Los Angeles, CA – As of September 2017, there were more than 1.8 million women veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces with 143,211 of them living in California. More than 60,000 those veterans call Los Angeles county home.
Women who have served in the military face many challenges upon leaving and often feel isolated, financially dependent on others, and dismayed by their career prospects. Business ownership is a path to increased income without having the burden of functioning in a civilian workforce that may not empathize with their military experience
Resources do exist for women veterans who want to be business owners. However, when CAMEO (California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunity) looked in the Los Angeles area, we found a need to outreach to this formidable community to foster the entrepreneurial spirit and develop local resources.
CAMEO hosted our first CAMEO’s WOVEN summit in 2014 at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles with keynotes by senior executives from the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development in DC, inspirational stories from successful, decorated women veterans, and training in negotiating, marketing and business development.
Heidi Pickman, Associate Director of CAMEO, said, “The expression of gratitude from those involved compelled us to partner with Melanie Rae, founder of Guided Business Plan, to launch an ongoing community-learning program.”
CAMEO’s WOVEN (Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Network) fuels economic independence among military-connected women by facilitating professional alliances, ongoing mentoring and entrepreneurial guidance. We are a free peer support group that meets biweekly online and in-person to help launch and grow small businesses owned by military families.
Alicia, a United States Air Force (USAF) veteran, is an Arizona-based member who opened a store-front for her micro-blading and skincare salon. As an aircraft mechanic, her skin broke out and she found a solution that gave her near-flawless skin so she studied cosmetology and opened Exclusive Beauty. “After several discussions with CAMEO’s WOVEN members, I know that I’m not taking advantage of my full potential.”
Other success stories include:
Avis, USAF, participated in a VWISE conference after attending a meetup and practiced her pitch with us. She won $5,000 for her clothing line for women affected by cancer.
Joshica, USAF, has been featured on Etsy.com twice as a best seller for her beauty products. Through WOVEN she has been introduced to beauty industry leaders who have offered to mentor her. She served in the US Airforce within supply chain/logistics management which included storing, moving and tracking supplies, equipment and personnel.
More than 20,000 veterans will retire each year. They are looking to start their next chapter after devoting decades to their military careers. CAMEO’s WOVEN is well positioned to reach, guide and inspire the next wave of veteran-owned businesses as well as those separating after a shorter service period.
CAMEO is California’s statewide network made up of over 230 organizations, agencies, and individuals dedicated to furthering microbusiness development in California. Annually, CAMEO members serve about 21,000 very small businesses with training, business and credit assistance and loans. These firms – largely start-ups with less than five employees – support or create 37,000 new jobs in California and generate a total of $1.3 billion in economic activity.
When you see terms such as “leading provider, recession-resistant, lack of competition” and “scalable,” associated with a franchise opportunity, it’s undoubtedly going to pique your interest.
And if it’s in an industry that can literally impact millions of people – by creating its own unique niche – you’re almost certainly going to want to know even more about this ground-floor opportunity. Mix in a company culture that’s equal to its growth potential… and you have the perfect list of ingredients that drew Willie and Kimberly Jenkins to become franchise owners with Enviro-Master, North America’s leading health and safety-focused commercial cleaning service, which has doubled in size since 2012. They are seeing demand from many markets for their service because of the growing concerns about MRSA and other new tough to combat bacteria. Pictured left to right are Willie Jenkins, Jr., Kimberly Jenkins, Willie Jenkins, El Paso,TX.
“We are NOT like anyone else. We are UNIQUE,” said Willie. “When we first met with the corporate team from Enviro-Master we were truly impacted with how welcoming they were and that they wanted to know about ‘us’ and not just about our previous business experience. They genuinely cared about us as a family.”
Launched in January, Enviro-Master’s El Paso location serves businesses throughout El Paso, Las Cruces and Alamogordo, N.M., as well as Juarez, Mexico. Surrounding franchise areas still available are Albuquerque, Lubbock and Amarillo.
