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StreetShares Blog - The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

StreetShares Blog

The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

Topics

Defying Unemployment Rates Among Military Spouses through Entrepreneurship

Military spouses share a commonality among themselves as they may go through several permanent change of station (PCS) moves and are always transitioning with new friends and communities. The military spouse lifestyle not only affects one’s personal life, but also his or her professional life. 

More than 18 percent of employed military spouses have seasonal or temporary jobs and 82 percent of those spouses would prefer a permanent position, according to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation1.

Even though there has been a decline in military spouse unemployment from 23 to 16 percent, according to recent studies by the Department of Defense and the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation, military spouse survey respondents appear to be underemployed and not fully utilizing their skill sets.

We’ve worked with several military spouses who are defying these statistics because they’ve turned into entrepreneurs and small business owners. You may remember our list of the Top 10 Most Influential Military Spouse Business Owners who have made a difference in military spouse communities and are helping to decrease military spouse unemployment and underemployment. 

Today, we’ll take a deeper dive into the story of one military spouse business owner, Stephanie Brown, CEO of The Rosie Network. She'll tell us how she got started, how she's impacting the veteran and military spouse community and how she continues to grow with veteran business loans and small business financing.

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“Serving” Again to Support Military Veteran Business Owners

By Ed Walters, Chief Marketing Officer on September 7, 2017

I come from a family of military veterans. I am a graduate of West Point and served in the US Army before entering business. My grandfather served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, my father served as an Infantry Officer in Vietnam, my brother served in the US Army at the same time I did, and now my oldest son is finishing Army ROTC with plans to become an Army medical doctor.

There were times when I wished I had stayed in the Army for a full 20+ year career instead of entering the corporate world. I have worked for amazing companies, but the camaraderie of going through tough shared experiences in the military with my brothers and sisters in arms built bonds that we will forever share. I missed the supportive social network where everyone helped their teammates through the good and bad times, and to be honest, how we joked and ribbed each other in good nature. 

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Applying for a Small Business Loan? Here are 10 Things to Know

By StreetShares on September 1, 2017

For many small business owners as well as veteran-owned business owners, the loan application process can be tedious and overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start and how exactly to present yourself to a potential lender. That’s why we’ve compiled this checklist for you to reference as you pull together your business loan application for a term loan, line of credit or if you’re mobilizing for contract financing from a factoring company.

What to Know Before You Go

Loan request approvals depend on how well you present yourself, your business and your financial needs to your business lender. The best way to do that is to know beforehand the answers to the most common questions lenders may ask:

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Traditional Investment Options to Power Your Retirement Savings [Infographic]

By StreetShares on August 24, 2017

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Just as military members have carefully and thoughtfully planned countless missions over the years, there’s a mission that anyone, regardless of military affiliation, should be planning for with equal care: planning for retirement.

We’ve touched on this “mission” previously; in fact, we recently shared some ideas on the military’s retirement systems, comparing the new Blended Retirement System (BRS) to the old Legacy Retirement system, and discussing steps to plan for retirement.

In this post, we’ve detailed what everyone, whether you’re in the service or not, needs to know about the most commonly offered retirement savings options. With this information, you’ll be well on your way to creating a retirement plan that works for you – and maybe even help a few veterans along the way. 

Here’s an easy-to-follow infographic on Mission: Retirement, outlining three steps to assist you in determining, calculating and ultimately learning more about your retirement.

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4 Things to Do Before You Submit & How to Bid for a Government Contract

By StreetShares on August 16, 2017

In our government contracting blog series, we’ve looked at why the Federal Government is a good opportunity for many different types of small businesses. We’ve discussed potential advantages like set-asides made for veteran-owned businesses, how some great modern tools can help you evaluate your market and find the financing you need to start these projects. Now, let’s dive into how to bid for a government contract.

This article is an excerpt from, “The Government Contractor’s Handbook,” which includes step-by-step guides and eight chapters of resources. Download it now.

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Closing the Civilian-Military Gap with Small Business Lending and Investing

Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson

Many people have asked why a lifelong finance professional like myself, with years of experience from large banks such as Capital One and Wells Fargo, would join a veteran-focused startup even though I’m not a veteran. While the answer might not be clear to some, it is very clear for me. My personal, very focused mission is to give back to veterans who have created this space for me to be free. Some call actions like this an attempt to close the Civilian-Military divide.

