with disabilities face a great deal of stereotyping and stigma.
Among the most prevalent challenges that candidates with disabilities face is establishing credibility while also fending off concerns relevant to their individual disabilities. It is this stigma that behooved an illustrious statesmanlike President Franklin D. Roosevelt to take great pains to hide his disability from the public for almost his entire political career.
Staff and Services No politician should go it alone. Lumen explains a modern political campaign is actually like a well-oiled machine in which different individuals, from the campaign manager to the volunteers, contribute in one way or another to your bid for office. It goes without saying that you will want the right people in your camp to help you efficiently tackle the challenges on your horizon while, at the same time, push forward your community’s agenda.
Aside from volunteers and staff, consider some outsourcing for a more successful political bid. As an example, freelancers skilled in online writing can be valuable additions to your team as they can help write effective social media content, blog posts, and emails while staying true to your overall message and agenda. If you want to skip the expense of hiring freelancers, there is a wealth of free online tools you can put to good use. For instance, if you have a YouTube channel, try a YouTube banner template to help you customize your space on this platform. You can use the template to swap out banners whenever you need.
Skills and Training Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of sufficient training. There are, in fact, several organizations committed to helping disabled people seek public offices through training and development, and it will do you well to make use of such resources.
Specialized training will vary based on the type of office you’re running for and the skills you already have. For example, earning a degree in computer science will be helpful in building and maintaining a website so you can keep an open dialogue with your constituents. This would be an especially useful tool for those with disabilities who may have trouble making it to local events during their campaign and after being elected.
At the most fundamental level, campaign training for candidates with disabilities will cover the basic skills and methods of running for public office, including creating an authentic message, outreach, staffing, and, of course, the all-important fundraising. These are, by and large, wonderful initiatives that seek to encourage a more diverse political lineup, which is truly a breath of fresh air in this day and age.
As a veteran with a disability seeking a public position, you’ll face challenges. As long as you’re prepared for the challenges and committed to service, there’s really no reason why you won’t succeed. The world is ready for change, after all, so bring it. Lucy Reed Content Contributor
Back to School Options for Veterans
The National Veterans Chamber promotes collaboration and supports innovative ideas that will address Military/Veteran challenges faced during pre- and post-transition. Contact us today for more info! firstname.lastname@example.org Back to School Options for Veterans You're completing your military service and considering what comes next. The economy is good and there are plenty of jobs around, but you want something more, something to make into a career. The National Veterans Chamber explains that the answer may be going back to school. There are many programs open to veterans, and a college or university degree or MBA will open the way to higher-paying jobs in the field of your choosing.
Why You Should Go Back to School Although you may have several years of military service, you won't be alone going back to school as a veteran. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of veterans in the workforce with associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees is slightly higher than the national average. The maturity and skills you've learned while serving actually prepare you for the discipline required for further study. Unique Challenges Faced by Veterans As the VA notes, leaving the structured military environment brings with it several challenges. It can be difficult to adapt to civilian life, especially if you joined right after high school. You may not have the right skill set to join the labor market or have difficulty relating to people who haven't experienced military service. Going back to school can help you overcome these challenges and provide a goal to aim for. Paying for School Several programs provide funding for veterans to go back to school. GI Bill benefits can cover most or all tuition expenses. If you're eligible, some schools run a Yellow Ribbon Program that can fund up to 50% of the difference between post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and mandatory school charges. You may also qualify for federal student aid. Most programs cover tuition fees only, while students need to fund living expenses. One way to handle these expenses is to enroll in a remote course that allows you to work part- or full-time to cover costs. Balancing School, Work, and Home One of the practical challenges of going to school after military service is balancing school, home, and work, especially if you have a family. The solution is to plan your life carefully to allow time for each. This may mean taking fewer courses and limiting your work hours so you have time for your family and studies. Use your military discipline to stick to your schedule, and don't be afraid to call in favors from friends and relatives. On the home front, be sure a positive and inviting atmosphere prevails. Transitioning to civilian life is stressful enough, so identify what sources of stress or distraction may be causing a tense environment in your living space. Then take some simple steps to remove those sources, such as decluttering, deep cleaning, and organizing. Also consider bringing in a few houseplants to help purify the air, and an oil diffuser for aromatherapy can’t hurt. High-Earning Degrees to Consider
A benefit of going to school after your military service is having the opportunity to aim high for a career that both stimulates and pays well. Apart from undergraduate and doctoral degrees, an MBA sharpens your business skills and develops your aptitude in corporate finance, marketing, human capital management, and strategic planning. An online MBA opens up well-paying job possibilities and is a great option if you have an undergraduate degree. An MBA is a prerequisite for many high-paying jobs, including: • Business Manager • CEO • General Manager • Management Consultant
Building a Career After Serving Your Country Thanks to the many programs that recognize the unique contributions of the military in service to our country, you have the opportunity to build a dream career. While you may face challenges adapting to civilian life, disciplined study can help you through them and open the doors to a well-paid career in the field of your choice. The National Veterans Chamber of Commerce can help you connect to resources by connecting you with Leaders in the Community.