Willie, 49, has owned a janitorial cleaning company for 15 years while Kimberly, 57, has spent a decade in a civil servant role as an inventory/warehouse manager after a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force before joining Enviro-Master, which provides unique processes and products that disinfect and sterilize surfaces that serve as breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses such as the flu, Hepatitis, Norovirus and MRSA. Enviro-Master’s commercial restroom hygiene service, which is applied with EPA-registered, non-toxic products, ensures 99.99 percent of germs are killed. “As a border city, we have many challenges dealing with the health and safety aspect due to travelers constantly going back and forth into Mexico,” Kimberly said. “We wanted to be a part of helping our neighbors within the city and even in Mexico.”
In Enviro-Master, Willie and Kimberly found a company that is a recognized leader in the $61 billion commercial cleaning industry, which is expected to grow by an additional two percent in 2019 alone, according to experts. Enviro-Master International Franchise has ranked five years in a row by Inc. 5000 as one of American’s Fastest Growing Private Companies. Their niche, which focuses on killing germs and bacteria, protects businesses, their employees and clients against the spread of infectious diseases. Currently targeting growth in major markets throughout North America, Enviro-Master’s continued growth is fueled by five basic fundamentals: 1) Large, identifiable markets; 2) Lack of competition; 3) Recession resistance; 4) Recurring revenue model; and 5) Service that can’t be displaced by technology.
“I’ve been in franchise development for more than 30 years and have not seen a concept with the strong fundamentals that we have at Enviro-Master,” said Brian Wieters, executive vice president of franchise development. Said Willie: “This is something we want to pass on to our children. We believe in leaving a legacy for our children’s children. Our plan for them is to be very aggressive in the future growth of our company.”
Markets being aggressively targeted for new franchises are Phoenix, Toronto, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Reno, New York and its boroughs, Denver, Boston and New Orleans. Call 1-833-GERMPROS for more information.
The Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference wants to help you launch your tech startup with a startup tech pitch competition.
Expert DOJO, the fastest growing startup community in Santa Monica has partnered with the 2019 Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference (#BBBC19) to invest up to $100k in startup companies attending the event; at least one $50,000 term sheet is guaranteed to one company.
This investment is designed to help startup founders who have identified a very specific problem or challenge in growing their startup, and could use the $50,000+ investment to make a significant difference in overcoming that challenge.
Ideal applicants are innovative thinkers in any segment of technology who believe their products are unique, groundbreaking, and can affect positive change in their vertical.
Note: Contestants must attend #BBBC2019 accelerator sessions
The best way to provide good jobs for U.S. veterans is by helping other U.S. veterans to start successful businesses, because veterans like to hire veterans.
They share a camaraderie and respect for each other unlike any other. And they all have been trained how to work together effectively for maximum results.
Six years ago, in order to get more U.S. veterans employed with good wages I began teaching business minded veterans how to start a strong and successful Maintenance company from scratch. I realized that the more veteran owned businesses I created, the more veterans would get hired. I have developed 80 U.S. Military Maintenance businesses since. It has been an overwhelming success! They have earned millions of dollars and are employing thousands of other veterans.
But before I go further, I will introduce myself. Then I will summarize what I will do with you if you choose for me to show you how to start a maintenance business of your own, in just a week.
Many have earned $10 K or more in their first month. There are many U.S. Military Maintenance owners to talk with. You can talk to them personally and listen to their own success stories.
I have been putting on career fairs on military bases for more than a decade. And I have a job board exclusively for businesses seeking to employ U.S. veterans. HirePatriots.com.
It also has a unique job board for residents who want to hire local U.S. military to help with chores, and to provide a way to thank them; and for active duty, veterans and their spouses to earn extra money when needed. – My life has been devoted to serving our US military, veterans, and their families for more than 40 years. My primary focus has been to help provide ways for active duty and veterans to financially support themselves and their families well.
I have written a best-selling book: The Patriotic Business Plan: How to Leap Over Your Competition. The book explains how I received voluminous local and national media attention, medals from two US Presidents, and financial support from civic leaders, organizations, and businesses. It was written in 2013 when social networks were exploding and changing the way businesses market themselves and increase profit. It has worked for myriads of businesses across the US and continues to grow in its effectiveness to immediately increase any businesses’ prestige, and bottom line. As its creator, I personally work with you to get your business started and to help you to also leap over your competition.
Learn more about these active duty, veteran and military opportunities and resources at PatriotHearts.
