Your businesses are hiring fellow veterans and military spouses, they’re supporting charities and giving your communities a sense of community sure it hasn’t always been easy, but you’re doing what you’ve always done, putting in the hard work and learning as you go so to help Google has created.
One place for your veteran owned small business can get a step-by-step guide to reaching customers worldwide at a veteran led badge to your Google estate, and let the world know that you all two and a half million of you are open for business visit us online to Get started hi everyone and thank you for joining us today, as we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week with today’s livestream connect with local customers on Google.
My name is Donald Allen and I’m so excited to be here with you today so running. A small business can be a great second career after serving in the military. We believe that digital skills, training for veteran owned businesses like building a website, preparing a business plan and honing and marketing an audience strategy. Well, we’ve been official as veterans try to grow or start their businesses this year for national veterans Small Business Week.
We want to celebrate businesses who identify as veteran, led and help them grow their businesses through digital tools and training. After the presentation will be hosting a Q & A where we’ll answer, your questions live so throughout the what the livestream submit your questions using the hash tag, hash vet led livestream on Twitter, we’ll also be joined by Northern California. V Bakke advocate Korean economy.
To ask her about free tools and programs that V, Bock and SBA have to offer for veterans all right. So first a bit of background. So in 2017, we launched grow at Google, an initiative to help people across the United States grow their skills, careers and businesses by providing the best of Google’s training and tools. Specifically, we’ve launched products and programs that help the veteran and military spouse community and we’ll be sharing some today, as well as resources to learn more at the end of the sliced ring in today’s session.
We’re going to talk about a free tool that businesses can use right away to get started connecting with customers online. It’s called Google, my business and, if you’re new to Google, my business, don’t worry! That’s why we’re here today and I’ll start by sharing an overview. So, Google, my business, offers businesses a way to manage how their information appears across Google search in maps. So what is called a business profile all right, so try to picture this when we first moved to the Bay Area a few months ago, my family wanted to go out to eat all right.
So here we are we’re. In an air B & B. We have no food in the house new to the area and just like so many of many pcs adventures, we had no idea what was around us and keep in mind. I’ve got a family of six, so we can’t just go anywhere to go eat. So I open Google Maps and typed in restaurants near me and when I came, what popped up was a bunch of business profiles for businesses that were local to our area.
And so we found a quaint French comfort food cafe and had pictures and ours directions and a phone number which is important because I needed to call them to see if they could accommodate my large family I’ll. Just leave it to say that we went they could accommodate us. We had a great time and is now a favorite of ours that we now follow and we get updates from all of that is through these business profiles.
So research shows that over 90 percent of customers looking for business information through search engines are looking for specific information like business hours, promotions or available appointments. This is important because how a business’s information appears in search results can impact when how or why potential customers engage with you in context of our discussion today, of how businesses can use a business profile to connect with local customers.
So all I add that not only our customers are looking for specific, specific information about a business. They are looking for specific information about local businesses. There are billions of local searches made every month and more than 30 % of all mobile searches are related to location. So what does this mean all right? You have customers who are looking for specific information and largely looking for this type of information about a business in their community.
So today we’re going to discuss how to connect those dots using features available through Google, my business, but before we dive in it’s important to note that Google, my business was designed for businesses who have a physical location or do business face-to-face with their customers. Ok, but if you have a business or thinking about starting one that doesn’t meet one of these two categories – you’re fine, there still be opportunities to gain tangible takeaways through today’s topic, all right.
So this is the part where I tell you what I’m about to tell you. In today’s workshop. We are going to discuss how businesses can use Google my business to establish a local online presence, build a loyal customer base, highlight what makes a service or project unique and use insights to help drive more in store or online traffic. Alright, so you have options available to you. This is where having a free business profile on Google can help.
Customers are 38 percent, more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to consider purchasing from businesses that have complete profile information before diving into the features of which can help your business connect with customers locally. Let’s first take a review of the anatomy of a business profile on Google when a customer discovers your business profile. The initial view they see is your business overview in a business overview.
Consumers can find info about your business like address contact info hours of operation, business logos, photos and more. This overview allows potential customers quick access to the best ways to connect with your business through Google, my business, you have access to a manager dashboard where you can update all the information shown here. So 96 % of customers are more likely to visit a business that has hours of operations on a Google search or match results.
Page 90 % of customers are more likely to visit a business. I had a phone number on a Google search map results, page and 90 % of customers are more likely to be more likely to visit a business that has photos on a Google search or Maps results. Page. Ensuring this information is actively managed can help increase the odds of connecting with new customers. A recent update to business profiles on Google allows for businesses the opportunity to include branded images like logos in their profile.
Through this update verify, businesses can create a short name or custom name for their business profile, to make it easier for customers to find them. When businesses shared this short name, URL customers can enter it into their browser. Search bar using the G page. Slash your custom name to go directly to your business profile. Another great way to stand out to local customers is by using attributes.
Attributes like customers see what your business has to offer, such as whether our restaurant offers Wi-Fi or indoor seating. Some attributes, like women-led or outdoor seating, can be highlighted as badges when customers find your business on mobile for our veteran led businesses. Reading today, we created a specific veteran led business attribute to let your community know that your business is run by a veteran.