Article prepared by:Lucy Reed
Need These Apps to Make Life Easier
The National Veterans Chamber of Commerce establishes strong bonds of collaboration with like-minded individuals and organizations who have a passion for supporting and empowering veterans and their families. Join the Chamber or read more informative articles today!
Need These Apps to Make Life Easier
Time-saving techniques are crucial when you’re running a veteran-owned business, and recent technology has allowed more access to apps and other online resources that make life easier for the individual on the go. Whether you want to boost your productivity or keep track of a busy schedule, there are several tools that can help you stay on top of both your personal and professional commitments.
Not only will using these will help you run things smoothly, but they’ll also help you free up some time so you can do the things you enjoy while maintaining a successful business. National Veterans Chamber of Commerce explains that these tools can do much more than help you stay organized.
Keep up with your paperwork
As a veteran and an entrepreneur, you already know how big a role important documents play in your daily operations. Staying organized is crucial for both the wellbeing of your business and your customers’ peace of mind, so look for apps, online services, and other technology that will help you stay on top of those necessary docs. If you travel a lot or just want to simplify things for yourself, look for a mobile scanning app that allows you to scan and send paperwork right from your phone, without the need for bulky equipment. You can also look for apps that help you manage customer interactions across platforms in real-time, so you never miss an important message.
Make communication easier
Staying in touch with your customers is crucial, but it’s just as important to keep communication open with your employees. Whether you’re working on a big project together or just need to make sure everyone can contact you when you’re away from the business, it’s a good idea to look for apps that will allow you to get in touch easily. Video chat services, shared channels, and conferencing tools are perfect for small businesses, especially those that utilize remote workers. Using the right communication apps will help you and your team members avoid misunderstandings so you can get things done right the first time.
Organize your workflow
Staying in touch with your employees is one great way to remain organized, but if you travel a lot or have a full plate most days, you might need a little assistance with keeping your schedule from becoming overloaded. Fortunately, there are several apps that can assist with that, from project management tools to digital helpers that keep track of your to-do list. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to manage your time at work, and these apps will help you see where you and your employees spend the most hours so you can make adjustments when necessary.
Share with ease
Getting organized should extend to your company’s files, as well. There are lots of great apps available for sharing documents within a business or creating customer proposals, and some will integrate with one another to make the process even easier. Some are free, while others offer different services with an upgrade fee, so RingCentral suggests doing a little research to find the right one for your business’s needs. Note each option’s security features as well to ensure that your information is safe.
Keep up with your finances
As all small business owners know, time is money, so when you’re looking for ways to be more productive and organized you can also search for the best apps for tracking your finances. You may need something that helps you keep up with travel expenses, invoices, payroll, and/or monthly income, and many apps available these days can help with most of those at once. Consider whether you want automated services, whether you need them to be tax compliant, and what your budget will be when choosing the right app for your needs.
Make payments easier
Money apps aren’t just for the business owner; there are several tools available that will make things easier for your customers, as well, such as mobile payment processing apps that take various credit cards as well as transfer services such as PayPal. Startup Guys notes that there are benefits that come with offering many ways to pay, such as creating loyalty in existing customers and ensuring that new customers have the flexibility they need to keep coming back. It will also help you reach a larger audience, especially with online sales, and will give your customers peace of mind that they can pay securely without giving a company access to their credit card information.