We all remember scientists Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner’s experiments famous for exploring the benefits of using rewards and positive associations to change both behavior and emotion. Lately, I’ve seen it to be true with companies as well.
Few corporate awards are as highly sought-after or revered as a prestigious Best of the Best title.
A company achieving recognition in this area values inclusion and has a hand on the heartbeat of diversity at all times. There are two ways to achieve this award, either by employee vote or by a third party strictly looking at numbers.
In my opinion, independent third-party HR auditing, such as filling out a survey, outweighs employee-based evaluations.
Nine reasons recognizing companies and employees is important:
Demonstrate You’re Doing Something Right
Business awards are important badges of honor to companies. The Best of the Best list is an opportunity to demonstrate to clients, employees, investors, customers, and the general public that yes, you’re doing something right, according to a third party and an objective panel of judges.
Whether or not your company has had direct involvement with these awards, the results are an invaluable source of information. It gives you an edge above your competitors, too.
A company that makes it on a Best of the Best list believes in diversity and understands the importance of salaries, benefits, leadership, personal growth, and wellbeing, ultimately revealing what employees really care about in the workplace. Organizational cultures built on inclusion drive engagement, which drives business and financial performance.
Recognizing a job well done affects employee retention. When employee morale receives a boost, employee retention is increased. When a company is rewarded, it’s encouraged to strive to stay on the Best of the Best list and do even better. It is not a good sign when a company makes it on the list for a year and then doesn’t make it the following year.
Better Job Performance
Recognition keeps employees feeling proud and passionate about their work. When employees are recognized, they are encouraged to perform better, and consistent recognition—especially when they’ve gone beyond the call of duty—will enhance their job performance. According to Great Place to Work, “Employees who say they have a great place to work were four times more likely to say they’re willing to give extra to get the job done.”
Attract Great Talent
Award-winning status can help you compete for great talent. Customers, prospective employees, and the community hold top workplaces in high regard. If you’re recognized as a Top Veteran-Friendly Company, for example, it encourages veterans to apply with less hesitation knowing you’re diverse and inclusive to the veteran community. You present the following message: “Welcome, veterans, we’re here to train you and support you.”
Recognition as a Best of the Best company will keep your diversity message and branding alive all year long. Companies on the Best of the Best list performed two to three times better than their counterparts. Being awarded is a great opportunity to brag and put out public notices of achievement, such as a press release. It’s a great recognition to put on a website or use the Best of the Best logo to brand and market across the nation. Some companies go as far as putting the logo on their advertisements, marketing material, and at events and job fairs.
Compete by Advantage
With better performance comes stronger revenue. When you’re on that list, it means you’re diverse, which means you’re getting diverse perspectives, ultimately putting out the best product and service because of the different views you have within your company. With a recognition, you also have a wider consumer base, which gives you an advantage over non-diverse competitors. At the end of the day, every company wants to be recognized, but companies are also interested in what other companies in their industry are being recognized for.
Diversity drives innovation. It’s helpful for managers to establish a culture in which all employees feel free to contribute ideas, implement feedback, and give credit where credit is due. Employees who are given an environment to speak freely, no matter what the feedback is, are more likely to contribute their culture, ethnicity, gender, and work experience to drive innovation. Companies that foster and implement diverse groups for feedback, such as an ERG, help define culturally sensitive products, services, and demographics, and these diverse groups bring the greatest innovation.
Increase Profits and Revenue
Recognition keeps employees satisfied, ultimately increasing revenue and profits. The bottom line is that we want our employees to be satisfied at work, because that is what influences company performance. Thus, diversity and inclusion are the keys to a company’s bottom line.
As a publisher of six-diversity focused magazines, I know it’s imperative to recognize companies for their achievements in diversity, and we do this through an independent survey. Any company award is a positive marketing strategy. Just as with any survey, do your research. My advice is to never participate in a “pay to play” investment because it’s not an investment. Our reports are never “pay to play.” By publishing these much-anticipated lists, my goal is to encourage those doing a good job to continue doing a great job, and for those who are not there yet, to entice them to join the bandwagon—to see what their competitors are doing and show the value. Companies that put diversity first, implement it in their policy, and practice it every day from the top down see the fruit of their labor and deserve praise.