So all of these features are great, but what if a business doesn’t have a website for consumers to visit once they found your business profile? It’s okay, Google. My business includes the option to create a free, simple website generated with the information from your business profile. So it’s a great starting point of being online perfect for small businesses who do not yet have a web presence in creating a website with Google.
My business takes about five minutes. There are three steps to creating a website with Google. My business one-click website from your Google, my business dashboard and once you do this, Google, my business, will pull the information from your profile to populate the website. You have the option, then customize some elements of the site, including like the theme, tags and photos and when you’re ready to go live.
You click the publish button. These websites also come with a free, URL and hosting you can customize your website address by entering the first part of the domain name, and it will automatically be followed by dot business site. So if you entered the name statius bakery, your website address would be statius bakery, dot business site. Alternatively, you can register your own domain name. This option is not free and you’ll need to register the domain Google domains, but if you already have a registered domain name even with a registrar other than Google, you can use it for your new Google site as well.
Okay, so let’s discuss a couple of creative ways: businesses could use the website feature in Google, my business. If you wanted to build a website for a hair salon, you would first consider how you would want your customer to engage with this. Some of the questions you might ask yourself include whether the what are the deciding factors that a potential customer would use when choosing a salon, do they want to see before-and-after photos? Do customers like to read reviews? Do customers prefer to make appointments or just walk in what customers prefer to see pricing on individual services? These are all the things that can be solved through the website template.
For example, you could showcase before-and-after photos and include reviews from your business profile on Google, so customers can see proof of the quality work that you do next, you can include a book now call to action button. So it’s important to note one out of two customers that want to schedule an appointment when searching for our business online are looking for way to to schedule that appointment.
So so one of the things that really came out to me was when I first got out of the military. I need to get a haircut. I couldn’t just go on base and go get. My haircut like I had been. I had to go, find a real barber, and so I actually used the Google search and found a profile for a business near me and the one that I chose for me was the one that I could schedule the appointment right there in the in the profile.
It was great and Google works with third party scheduling software providers. Sorry, Google works with third party scheduling software providers to enable online booking through Google search maps and reserve with Google a service that allows people to book appointments and reservations directly within the search engine found at google.Com. Slash map, slash reserve, and the last feature that you could use to utilize would be pricing information to include info about the cost of services.
Another thing that you can do is use photos and bright and vibrant ones are best to showcase products in the gallery. On this slide, you can see how a bakery showcases examples of how the food looks me. Personally, I definitely prefer more pictures of donuts and if I were still thinking of the hair salon I may want to show, before and after pictures to demonstrate my good work. Choosing the right photos can go a long way in helping customers feel confident that the service types and quality of work you provide online with their goals.
Another feature that I want to point out is custom domains. Google, my business, will allow you a free domain, which includes the dot business dot site at the end of the business name. However, you can you may decide it, you want to purchase a custom domain which is shorter and when thinking about which domain is best for your business, a few the best practices include making it easy to type keeping.
It short using keywords that your customers are already using to find you avoid numbers and hyphens and be memorable. Those are just a few ways that you can customize a website for your business through Google. My business, in addition to the features I just mentioned, businesses can also customize their website using a pre-designed templates. These templates come in a variety of layouts and color schemes, allowing you to select one that supports your brand guidelines.
Alright. So in this section we’re going to discuss ways to help you build a loyal customer base using welcomed offers all right. So when people follow your business, they become a follower and they will see your updates and offers and photos across Google and in there, for you feed. When you go into Maps, business owners can check out the customers tab to learn more about their followers into Google.
My business app the benefit here is that this creates an additional blog for business owners to reach their customers, and then you have the Welcome offer. You can attract people to your business with a welcomed offer. Now what this is is when they click follow on apps. Are search they’ll get an offer such as five dollars off your first meal, and then they can redeem it in person. The benefit here is you’re giving users another reason to visit you again going back to the are stat, which said that 90 % of customers are looking for business information through search engines are looking for specific information like business hours, promotions or available appointments promotions serve as A great way to capture our consumer attention and convert them into customers.
Here’s what that process looks like for your customer, so a user follows a business that has a welcomed offer set up. The user is informed of what it means to follow your business via pop-up. The user can choose a dismiss to offer or choose to save it, and then the user can go back to the business profile and view the offer when they are ready to use it. Alright, there’s three ways, so we can create an offer all right.
So the first one is click the Create a welcome offer from the home screen. I find that to be very aptly named. The second way is to set up a welcome offer in the profile editor screen, and the third way is to click create offer during the first time use prompt. Now that we’ve decided to create an offer when we’ve navigated our way to the starting point. There are just four steps in creating the offer.
The first one is to enter information about the offer. Next, you want to add a photo, and then third, you want to add a title and description to what your offer is. The last one is to view the welcome offer and double check the details, and then click publish another useful feature in Google. My business is the posts feature which allows merchants to post live updates directly on their business profile.
We briefly discussed post earlier in this workshop posts serve as a great way to keep loyal customers up-to-date on new products or service launches or other good information for your business. So when customers have more access to your business information and updates, they can make better decisions. As they browse, this allows you to directly communicate with your local customers to improve your customer experience with timely information to promote your sales, specials special events, news and new offers.
