Small Business Trends recently spoke with three business owners who grew up in military households to find out the most important lessons they learned to have help them during their business journeys.
Lessons on Teamwork From the Military
Build Strong Teams
Your small business is only as good as the team you have surrounding you. Tight-knit military families know the importance of togetherness. And business leaders can succeed by creating a strong team that works as a singular unit toward the company’s main goals.
Meg Roberts, President of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company told Small Business Trends, “The most significant lesson I learned was the importance of togetherness. It was shaped by my parent’s military experience and applied to me and my three siblings that together we would always be smarter, stronger and more successful. This is how missions and military units proceed — all for one, one for all. I work very hard to build a team that understands and respects the role of leadership, but that is also encouraged to contribute equally, to help one another improve, to lend a hand when needed and to consider the success of the team ahead of individual success. Shared success is the best success.”
Clearly Outline Goals and Strategies
Even a great team only succeeds when you are clear about what you want them to accomplish. So you have to outline specific goals and be strategic about reaching those goals. Members of the military and military families are usually familiar often learn this approach early on.
Peter Boylan, President of Ballard Brands and PJ’s Coffee told Small Business Trends, “My experiences growing up in a military family impacted my success in many ways. First and foremost, I enjoy being part of, and leading, a team with a sense of purpose and clearly defined goals. Being in the military myself taught me to be decisive and strategic to see what lies ahead of me and how to get there. Through hard work, dedication and commitment, I worked my way up the ladder of several of those prominent companies, which ultimately led me to becoming a member of the Ballard Brands Board of Advisors in 2009.”
Be Disciplined and Adaptable
Discipline is another important quality for business owners that is prominent among members of the military and military families. But it’s also important to be adaptable so you can take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
Dr. Tina Bacon-DeFrece, president and COO of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More told Small Business Trends, “When you are starting or trying to grow a business, you must have discipline to do what needs to be done. This can range from not taking a paycheck for months to firing consultants that just aren’t contributing. Knowing that having a loyal team surrounding you with different strengths but the same goal is paramount. When we started our initial internet company (UniquelyGeek.com) our intention was not custom t-shirts and certainly never to franchise. Being adaptable by redesigning our company and its business plan has led us to where we are now — a fast growing franchise brand with more than 80 locations nationwide.”
Military Squad Photo via Shutterstock