I thought we could start this by defining veteran entrepreneurship in America, especially as entrepreneurship relates to veterans. Veterans bring discipline, problem-solving skill, teamwork, and unique points to the world of entrepreneurship.
What a lot of veterans don’t understand is what entrepreneurship is and how it applies to them.
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U.S. President Calvin Coolidge once said, “The business of America is a business.” The United States is a global power today that achieves success in business.
Most of us are Euro-Americans, descends from folks who came to America seeking a better life. More than 20 million people immigrated to the United States between 1880 and 1920. My own grandparents made the long, dangerous journey across the Atlantic Ocean to make their dreams of a better life a reality. In the early 20th Century the United States was a brave new world.
During the 19th Century, Americans pushed west, building factories and railroads to support the western expansion. In the 20th Century, America became known as a land of creativity, drive, and determination. Some of the greatest veteran entrepreneurs in America made their fortunes on American soil. Taking risks on new ideas became a normal part of life. Over the next fifty years of the 20th Century, especially after the world wars, Americans developed industries that would become the envy of other nations.
Successful veteran entrepreneurs in America do things differently. Many case studies of veteran entrepreneurs in America who made it big were involved in a business they cared about. When you love what you do, it helps you through the tough times. And there were always be tough times. Push your limits to reach your dreams.
The most successful entrepreneurs in American business are not the ones who think they know it all. They’re the ones who are willing to admit
they don’t. Learning, studying and listening is a big part of running a successful business.
Setting aside ego and getting info is a key factor in successful entrepreneurship. One of the great methods of learning is “modeling.” By studying the habits and traits of someone who is successful in any endeavor, you can learn a great deal and cut your learning time in half. All successful entrepreneurs seem to share a few of the same traits.
Every success story in America begins the same way: someone had an idea. Sometimes we think of these successful entrepreneurs as visionaries. As a result, they see possibilities that others don’t, and they know how to make those possibilities work. Sometimes it’s done through intuition – an understanding of something that is based on feelings rather than on reason or logic.
This is what happened to Steve Jobs.
Jobs started a computer company in his parents’ garage back in 1976. At 21 years, he called the company Apple. He and a friend spent the summer picking apples at a nearby farm. He liked the name. Computers had been around for a while, but they were used mostly by experts and nerds. Jobs’ vision was for something he called a “personal” computer – one that could be used at home by everyday people.
Hard to believe now, but this was a new concept in the mid-70s. However, some people thought he was crazy.
He wanted to make computers more “user-friendly” and most importantly – fun. By the 1980s, Apple was earning millions of dollars a year. In the 2000s, Jobs helped design the iPod, iPhone, iPad and other devices.
Warren Buffet is the most successful investor in American history. He made his first investment at age 11. He soon became the wealthiest person in the world. When he talks about his success, he always says the same thing. If he’s interested in business, he learns as much as about it as he can. Buffett spends hours reading, talking to experts, and spending time traveling to where the business is located.
Many people don’t succeed in business because they are afraid to fail. No one likes to fail and worse off it can be costly- you lose time, money and faith in yourself. However, the most important lesson is learning as we go because failure just is a concept. If you look at the most successful people in the world, they’ve all failed at some point.
According to business and life coach Tony Robbins, our lives are controlled by the meaning we give things. You may have a situation happen to you where say, “That’s the end of my career,” or you can say, “That’s just the beginning.”
If you think it’s the end, you’re going to treat things very differently than if you think you’re at the beginning of something. You can’t run from failure, but your greatest failures often give you the most insight. Think of failure as an experience, not a tattoo. You’ve got to say, it’s time to move on and learn from the experience without letting it become your entire story.
One quality that seems common to all successful American entrepreneurs, it’s the ability to stay focused. Because they constantly think about what they are trying to do. They go to sleep thinking about their goals. Wake up thinking about them. And even dream about them. Success might be fun, but it’s rarely easy. The struggle with an idea is what allows to succeed or fail. Hence, this urge is what keeps the soon-to-be successful veteran entrepreneurs going.
Veterans – veteran entrepreneurs in America – are proven leaders in stressful situations. Therefore, knowing how to apply the knowledge and experience gained in the military into entrepreneurial pursuits makes America business better. Entrepreneurship empowers the most highly disciplined and best-skilled people in our country and helps to bolster American business.
Dominic P. Oto
Purple Heart and Bronze Star Recipient