This also allows you to engage with your customers through articles and photos. Post can be created from your computer or from your phone on your computer sign into Google my business or open the Google, my business app on your phone or tablet. If you have multiple locations after you sign in you’re, going to need to select the location you’d like to manage and then click posts from the menu at the top of the page choose the type of post you’d like to create from the options.
Given the options to add photos, articles text, events offers and a button to your post appear, there click each field and enter the relevant information to see a preview of your post click preview and, if you’re happy with your preview in the top right click publish and If you’d like to change your post in the top left, click back edit, your draft until you’re, ready to publish and then click publish a few ways to use posts, though, are like a what’s new post.
What’s new post is one that provides general information about your business. You can include a photo article link, a call to action, button or other information. For example, a restaurant could make a post to promote a new menu item or in this example, honest Seoul. Yoga announced a new yoga studio, location, product post or the post that emphasize a specific product that your business sells. Product posts require a title, a photo or article.
You can then also include a call to action, button and other information, and then we have offer pose offer posts are ones that provide promotional sales or offers from your business offer posts require a title and a start and end date. A view offer call to action. Button is automatically added to pose and you can also include a photo a article, a coupon code, a link as well as terms and conditions with that pose.
This is a great seasonal. This is a great method for getting seasonal offers out there. One more idea: you can use poast to highlight important business information. This last post shows on insole yogas hours of operation, and you can create a post like this and include additional information that might help customers. So, for example, last year, specifically my family, on Black Friday, we were out trying to do some shopping.
You know get an early start to the season and trying to figure out the hours of operation for not just stores, but also restaurants, that we were in the vicinity of was really difficult. Unless you went to the store and saw the sign in the window. But the using this post, you can announce to all your followers. What your hours of operation are on those special days posts appear in your business profile and search and maps.
They you can create posts from Google, my business app on your phone or tablet or from the web dashboard using a laptop or desktop. You can also see how posts are influencing potential customers by reviewing their activity from the Google. My business dashboard, which draw it brings us to our last topic today. So our final topic today is how a business can use the insights feature in Google, my business to drive in-store and online traffic.
Many customers find businesses through Google search and maps. Google. My business insights focuses on how customers find your listing on search and maps and what they do after they find it think of this as an understanding the story of your customer, where they’re from and how they come to interact with your business. Ok, so there’s a lot of different types of insights. Some of the insights provides you different ways to understand how customers interact with your listing, so the the first one how customers find your profile.
It shows how many customers found you in a direct search. In other words, they search for your business name or address versus a discovery search, which is where they saw for a category a product or service, and your profile happened to appear. The next one is search queries which is available on the web version, but not available on the app to view search queries show you the queries that were used to find the business on Google, where customers found you on Google, Google search versus Google Maps the next One is customer actions, so this shows you what searchers did once they found your profile in Google.
The actions include that they visit your website. Did their request request directions that they call you? Did they just view your photos? The next one is Direction. Requests you’ll see your location pinned on the map and a heat map that shows the most popular places from which people ask Google Maps for driving directions to your address. The total number of requests, broken down by city or neighborhood are displayed as well.
The next insight is phone calls when and how how often searchers called your business via the Google business profile on Google, you can view trends by day of the week or time of day, and then the last one will talk about today’s photos. This is the number of photos associated with your profile and how often their view compared to your photos of businesses similar to yours, all right, so we’re going to dive in a bit into three of these available insights and so in the insights tab.
You can track common terms and search trends for your business. These queries should help you create better pose with Google and even ads to engage your customers search. Queries focus on the terms that your customers use to find your business on local search and maps. You’ll see the queries used in the last week last month, or even the last quarter, but to protect users. Privacy you’ll only see the queries that meet our privacy threshold all right.
So the next section here shows how customers behave after they found your listing on Google. The graph shows you how many customers completed the following types of actions when viewing your listing that they visit the website. A customer views your website, and this is displayed as website actions on the bulk report. Did they request your directions? This is where a customer requested directions to your business, and this is displayed as directions.
Actions on the bulk report did they call you. This is clearly where a customer called your business and displays as phone call actions on the bulk report and then there’s a total actions. The total customer actions for website directions and phone to view how many customers completed an action on a specific day. You simply need to select the data you’re interested in and so on. The desktop you just place the cursor over the day and on mobile you just tap the day and to the right of the graph click, the checkboxes to turn on or off the various filters.
Now the graph displays a total number of times anyone clicked one of the actions so whether they just clicked request, directions or place a call. This is going to show you any one that clicked it. So this means that single user can request directions to a business 100 times in a single day, and we would show you that a hundred requests were made in that one day. The next section here shows where customers are when they request directions to your business.
So on the map displayed you’ll, see your location pinned and the popular places your customers are when are are when they ask Google Maps for directions to your address. The total number of requests, broken down by city or neighborhood are displayed as well. You can zoom in and out on the map using the controls in the bottom right corner. Now the graph displays a number of unique users in each source, location, so by postcode or city or even country.