Keep it secure
No matter how hard you try to keep things secure, you’ll likely still need help from a professional service when it comes to anti-virus software. There are different types available depending on the size of your business and the type of tech you use, including security for computers, mobile devices, and file servers. Look for a system that’s easy to use, within your budget, and offers a variety of protection services so you can ensure that both your data and your customer info are kept safe.
Boost your social media presence
Once your data is secure, you can think about boosting your business’s social media presence without worry. Maintaining accounts across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter requires daily updates with valuable content, including videos and photos that draw in potential customers. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure you have a quality photo editing app on hand, and there are many free choices that will help you take your business pics to the next level no matter how much experience you have.
Finding the right apps for your veteran-owned small business can take some time, so do some research before committing to one. Talk to your employees about their needs and get some insight into the kind of software that will be most beneficial to them, especially if they work remotely or are often working on projects together.
The number of women veterans keep rising steadily over the years due to an increase in the number of women entering and leaving the military. Women long before they were recognized officially have served in the military since the days of the revolutionary war, showing patriotism, sacrifice, courage, tenacity, leadership, sound judgment, resilience, all special qualities that are valued in military service. Women have been a crucial asset to the military and we at the National Veterans Chamber want Honor and show our gratitude for their contribution.
Unique challenges of women veterans in business Veterans who exit the military service may also have a hard time fitting with civilian life. Women may encounter more difficulties compared to their male counterparts. According to a survey conducted by the VA, the result shows that only about 1.4% of female Americans have served in the military in comparison with growth rate expected to increase to 16% by 2043, women are the fastest-growing segment in the veteran community. This may bring some unique challenges faced by women veterans, because of the steady increase in number. Women veterans are more likely to become entrepreneurs, maybe this is as a result of a necessity. Women veterans have an unemployment rate 4% higher than other women. While younger women veterans face a stark of over 20%. All these, in addition to the stigma from the society that makes it difficult to go from soldier to what the society expects to appropriate female behavior. Also, at the end of their service, unlike male counterparts who are easily seen as heroes and warriors, women have a harder time identifying as veterans. Another challenge female-veterans encounter in business is a lack of capital. Women veterans are more likely than males to secure government contracts. This was revealed in a recent study where women are less likely to go for loans even when their financial profiles were far better than their male counterparts. This may be in large part due to fear of being denied.
How do women veterans fare in business? What we do know is that women veterans who are given the necessary tools, they end up doing great things in business. Women have proven to be a better risk factor when it comes to loans, women tend to make payments on time and are less likely to default. The traits that make women veterans successful in service are what makes them thrive in business too. Integrity, the ability to take initiative, a resilient spirit that adapts to changing and evolving situations, all unique traits that make successful business owners. Despite the challenges, the veterans who make it are twice as successful in terms of revenue and longevity. According to statistics by the department of labor in 2012 alone, women veterans contributed to about 20b a 26% increase since 2007. Representing about 400,000 women veteran-owned businesses as of 2012 makes them the fastest-growing segment in the entrepreneurship community. To makes the picture clearer, this is over 200% increase from 2007. As a nation with futuristic ideals, it is not only a moral imperative but an economic one, that we take care of women veterans. These women reinvest and rededicate themselves to the future of our country, through service and through entrepreneurship. We must consider the unique challenges they face, and we should work towards adopting a better system that works to empower more women veterans immediately after service.
Women veterans & business traits Some veterans are born with special personality traits that make them outstanding leaders coupled with the military training they undergo. This also plays a key role in how they take on their businesses. What they learn and the culture they embrace during service such as the ability to work as teams, leadership growth, early leadership, progress after failure, focus and execution, curious and knowledge seeker, action-oriented, thoroughly trained, are what makes an outstanding entrepreneur. In Summary: It is no surprise that women veterans are successful business owners. It is our duty as a Nation and as Veterans to support all Veteran-Entrepreneurs and to provide the tools and the set of skills one needs to succeed. Women-Veterans have demonstrated a unique ability to succeed in business and have shown to possess a set of skills and traits that are crucial to Entrepreneurial Success.
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