The things that I typically think of when I talk to prospective veteran entrepreneurs about business opportunities are almost never the real reasons they want to become entrepreneurs.
Veterans have an idea of successful entrepreneurs. Whether they hear stories about fast cars, huge houses, fantastic vacations or incredible lifestyles. As you can imagine, this is heady stuff for a former soldier making $2,500 dollars a month.
However initially, most Veteran Entrepreneurs don’t define success in this way. Everyone has a different vision of what success is to them. No matter what people want or dream of it’s my job to help them get it. The challenge is to get them moving towards something. Whether big or small, most people believe they are a long way away from being able to achieve their dreams.
The challenge is to get them moving towards something. However, whether big or small, most people believe they are a long way away from being able to achieve their dreams.
So to cross the great divide between where future Veteran Entrepreneurs are and where they ultimately want to end up, I use a stair-step approach. Therefore, starting with the concept of “Take it where you can see yourself achieving it.”
Goals are the spark that propels yourself to success in business and life. Therefore, your dreams, greater causes, and higher purposes are possible, especially for Veteran Entrepreneurs.
For example, when I first start thinking of making my writing a business I had a simple goal. My goal was for my wife to buy whatever she wanted at the supermarket, not just what we could afford.
This is not the same as Tony Soprano’s five bedrooms, 6,000 square foot, Mediterranean single-family house on two acres of rolling hills.
But this was as far as I could see six months ago. When I accomplished this goal, I focused on refinancing our house, paying off my car and then planned two vacations. All of this was working towards my greater cause and higher purpose.
I learned a valuable lesson. No matter where I started, as I advanced I was able to see farther and farther. The trick was to get moving in the right direction. Success is the realization of a worthwhile dream. In fables, in business, in sports, and in the military, the heroes of great success stories meet and overcome obstacles on their way to victory.
Goals are appropriate milestones for tracking progress for greater causes and higher purposes. There are great sayings that illustrate this, “A goal not written is a wish” or “Hard work will win where wishing won’t.”
People who have a written set of goals have a way to know if they’re moving towards or away from their dreams. Therefore, those who don’t have a written set of goals with dates are at the mercy of their emotions to determine whether they feel like they are succeeding.
There are six areas that you should define goals in:
1. Family and Home
3. Spiritual and Ethical
4. Physical and Health
5. Social and Cultural
6. Mental and Emotional
Goals in all Areas of Life
Setting goals in each area of life will ensure a more balanced life as begin to change the fundamentals of everyday living. In addition to that, setting goals in each area of life help in separating what’s important from what’s irrelevant or a distraction.
You’re most important business goal should not be about making money. Rather it should be about helping others. Making meaning and not money is what my business philosophy is all about.
Guy Kawasaki talks about this in his book “Art of the Start 2.0”. What this means is Focus on making meaning, not money.
However, if your vision for your company is to grow it just to flip it to a large company or to take it public and cash out, “you’re doomed”.
Kawasaki says that great companies are built around one of three kinds of meaning:
1. Increase the quality of life. Hence, make people more productive or their lives easier or more enjoyable.
2. Right a wrong. And a variant on the above. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. As a result, this is why I want to help Veterans become Veteran Entrepreneurs Operators (VEOs).
3. Prevent the end of something good. Preserve something classic or historical. This is especially why I write about military history.
Focus on Meaning
Focusing on making meaning and not money helps make the world a better place. The money will come. Consequently, the more I’ve helped others, the more money I’ve made. Helping others to create income translates into goal achievement.
Then write down your goals with specificity and detail. Also, include a date for the accomplishment of your goals and then create a plan. Hence, the plan will produce the results you want.
Finally, make sure you discuss your plan with your business mentor. That way you will have his or her input, feedback and assurance that if follow the plan you will most likely achieve your goal as Veteran Entrepreneurs.