So this means that a single user can request directions to business 100 times in a time period, but we would only show one request for that person. Okay, in today’s workshop, we discussed how businesses can use Google my business to establish a local online presence, build a loyal customer base, highlight what makes a service or product unique and help drive more in-store and online traffic for hands-on support.
With any of the topics we discussed today visit the small business pros, comm and a schedule of one-on-one with a small business pro today, small business pros offers a quick and easy way for you to optimize. Your online services use your existing data to make more strategic decisions and resolve your issues in real time. You can find more free online business tools that grow. Google, / veteran lead as a reminder.
If you have questions you can get those questions answered using the hashtag hash vet LED livestream for a chance. I have your questions. Answered live next up, we’ll chat with karina conley from the veteran business outreach center, which is partially funded by the Small Business Administration, about the importance of National Veterans, Small Business Week and additional tools and resources available to the veteran and small business community.
But first, let’s take a look at a veteran, led, small business story featuring Chris Nolte Army veteran and founder of electric bike company propel bikes. My name is Chris Nolte, I’m the founder of propel bites throughout school. I didn’t really have all that much direction. I thought the idea of going into the military when I returned from overseas, I returned with the back injury. I really spent most of my time at home, just kind of feeling broken.
A friend of mine got an electric bike that built went up for myself and then suddenly, I’m mobile again. So I ended up starting this electric bike business and I knew that if I was to grow this business, so it’s going to do it all on the web. Recently, we added the bet led attribute: you’ve actually seen an increase of business specifically for people that want to support veteran owned businesses.
The first year we sold about 25 bikes, and last year we sold about a thousand everybody that found us. They found us on Google. What I do today, it’s very fulfilling it’s kind of a new mission for me and welcome back and wow. That was an awesome story Congrats to Chris and all of his success would propel bikes. Now we want to welcome our special guest Karina Connelly, who serves as a chief executive officer for the veterans business Outreach Center serving California and Nevada, so welcome Karina yeah.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, the Small Business Administration, your work with V Bock and the importance of National Veterans Small Business Week? Absolutely, and thank you so much for having me on today to celebrate the National Veterans Small Business Week. You know it’s just just a little fun fact that there’s over 2.9 million veteran businesses out there in our great nation that contributors over 1 trillion dollars over 1 trillion dollars with a revenue to our local economy.
So imagine that as a whole. So again, I am really humbled and honored to serve as a CEO for the veterans business Outreach Center. We are a 501 C 3 nonprofit organization were partially funded to the US Small Business Administration and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Our program is really designed to be able to assist veterans in their initiatives to either start sustain or expand a small businesses initiative.
So the services that we offer are complementary because they’re paid by your public tax dollars and there’s three forms of services that we offer. The first one is: we offer complimentary one-to-one small business, consulting services, so let’s say, for example, you’re a veteran and you’re coming to our organization and you’re looking to either start a business. So what our process is is that we are designed to take a look at you as a person as a whole and identify what your learning style is, and then our counselors are trained to adapt to what your learning style is.
The reason why we do that is because of the fact that we want to alleviate starting a business can be really stressful and, with stress, is fear right. So we want to be able to alleviate that emotion called we call it the false evidence that appears real mentality, so we can adapt to whatever your learning style is to assist you in your endeavor to to do the evaluation, a reality therapy of starting a business Or if you’re an existing business and you’re looking to grow, or it is to seyn or to put together as a session plan, we will also adapt to whatever your business needs are, and our consulting services are done in a couple of different capacities.
The first one is, it can be telephonically done or we can do. We use our WebEx where we can actually FaceTime with you right. So then, you can face up the information that you’re reviewing with the counselor and also through that consultation review clash, flow projections, creating a strategic plan building a website whatever. That initiative is that we are doing with you and then the other one is obviously in person.
So we have an office which is our law offices located in Sacramento California. So that’s why we offer the different platforms, because everybody has most. Everybody has a smartphone, a computer where they can go ahead and log on, and it’s more effective for them to do that. The other service that we offer is over 200 trainings on an annualized basis. One of the signature programs is created by SBA.
It’s called the boots to business program. You went through that during your transition. Yes, so, as you know, then that program has eight modules and it really walks you through the conceptual idea of starting a business right to the fiscal financial management piece of it to the operational piece of it, to creating that that strategic plan or that business plan. Depending on what generation you are right and it gives you a snapshot view, so it allows you to be able to identify if entrepreneurship is something that is right for you, so it really just opens your eyes up to say.
Ok, this is something that I think that I might want to be able to do, but when a person goes through that program, where ever they were ever their home bases after their they come out of the military, then they can contact one of the 22v blocks That are nationwide, which can be easily accessible on the sba.Gov website, and so each one of those programs are those V box. Centers will tailor their services to whatever your specific needs are, and then the last service that we offer is we host conferences, which are one to three day conferences and they have a community-based focus.
So, for example, we just had a small business and dvbe summit dvbe in the government. You know we use lots of acronyms, which means disabled veteran business enterprise, and so it was a small business one day summit and it was part of the National Veterans Small Business Week celebration, and so with that we had our best practices, businesses that have come through The veterans Business Outreach Center program, some of them are still small businesses and some of them are actually medium-sized businesses, so we helped them grow and foster their business through either that neophyte level all the way through succession planning.