During World War II, more than 9 percent of the American adult population served in the military. In the past decade, less than 1 percent of Americans have served in the armed forces, according to the Pew Research Center. The result is that the younger population has less of a family connection with the military. For 18-29 year olds, just 33 percent have an immediate family member who served in the military, according to a survey by Pew Research Center, while 70 percent of adults aged 50 and older do. 

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Legacy vs. Blended Retirement System (BRS): How Your Pension is Calculated

By StreetShares on August 8, 2017

A quick Google search on the subject of retirement readiness quickly resulted in an overarching feeling that Americans have rapidly been falling behind. For instance, one-third of Americans currently have no retirement savings, according to a recent GoBankingRates survey. So what about you? Will you have enough saved in retirement? Will your retirement be sustainable?

For military members, ‘retirement’ has taken on a whole new set of complications with the updated pension system the government is rolling out in 2018. We’ve provided a guide and outlined the general implications of this Blended Retirement System (BRS), such as whom it affects and when the changes will begin to be implemented; however, there are deeper weeds to dig into about how specifically this new BRS plan will truly affect military members’ retirement from a “numbers” perspective.

Let’s look at how the military’s pension plans, old and new, work and how to think about building your savings for retirement.

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Why You Should Consider a Financial Capability Letter Before Bidding

Bidding season for government contractors is in full swing. As a small business owner, you’ve already got an advantage when bidding for government contracts. Furthermore, if you’re a registered Veteran Owned Business (VOSB), Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), 8(a), HUBZone, or Women-Owned small business, you’ve got an even better chance at winning a contract. Other than the size of your business or how you’re registered, though, what else does the government look at when choosing the right small business to work with?

As part of our government contracting blog series, you’ve seen that following all of the guidelines and responding to every requirement the contract sets forth is important when writing your proposal. We’ve also shared another great tip – to think about your government contract financing plan ahead of time. Now we’re training our sights on making sure you have financing in place prior to winning a bid.

Why do we think this is essential? Because the best time to think about financing is before you bid or have been awarded the contract. Knowing you have financing in place can provide extra assurance that you will be able to fulfill your part of a contract as a subcontractor to a prime contractor. Besides, in many cases, the government is going to require this from you; i.e. they’re going to want you to prove you have the financial capability to actually perform the contract you want to win. The first step in proving this capability is with a Financial Capability Letter. Click here to watch the recorded webinar on contract financing below.

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How to Understand a Swift Capital Business Funding Offer

By StreetShares on July 27, 2017

As a small business owner, when you’re looking to partner with another business or bring in a partner of the company, you’re looking for trustworthy, business savvy people. The same should be sought after in your small business lenders. We all know that getting an SBA business loan, traditional bank loan or VA business loan can be challenging if you don’t have enough revenue or time. That’s the reason why online small business lenders exist.

We’d like to help you compare your business loan offers from different small business lenders. We’ve provided business loan calculators to help you see the true cost of capital of an OnDeck loan offer and for Kabbage loan offers. Today, we’ll help you understand how a Swift Capital loan offer works. 

Swift Capital Loan Offers

As we’ve stressed in the past, the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the most important number you’ll need to understand when analyzing the true cost of capital. When receiving a Swift Capital business funding offer, you’ll see percentages described as the “price,” but not the total cost in APR. Use the standard calculators below to help you calculate the true cost of funding with the APR.

Use these calculators to help you understand the difference among other business loan offers.

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7 Things to Know About the Military’s New Blended Retirement System

By StreetShares on July 19, 2017

 

A huge change is on the horizon for many of our nation’s service members in the form of a new retirement system. The military will begin implementation in 2018, affecting not only military members who will begin their careers in 2018, but also those who currently serve. Why the change? As it stands, only 19 percent of active duty members and 14 percent of reserve members will actually hit the 20-year service mark required to receive retirement benefits from the military – about 1/6 of its population, according to the DoD.

The Department of Defense is rolling out the Blended Retirement System to serve the remaining 80 percent of service members currently left out in the cold. The goal is to offer a retirement system that aligns more closely with a civilian 401(k) plan, as well as to offer benefits for those who serve their country in uniform but not for a full 20-year career. While this new system is designed to save the government money, many benefits are available for military members who understand the new system and want to build their savings for retirement as a veteran who may be seeking to open a small business or a government contractor. 

Below are some highlights to help you understand the alterations that will result from the implementation, as well as dig in to better define the significance of these changes. None of this is financial advice. It's just meant to be informative.

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