The president of Reel Heroes Media champions military heroes and organizations with his video productions.
Bob Vincent, pictured left, president of Reel Heroes Media, was recently awarded the Carlton Sherwood BAVF Media Award, saluting media members who are dedicated to the needs and concerns of American veterans.
As a child, Bob Vincent remembers taking eight suitcases full of shampoo, toilet paper and many other items we take for granted to his family, who was living in communist Hungary at the time. The experience gave this first generation Hungarian-American, successful video producer and president of Reel Heroes Media a true understanding of what it means to live in the home of the free.
“I wouldn’t be here today if not for all those heroes who took that oath and continue to do so,” he said.
After founding his video production company Video Pilot 360 in 2008 with its successful online video-marketing platform, Vincent renamed it Reel Heroes Media in 2015 with the goal of producing videos and marketing that support active military, veterans, their families and the organizations that champion them.
Vincent says he envisions his company—which handles everything from graphic design and video production to audio visual design and content creation—as a “veteran initiative agency of record.”
“When I attended my first military support event, I couldn’t believe all the amazing heroes I met, their stories and the many honorable organizations that provide assistance,” he said. “I saw that many of them didn’t have the resources to tell those stories to the public.
“From that point on, I made it my mission to use my God-given talents to produce the stories of these heroes and the organizations supporting them,” he added.
And Vincent’s skill for doing so is evident in the many accolades he’s received from corporate giants like Disney, American Airlines and MGM Resorts International, as well as from entertainers like Rascal Flatts, Gary Sinise, Lee Greenwood and Billy Ray Cyrus.
But it’s the compelling video productions he’s created as part of his military philanthropy work that has made Vincent most proud. His work is credited for helping motivate patriotic Americans to donate millions of dollars to military supportive organizations and events, such as The Airpower Foundation, Sky Ball, American Airlines Veterans Initiatives, Snowball Express, The American Fallen Soldiers Project and The Gary Sinise Foundation, among others.
One particular video Vincent was asked to produce to show the impact the iBOT mobility device has had for veterans across the country assisted the Independence Corp Foundation and inventor DEKA Corp. CEO Dean Kamen in resuming production on the device.
“He [Dean] told me the video I produced was their most valuable tool in getting the support they needed,” said Vincent, whose production assisted in the FDA reclassification of the device, as well as the manufacturing plans for the next generation iBOT with Toyota.
Vincent’s latest project involves The Life Chest, a beautiful handmade wood chest that gives the recipient a special place to keep treasured keepsakes.
In honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Reel Heroes Media partnered with Mike Elliot, founder and president of All Veteran Group, Life Chest USA, The Airpower Foundation, and All-American Limo & Transportation for a “Life Chests of Legacy” tour to gift Life Chests to WWII veterans across the country.
Vincent says he hopes to create a national movement sharing the gifting and unveiling of each Life Chest that’s delivered to a veteran.
“As we get to hear the stories and legacies of our military heroes, we will continue to share them,” said Vincent.
While he speaks fluent Hungarian and is very proud of his Hungarian heritage, Vincent is equally proud of the brave men and women who provide the freedoms his family in Hungary didn’t have while he was growing up.
“We can never do enough to support those who defend our country, and especially for those who have been wounded or for the families of those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Vincent, adding a Calvin Coolidge quote that he first heard from his good pal, Gary Sinise, years ago:
“The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”
When John and Brittany Curtin got married in 2015, they never dreamed they’d be living where they are today.
The couple met at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland back in 2011— Brittany was a volunteer with the Red Cross and John was in outpatient treatment for injuries he sustained while deployed in Afghanistan.
A Marine Lance Corporal, John joined the Marines at 19. He lost both of his legs and severely damaging his right arm when his foot triggered an IED one month into his deployment. He now gets around with the help of prosthetic legs or a wheelchair.
As difficult as John’s injuries were to adapt to, he and Brittany, both 29, live their lives today with incredible ease. For that, they thank two organizations: Homes For Our Troops and Wayfair, who have provided them with a specially-adapted — and fully furnished — home of their dreams, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
“We feel so unbelievably blessed,” Brittany tells PEOPLE of the experience. “Just for our day to day, our routine has entirely changed. Because John isn’t so taxed just doing small things, he’s able to do so much more both inside and outside the house.”