So that’s what the V buck programs do. So with that best practices, the audience had an opportunity to engage based upon their industry sector. What were best practices, what they would have done differently and what worked well for them, then the other component that we had is we had an economic future forecasting which talked about what are the economic trends which are so viable to a small business owner when you’re Creating your strategic plan or direction is if this is what my business initiative is going to be, then how is it going to fit within the marketplace in the demographic area that I serve or if its global, then, how does that fit globally as a whole yeah? So it’s interesting and and one of the things that came up so I’m a veteran you know, thank you, and so I know we’ve got a lot of veterans who are reading today, Wow.
So one of the things that comes up a lot especially doing a transition is the idea that we’re not quite ready yet and so at what stage from ideation creation. You know like that. I have an idea when I start a business, I’m actually operating a what stage should I come see you and your your team? That’s an excellent question. So, to be quite frank, it doesn’t matter what stage in the game you are because the veterans business outreach centers are designed to assist you on wherever you are specifically and whatever that cycle of starting a business or growing a business.
So, at any point time you can connect with your local vibha office. They’ll do a needs assessment to figure out where you are specifically. So if you’re a startup right, we want to vet the concept that the idea we want to determine whether or not the idea. By doing some market research is going to fit within the demographic area that you’re looking to to host your business. So let’s say you’re going to be starting.
I don’t know pick something underwater, basket-weaving, okay, right and you want to have a retail site that is in so you’re going to build a tank, this whole retail facility. So what we want to do is we want to take a look at what businesses and what can economically and trends is going to impact your business number one. So that’s the first thing so with your local municipality. What is the five-year plan for that? For that infrastructure, for that municipality, that’s going to support your business or is there another business? That’s similar! That’s a box chain! That’s going to come in! That’s going to have the same business initiative that you’re going to do, and it’s not going to be your direct competition and, what’s the with the mile radius of that the other part of it is that taking a look at the economic research, we have access to A phenomenal program that SBA provides to ssv bucks is called IBISWorld and I was word world allows us to pull economic trends, so we can assist you and give you the information that you need to be able to value your business concept, and/or idea.
So that might be an initiative marketplace of what you’re doing, but we want to make certain where your sales going to come from. Are you going to? Are you going to foster your relationships and do contracts with corporations? Are you looking for the general population sector or is it a combination of how are you going to generate that revenue and what does that strategic plan look like operationally financially to your marketing to your branding, to your succession planning as well, so one of the things That comes up is going back to my underwater basket-weaving, so in my head, I’m going to do five billion dollars of revenue in the first week.
Yes, if I bring that plan to you, are they going to help me gauge some of that, so we’re going to give you reality. Therapy is what I’m going to call it reality, they’re right, so we’re going to take a look at your industry sector right and what is reasonable cash flow that you’re going to generate. So if you come in a new, unless you have a contract with maybe a major health care or a for-profit organization, that’s going to say we’re going to give you a contract for that dollar amount and that’s going to solidify your revenue right.
But it also depends on the terms and the conditions of that contract. So we we sit down with you and we take a look at what your owners infusion is right, because you have to have working capital, you have to have sustainability, and so that’s why your cash flow projection is really important because it talks about your different revenue Streams right and you can’t start out a business with five million.
No, I mean we’re. Could you have something that supports that in evidence that, because more than likely, if you’re going to start out a business, that’s going to have five million dollars. You said within the first year first week first week: that’s you know what that’s very believing it’s coming at you, so you must be using Google right and you know it it’s to help you with that. So what we will do is we need to make certain that you have enough money to cash flow, your business, okay right, so you have a five million dollar contract you’re going to perform it in the one week.
So how are you going to afford to have money in the bank? That’s either your own owners infusion or a line, a credit established or some kind of funding to support that contract, because more than likely contracts don’t get paid until 90 to 180 days out, depending on the where it where it starts. So what we’re going to do is take a look again at your industry sector. What is reasonable in that industry sector? What are some past performance who’s, your competition, so a mini MBA program.
We call it the SWOT analysis right. What are their strengths? What are the, what are the weaknesses, what we’re going to call it areas of improvement right? What are the opportunities for your business and what are the threats to your business? So SWOT analysis? Okay, yes, yes, and so we’re going to take a look at that and determine what is a reasonable cost for the services that you’re offering or the products that you’re offering.
So for your basket-weaving business? Is it just going to be isolated to a certain demographic area, or is it going to be or national? Well, I just presumed that I would put it online and make my 5 million dollars a week so again we’ll take it back to reality therapy. So what will happen is all of our consultants in our program have an MBA. We have some that are CPAs as well, so we have you sit down with the consultant, take a look at your industry sector and put together a cash flow projection.
That’s reasonable! Okay! Right we’re going to give you that’s what I call it the reality therapy and though the services are complimentary, you’re not going to do the work for you we’re going to mentor you and guide you through that process. So the energy and effort that you put into it is the rate of return that you’re going to get out of it. Oh perfect, we have a lot of people that come in and they want us to do the work.
