A Salute to Veteran-Owned Businesses and How You Can Take a Page out of Their Action Plan

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As a Marine, who is now living a civilian life, I guess it’s natural that I’ve always been drawn to military-focused events, charities and causes. I enjoy spending time with and learning about other service men and women, and in my professional life today, I gravitate toward working with veteran-owned businesses.

In working with business owners who have served our country, I’ve found there are five behaviors that are heavily reinforced in the military that often are present in their businesses that help them stand out and succeed. With Veterans Day on my mind, I thought it is worth sharing these wonderful traits with all business people as they can be applied in everyone’s workplace to make a significant difference in any organization’s growth and success.

1. Honor

Everything in the military revolves around honor. The importance of honor is instilled in all military recruits from day one through the rest of their lives. It’s taught that the pillars of honor are honesty and integrity, no matter the cost. You might be thinking—how can honor help my business?

A big part of good client relations and building a positive brand, at its core, is honesty. To achieve business honor (respect and recognition), you have to stand by your product, word and service. You should always be truthful with your clients and keep your promises. If you try to cut corners, people remember, and will likely not want to conduct any future business with you and certainly will not refer business to you or your organization. Honor is integral in building customer and employee loyalty.

2. Commitment and Dependability

Jimmy Doolittle, Army General in WWII once said, “There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.” I couldn’t agree more. Anyone who joins the military is a volunteer—in my opinion, it is the strongest sign of commitment. In the military, commitment and dependability are not only critical but inherent to the success of any operation. You always have to be ready for a mission, and the person next to you must be able to rely on you. If commitment or dependability falter, many lives are on the line.

Similarly, commitment and dependability should also be innate parts of your business. Everyone in a company depends on someone’s commitment. Employees rely on managers for support, and managers depend on CEOs for direction. CEOs depend on managers to keep operations running and team members to deliver results. It’s a strong combination of dependability and commitment—without these, your company simply cannot operate and succeed.

However, dependability and commitment alone are not enough. Your employees also need to have the expertise and experience to deliver on their promise of providing quality products or services.

3. Courage

In the military, courage is not optional for obvious reasons. In the workplace, however, applying courage can be a bit more ambiguous. When you really think about it, any important business decision takes courage to execute.

In order for a company to succeed and grow, its leaders and all employees must be courageous enough to fail, innovate, and take calculated risks at times, knowing that if they do fail, they can learn and move on. It is also the job of a leader to make the right decision even if it is an unpopular decision for the sake of the business’ growth and evolution.

4. Safety

There’s an intense amount of training in the military to keep you safe, even in the most dangerous conditions. They teach life-saving skills ranging from tying a knot to properly operating a weapon.

Any company needs to be safe, especially from an insurance and risk management view. Implementing a strong physical safety program and providing ongoing trainings are vital to keeping your number one asset, your employees, safe. This also helps you keep your insurance premiums low. In addition to working with a safety management professional to design a safety program for your business, you can also conduct a variety of other trainings, such as cyber awareness testing, workplace violence, and emergency response.

You should also protect your employees’ mental health by creating a safe and supportive work environment. This helps people operate at their highest levels and is imperative in avoiding EPLI claims. Your employees will feel cared for and valued—not just physically but emotionally. When everyone is treated with respect, it creates an environment for an unstoppable workplace culture.

5. Teamwork

For any military mission, everyone on the team has a clearly defined role and responsibility and they are expected to work in unison to achieve the common mission. For example, team members of a helicopter rescue operation evacuating people from flooded areas after a hurricane, need to work in sync with absolute precision.

The same is true in the business world. Every team involved in a product or service life-cycle should work in tandem from the inception to the delivery to accomplish your organizational mission. For instance, your product or service development department should work closely with leadership and align with your company’s mission. They should also communicate the features and benefits to your sales team to help them become an educated growth engine for your business. Once the product or service is delivered, your sales team should stay involved with the customer service teams to make sure the customers are satisfied to foster loyalty.

In my experience, veteran-owned businesses in general do a good job of practicing these behaviors, which often allow them to be more competitive and successful. I believe these principles can be game-changing to any business. I strongly identify with these values, which were also instilled in me from my time in service. Should you need any risk management or employee benefits solutions to protect your organization, I would love the opportunity to work with you. Feel free to contact me at btrue@psafinancial.com.