“It’s been an absolutely life changing experience,” John agrees. “It’s just transformed my life completely. When Brittany and I were first living in Virginia together we lived in a little 700-square-foot apartment, and we couldn’t even pass each other in the hallway because my wheelchair took up the whole space. So the ease of living is just unreal compared to those experiences.”
Not only is the 2,800-square-foot home and surrounding property entirely complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and wheelchair-accessible, but a variety of gadgets inside the home are designed to help John complete daily tasks with ease.
For example, extendable shelves in the kitchen and closets can be pulled down to be at John’s eye level, and a track chair in the backyard allows him to move around the property — which has paved and graded paths — and do yard work.
Continue on to People to read the complete article.
The Shark Tank’s Daymond John encourages veteran entrepreneurs to make waves in business.
By Lori Denman
Entrepreneur extraordinaire Daymond John has cast a pretty large net in the realm of business.
John, otherwise known as, “The People’s Shark,” is a busy man—leading his multi-million dollar FUBU clothing line and hosting the popular reality ABC hit, “Shark Tank,” that’s celebrating its 11th season.
But he never hesitates to take time to help a promising entrepreneur—particularly those who have served our country. “I’m working with veterans as much as I can,” he said.
John is in his third year of partnering with Bob Evans Farms to host an entrepreneurial contest called “Heroes to CEOs.” Finalists receive a free trip to New York City for a personalized, 45-minute session with John to help them perfect a pitch that could win them a $30,000 grant for their business.
John says the same traits that make veterans successful in combat—courage, teamwork, overcoming challenging obstacles, taking inventory of a situation—also apply in the boardroom. A veteran’s large network of supportive comrades is a further advantage, he added.
“I call it OPM, or other people’s manufacturing, mind power or marketing,” he said. “Meaning if you want to start up a business, make a list of friends and acquaintances who can assist in the mission. Soak up their knowledge and insight.”
Still, there’s a few personality traits characteristic of the military that may actually hinder a veteran entrepreneur, according to John in a recent interview for The Motley Fool.
“Vets were brought up to think about everybody else and stand in the line of fire. They don’t always put their needs first.”
There’s been more than a few veterans who have heeded John’s advice. Last month, Jonathan Norton, founder and CEO of Peak Safety Systems, was voted the winner of the third annual “Heroes to CEOs” program. A former Army Ranger, Norton invented the RopeSafe Edge protection system—life-saving equipment for military, first responders, and rope access professionals.
Norton says his company was born out of personal experience. ““I witnessed a student nearly fall to his death while he was repelling because the edge protector that we were using failed,” he said in a recent interview on cheddar.com.
“It was a scary moment and created a lot of fear, doubt and uncertainty. But it inspired me to find a solution. That was the impetus for developing the product.”
Although RopeSafe just launched, Norton has successfully sold to several areas throughout the U.S., including FDNY, NYPD, Dallas SWAT and more. Even a window washing company in Rochester, New York.
When asked about entrepreneurial qualities he acquired during his time in the military, Norton says, “In spite of the hardships or the bumps in the road, it’s really about commitment to the mission and knowing I am serving a bigger purpose.”
John says he was blown away with Norton’s creativity, innovation and solid business plan. “He really rose to the top as an exceptional leader who is ready to take his business to the next level.
With several successful ventures under his belt over the last 30 years, John says he’s often asked what advice he gives veterans and others who wish to start their own business.
“I would say don’t mortgage your house for 100K,” he joked recently on Ladders.com, citing his own personal experience as John did indeed get his start by mortgaging his mother’s house.
After that, John started his successful clothing line but considers the risky move very lucky, adding, “It turned out for all the better, but knowing what I know now, I was very close to losing the house and everything we had.”
His top 5 tips to veterans wanting to start a business as well as other entrepreneurs on Shark Tank:
Set goals to know where you’re headed
By age 16, John had told himself he’d be a millionaire by age 30. But when he turned 22, he was broke and struggling to make a buck by buying and selling cars.