But if we do the work for you, then how are you going to successfully own and operate your business fair point? What? But that brings me to an interesting question. So I know a lot of veterans are thinking about starting their own business as they get out. Yes, what are the value that you see that a veteran brings to starting up their own business? That’s a really an excellent question, so you being a military member.
You know the Department of Defense spends billions of dollars of training, military members right with their standard operating procedures and also how to be able to handle situations that are stressful situations right. You have a ready action plan. So that’s what makes a veteran owner business owners so successful. I think you’re at the top 90 percentile a success ratio of them succeeding and it’s also predicated on the industry sector as well, but because they’ve been trained and it’s how they take so, let’s say: you’re a veteran you’ve recently transitioned out and you’re.
Looking to start a business or you’re already in a partnership in a business right, so what we want to do is take a look at what they needs. Assessment are with your business, where you’re going to grow it or how you’re going to start it and we’re going to take that experience, maybe you’re starting a business in whatever experience you have in the military. You want to transition that experience into corporate America and to start your business and we’ve helped many many many clients through that threshold from they come in.
They have a conceptual idea. This is what I did in the military. I was in charge of supply did supply chain, and I know that I could get supplies from point A to point B, so we actually have a client that that came through this program about four years ago. They started out with a conceptual idea and now they’re running over 22 million dollars in contracts, but we were, but they allowed us to do our job by guiding them and mentoring them through that whole process.
So so any business can be successful right if you, if you plan and you strategize, but that plan is just used as a barometer and because of the fact that things happen in business when you’re when you’re an entrepreneur – and you start out – you wear many – many Hats, you might be the CEO but you’re, also the janitor right, which every job is equally important. You can be Accounts Payable, customer service, you can be the sales department as well and you can be your human human resources department as well.
So what we take? A look that really is what your bandwidth and what your skillset level is, and to help you to take to those areas that you don’t have that bandwidth to fill those areas either with collaborative partners or resources. That will give you what you need to have a solid foundation, but it’s up to you to take the advice and to implement the advice. We can only give you the advice and we don’t make decisions for you.
Sorry, that’s good. No, it sounds really great about especially about guiding us through in a non-judgmental way, like that’s, really important. What, if my idea is super brand new mmm-hmm secret? I don’t want anyone to know about it. There’s a confidentiality absolutely so, just like I mentioned earlier, so the consulting services that we offer are confidential, just like a bank fiduciary relationship.
So when you register for services with our organization, we have a confidentiality statement and also in there it describes to that. What that level of confidentiality is all of our consultants and all of our staff members also have to sign a confidentiality statement on an annualized basis and we train what that confidentiality means. So let’s say you start your starting a business and you have a friend who’s starting the same business and that friend calls in because they want to find out about your business initiative.
So what we’re going to do just like what a bank does or just like, if you have a medical care provider, they’re, going to verify that it’s you, so we will ask them a series of questions like the last four years. Your social security number will branch and military. So there’s certain cue questions that we ask them, because we have access to that information to verify that when we’re doing a telephonic consultation or we’re doing or someone’s just calling in that.
We know that we’re connecting with you and speaking with you, okay, so yeah. So all right, this one is on behalf of my wife. Yes, what options are there available for military spouses so so they’re the same opportunities for military spouses for entrepreneurial training services through the Vblock programs, as if you, the veteran that came through as simple as that, so we support veterans of all eras, transitional military members.
Reservists Guard members and spouses, and so if your spouse is going to be in business with you, we will have you sign an authorization of release form because we serve the veteran right and then your wife would register for service as well, and we would onboard her The same way that we onboard you and so the same thing, if you are a veteran business owner and you have a key management team right, your key management team would register for services.
You would sign an authorization form for each one of them and then we would work with you as a team that doesn’t mean that they can receive the services in lieu of you as the veteran it’s in collaboration. So we could build capacity for you and your business or with you. I should say right so, okay. So what if my business isn’t five million dollars a week? What, if it’s really only about twenty thirty thousand a year? Do you guys still help with that? So yes, so again, we it doesn’t matter the size of your business, whether you’re, a micro, business or you’re, a small business or you’ve generated no revenue whatsoever.
We’re here to guide you to mentor you and to support you if you’re starting, growing, sustaining and all the way through an exit strategy and even through the exit strategy. If you’re looking to bring in another veteran to take over your business, we mentor both of you in that transition period. Right because we want to make certain that it’s fluid and that it’s successful for both of you and we also help with the evaluation of an acquisition of a business.
So our services are really broad. So it’s just not business planning, right and strategic planning. It’s all about acquisition with acquisitions and mergers. Access to capital is a big one. So well actually my next question so access to capital is one of the greatest hurdles that small businesses have right so because it’s all predicated upon the business itself. What is the owners infusion? What cash do you bring to the table? Not you going down and getting a credit card taking a cash advance.
That’s not cash! That doesn’t count right. Well, it counts, but it’s not true owners in fusion. What collateralization so there’s different types of financing that’s available, but financing for a small business is unique to the business. It’s not like you’re going to go, buy a house and you’re going to give them your your w-2s and your last year’s w-2s. Your 30 days bank statements and your last 30 days pay stubs it’s different.
It’s uniquely designed and underwritten based upon the industry sector, your business, what you say in your strategic direction or your plan, what your business is going to do and with those cash flow projections. Again, I’m going to go back to the fiscal wheelhouse, whatever those projections say, are they reasonable with the industry sector and do they make sense based upon? What’s your marketing plan in is your branding analysis and whatever those different revenue streams are going to be.
So we take a look at not only you as a person as a whole. We take a look at your business as a whole as well, and then that’s how we guide you. So it doesn’t matter if you’re starting sustaining growing since we’ve had people their survival mode right. We’ve had veterans that are deployed and we’re helping them work with their business owner back in the States and we’re doing it telephonically or emailing, so their business is sustainable when they return ok.
So this is my last question for you before we move on. So I know you’re with the BOC. Yes, not all of our viewers are here in California. Yes, how do they go about getting the access it? Can they get that excessive? Absolutely absolutely so SBA is, is a federal agency. It’s called the small US Small Business Administration and SBA has numerous programs for four small people or individuals that are looking to start sustain or expand a small business initiative, because small businesses are the economic engine of our great economy at the at the end of the Day it all boils down to that and with that being said, if you go to the website at WWF, be a govt, that’s wws be a gov and then the Office of Veterans, Business Development is the program that funds and is responsible for the VBox centers nationwide.
Alice Tammy yeah. Ok! Well, great! So thank you so much Corinna, if you don’t mind, staying with me, we’ll go through soon a so now we’re going to take a few questions live from Twitter. As a reminder, if you have questions you can get those questions answered using the hashtag hash, vet LED livestream on Twitter all right, let’s hop into our first question so, and we’re excited what’s the first one ooh okay, this one is from the borough of Manhattan Community College, what would you recommend if founders do not have a physical location and want to use grow with Google all right? So, unfortunately, you cannot use Google my business as an online, only business, but you can market your business using SEO and Google Ads we’ve covered.
Both these topics in depth in our previous live streams, which you can access at G dot, Co, slash livestreams all right. That’s an excellent question. All right, let’s see here what else we got! Question number two question number two: oh okay, here’s one for Ukrainian! So this one is what’s the difference between V, bak and SBA, so the veterans business outreach centers are partially funded from the US Small Business Administration due to public law.
106. 5-0. All of the 22 V box centers nationwide are some are nonprofit organizations. 501 C 3 s – some of them are also connected with local community colleges or and/or state universities on their economic development wing, so their own. The each one of them are independently operated, but we are grantees from the US Small Business Administration through the office of veterans, business development through the public law 106 5-0, which started in 2004 so working together.
Yes, so basically SBA is the federal agency that allows us to be able to be the boots on the ground to provide those direct service deliverables, the confidential, consulting services, the over 200 training platforms on an annualized basis and then the conference’s that we host okay, cool. All right question number three: yes, this one coming from Clayton library: how can vets get involved with bunker labs in Atlanta all right? Well, actually, there’s actually no in Atlanta tomorrow, which is still accepting RSVPs for a launch event between Google for startups and bunker labs.
You can get involved by going to bunker labs website at Bunker. Labs, org and bunker labs is one of our collaborative partners Connor, who is the executive director? Yes, so the V pop programs collaborate with a lot of the nonprofit organizations and for-profit Avett agencies that provide those direct service deliverables. So that’s great that you can access a lot of different resources without owning all of them.
That’s correct, so it takes so they take. They say it takes a village right to raise a child, so it takes a village or a multitude of different agencies. Nonprofit organizations, both federal state, local municipalities, institutions of higher education to be able to serve our constituency base. So we all work together and collaborate. Okay. Next question here is from Avery from Madison Wisconsin.
All right are there more veteran specific workshops or lessons that you can recommend so I’ll. Take the first part if you want to connect partner, okay, so, as mentioned before grow with Google just launched a resource hub. Where veterans like, like War veterans, can find products tools and lessons to start or grow their businesses. One resource is the primer app primer, offers quick and easy to understand business and marketing lessons you can find topics like creating a business plan, increasing sales, managing finances and more primer also offers customers mini courses tailored to veterans and military spouses that you can find by Searching veteran led or mill spouse biz with a Z in the app the URL is grow.
Google, slash veteran ledge, very nice. So I’m going to add to that. If I may please, so, there are a lot of different resources out there for individuals for their small businesses. So if you there’s a small business development center, which is also also funded by the Small Business Administration. So if you’re looking to do government contracting as well procurement, technical assistance, centers as well, they provide specifically contracting opportunities if you’re looking to grow and expand your business.
I’m International Trade, Centers of International Trade Organization, the Service Corps of retired executives as well, and the one business centers I know score scores. I was okay, so that’s an excellent question, though yeah thank you uh. Why do we have here Sasha from Des Moines, alright Sasha? What do you have this? Alright? What’s the difference between Google, my business and things like Google Places for business, Google business profile, Google listings Google+ business pages? Okay, I can get that one: okay, Google, my business lets you take advantage of your business pro or businesses presence on Google.