“I didn’t know how to properly execute goal-setting. It’s not just visualizing of a number or a certain age,” said John.
When the idea for FUBU came along, he decided to reshape the goal he set for himself. Instead of committing to making a million dollars by age 30, John instead made it his goal to outfit the hip-hop culture. Designing a clothing line became less about earning money and more about dedicating himself to a community — one that he thought would turn into future consumers.
“My goal became doing the best I can for the company I love,” John said.
Homework — you still have to do it
After sneaking his way into a menswear conference in Las Vegas, John proudly showed off early prototypes of T-shirts emblazoned with the logo of his budding company, FUBU, an acronym that means “For Us, By Us.” He secured $300,000 worth of orders, and after his mother took out an equity line on their house in Queens, he took $100,000 to outfit a factory to get production going.
Just one problem: He hadn’t done any research on what it would cost to start a clothing line and get production going. In the process, he nearly lost his mom’s house and ended FUBU before it got off the ground.
Knowing what you need to launch a venture is something John stresses to the hopefuls who appear before him on Shark Tank. He has to see that an entrepreneur looking for funding has done their work to know what their market is and who their competitors are — and that they’ve used that knowledge to not only start driving sales but also improve on their track record.
Adore what you do, and success will follow
A true entrepreneur must love what they’re doing—a seemingly trite lesson that John said is crucial for any successful entrepreneur. It’s passion for a project that will allow a person to push past failures and feeling burned out.
“Do what you love, and success will follow. Money may follow; but I can’t promise that it will,” he said. “But money’s more likely to follow when you’re doing something you love, because you’ll do it for 10 years or 20 years.”
Remember, you — not just your business — are a brand
These days it’s easy to manufacture a personality using social media. But building a business is as much about how you carry yourself as it is about meeting quarterly sales figures or developing new products.
“Be very honest with yourself, especially today with social media. At any given time, your employees can see you,” John said. “So you have to know what the DNA of the brand is. It only takes your employees two weeks to treat your customers the same way they’re being treated.”
Keep swimming, no matter what
John’s final point makes use of what he calls the power of positive thinking. Even as FUBU grew into a bigger company, he maintained a “healthy paranoia” about running a clothing company.
“I always said fashion brands are hot for five years and then they’re gone,” he said.
But keeping a persevering attitude spurred him to come up with solutions to problems instead of giving up. As John wrote in his book, The Power of Broke: “You have to be relentless, nimble, moving ever forward. No matter what.”
Jose and Jennifer Elias recently opened a Floor Coverings International franchise and now happily visit customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers.
The couple serves customers throughout Sacramento and the surrounding areas.
Jose and Jennifer met when they were working at Campbell Soup Company, after both earned bachelor’s degrees in Food Science; Jen from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and Jose from Rutgers University in New Jersey, where his family moved after arriving from Ecuador when he was eight years old. At age 18, Jose joined the Army and served for three years.
When the couple decided to have children (Hudson, born in 2016, and Madeline, in 2018), Jennifer set aside her corporate career – where she gained a diverse array of experience from product development to operations – to be a stay-at-home mom. “My experience, both personally and professionally, has provided me a great foundation to really build this company,” she said.
“The relationship with Floor Coverings International grew naturally and it ended up being the perfect fit for us,” said Jose, who along with Jennifer, learned of the franchisor through a recruiter. “Running a small business as a husband and wife team has been fun. We absolutely love it so far.” That’s a far cry from where Jose found himself midway through 2018, six months after he thought all his hard work had paid off when he earned a “huge promotion” to lead and manage a food manufacturing facility with 500 employees and $5.2 million in monthly sales. “I had a realization. Working 15 hours a day, weekends included, and missing dinner with my wife and kids wasn’t worth it. It really wasn’t worth any amount of money” Jose said. “I realized I was sick of working that hard for someone else and just wanted out of the corporate world. Jen and I sat down and decided it was time we do something for ourselves and for our kids. We are both hard-working, smart individuals and decided to take the leap.”
In Floor Coverings International, the couple 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.
“Floor Coverings International is not just a flooring company,” Jose said. “What drew us in most was how much they focus on the customer experience. Selling beautiful product was important to us, but really providing amazing customer service that is truly unmatched in the home improvement industry is what sealed the deal for us.”
ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL
Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit www.flooring-franchise.comand to find your closest location, www.floorcoveringsinternational.com.
Interview tips for veterans entering the civilian workforce
Like many other service members leaving active duty service, I found preparing for the civilian workforce frustrating. Crafting your military service into a resume and preparing for an interview is daunting. One of the most common questions that I receive is, “How should I answer interview questions?” But it is just as important to think about what questions you will ask the employer.
Interviewing is a two-way dialogue. Yes, your potential employer will ask questions to learn more about you and the skills you bring to the table. It is great to leverage tools, such as the STAR technique (i.e., situation, task, action, result), which will help you practice translating your military experience and assist with preparing a clear and concise response to your interviewer.
While you are preparing to answer questions, it is equally important you prepare relevant questions to learn more about your potential employer, supervisor and the position to ensure that the opportunity is a good fit for your career aspirations. The best approach to asking fact-finding questions is to keep them focused, open ended and not too broad. Just remember to stay away from questions that yield yes or no responses. If you are unsure about what to ask in an interview, below are some key examples that will help you showcase you are the perfect hire.
At the beginning of an interview, an employer often asks to learn more about you and what you are seeking in a job. This question is an opportunity to set the tone of the interview and to showcase what you want to highlight about yourself. As you conclude your answer, use the opportunity to learn more about what the interviewer is seeking.
Perhaps, “I was excited to meet with you today. Could you tell me a bit more about you’re looking for?” This question accomplishes a few things. First, it prevents you from talking too much. When job candidates are not being interrupted—and are possibly nervous—they tend to ramble.
Asking a question can give you a break and allows the employer to talk. This strategy can also help establish a trend of productive back-and-forth dialogue. Another question to ask at the beginning of the interview is, “Could you explain the roles and responsibilities of this position in more detail?” When the employer answers this question, ask if him or her could prioritize the duties for you as well. This way, when the employer asks you to articulate what you’ve done in your previous roles, you can highlight how your previous experience aligns with the position in front of you.
Next, consider drafting questions that can help you learn more about the organizational culture, day-to-day jobs, responsibilities, education, skills and experience requirements, as well as soft skills or character traits the employer is seeking. The employer will be analyzing you on competency and culture fit, looking skills, education, personality, and desire to do the job well. At the same time, you should be looking to determine whether you want to work for the company, and whether the opportunity is one you can perform.
To help your thought process, it can be beneficial to ask questions about the goals or objectives for the position:
—How does the employer determine success in this role?
—What obstacles might you encounter to accomplishing those goals?
—Are the goals realistic?
—What resources are available to achieve the goals?
Remember, an interview is an exchange of information. Asking thoughtful questions is a great way to determine whether you really want the job. Good luck!
Pamela Johnson is the Veterans and Military Families Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International.
Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. announced the launch of its first annual contest, through which Beacon will award deserving veteran homeowners new roofs. The contest is open to all military veterans who received honorable or general discharges. There will be a total of five that will be chosen.
“The Beacon of Hope contest is one way we can give back to the men and women who have given so much to our country,” said Eric Swank, Beacon’s Chief Operating Officer. “It is an honor and privilege to provide a safe roof that they can be proud of and that will protect their family and their belongings.”
From now through September 20, 2019, the public can nominate a deserving U.S. veteran at go.becn.com/beaconofhope Nominations must include a photo and short bio of the veteran, which includes their military branch, years of service and why the nominee is deserving of a new roof.
Ten finalists will be announced in September, and the public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite finalists. Beacon will announce the winners and runners-up on Veterans Day.
Founded in 1928, Beacon Roofing Supply is the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials and complementary building products in North America, operating over 500 branches throughout all 50 states in the U.S. and 6 provinces in Canada. Beacon serves an extensive base of over 100,000 customers, utilizing its vast branch network and diverse service offerings to provide high-quality products and support throughout the entire business lifecycle. Beacon also offers its own private label brand, TRI-BUILT, and has a proprietary digital account management suite, Beacon Pro+, which allows customers to manage their businesses online. A Fortune 500 company, Beacon’s stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol BECN. To learn more about Beacon and its brands, please visit becn.com.