So with your Google, my business account you can manage and update your business profile and build a website to attract, engage more customers. Google, my business business profile, encompasses what was once known as Google Places for business the Google listings and replaces a Google+ business page, so it consolidates and replaces it oh here we go. This one is from from Scott. It says: is there a search feature to make the veteran badge searchable and how do we shop and do business with that led businesses locally, all right I’ll, take this one.
The the attribute is not currently searchable. The attribute will show up in two places, so in search when you’re searching for a place using an android mobile device, users will see the attributes like veteran lead on the profile and when searching for our place using the iOS mobile device, users will would need to Use the chrome app in order to find a place, and then they will see the attribute in the highlight section on maps on maps, all users will need to open a business listing and tap the two two line: description of the business, to see the attributes associated With that business, so it’s more than abbreviate version on the maps versus when you go and do a search and see here, mmm, okay, so this one’s for you, okay, all right! This one is from Sylvia in Albuquerque.
I only have a business idea right now. What are some things I need to consider before start veteran-owned business? Well, that’s an excellent question. So the my first and foremost recommendation for you is to get in to sign up for services with a local Small Business Development Center, a veteran’s business outreach center. So they can actually help you and/or score to vet, that process of what your concept or what your idea is and how and how that concept or whatever the idea is that you have how it fits within the marketplace.
So the most important thing is get to the local resource partner: either a veteran’s business outreach center. You can find them on the SBA gov website and let those professionals assist you to help. You mentor you to walk you through and evaluate that concept, or that idea right as you want to find out whether or not is going to be feasible or not, feasible, absolutely and also plug score here from the SBA.
So when I was a mentor over there a lot of the times we would take at businesses that were still in the idea phase and didn’t really have anything fleshed out and we would help walk them to the flushing. But in the same town we weren’t going to do the work for you. We would give you the tools and you need to go. Do the legwork and that’s where we, when I go back to the needs assessment. Just like you go to a health provider they’re going to do a needs assessment based upon your health needs, so we do a needs assessment based upon your business needs.
What is your experience in the industry sector? What do you bring to the table of your knowledge because it’s one thing to have a conceptual idea, but not had that subject matter expertise to be able to perform the deliverables? So then we have to identify. Can we find someone who has that subject-matter expertise that you can hire or be your partner in that business? So it’s just basic evaluation.
So then that way, the reason when we offer the services is, we don’t want you to start a business and we’ve had people. Do this they come in, they go. We don’t to create a plan right, we’re just going to start a business, so they’ll come in. They’ll say this is an excellent service, we’ll start them in the direction, but they don’t want to create a strategic plan. What they want to do is they go out.
They sign a lease agreement, they’re in a retail storefront, and then they come back six or nine months later saying: hey. We don’t have enough money to cash flow. So then, what we do is we take a look at either a sustainability plan or a survival plan or an exit strategy, whatever their particular situation is. So that’s why these resources are so important, they’re, complementary, they’re paid by your public tax dollars.
These are people who are, they are certified the professionals they know their industry sector in and out and they’re there to guide you and mentor you. So the first thing that I would do is to go to sba.Gov, find your local resource partner, whether it’s a V Bach and SBDC, a woman’s business center or score whatever it might be and then get services from them. Let them guide you and mentor you through that process, so you can make good valid business decisions outstanding yeah.
So it’s a great question. So the next one is a Clinton library. Can you briefly briefly discuss the Patriot boot camp partnership or okay yeah? I can. I can do this one, so our our Google, for starters partnership will pair startups, founded by veterans and military spouses in the Patriot Mentor Program, with advisors from Google to provide product expertise. We’re especially excited to support the Patriot boot camp as they inspire and equip additional military spouse and veteran founders to succeed.
Wow. We got a lot of questions all of a sudden. It’s because you’re doing a fabulous job. Alright, so this one is from Justine from New York. She is Google Reserve the same as the appointment booking feature. Okay, no, but they do work together, so Reserve at Google connects to a wide variety of online services that let you book reserve and get things done like mind. Body Trip Advisor book, see him anymore.
So if you choose those services, it automatically connects you to your Google, my business business profile very nice all right. This uh got another one here from Justine nope, that’s a copy there. This one’s from Lily from New York, okay, New York is live. I know they’re. Definitely here in force is there a one-stop place where I can learn more about Google’s resources for veterans? Yes, there is actually so please visit grow.
Google, slash veteran lead where you can find grow at Google’s free tools and resources for veteran, led businesses and again that’s Gro. Google, slash veteran lead, that’s an excellent question. I know they’re coming in, like that. They’re definitely woken up so this one. Next, one is a Julia from Ann Arbor. Yes, all right, so I own a business, and one of my employees is in charge of responding to text messages that come in from Google.
My business is there any way that I can monitor the messages? Okay, so no, but you can see the average response time if you have any have an Android device reports in messaging insights will display the average wait time for a message response using the last 28 days of data to see the reports just go on your Android Phone or tablet open the Google, my business app and tap customers and then messages, and you should better get a report all right.
Well, I think that’s about all the time we have for today, and I hope that you found this information valuable. Thank you Karina. Thank you. Thank you for your service and inviting me out today. No thank you and thank you for joining us and thank you all for attending the live stream from all of us here at Google. I want to say a happy National Veterans Small Business Week. Thank you.
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