If small business success is desired, the “real world” adage to “follow the money” would be highly recommended.
There exist two general pathways of choice for that effort:
First, what is usually touted as the most promising “bread crumb trail” (especially touted by the government itself), the federal dollar opportunities:
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has unique authority for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) set-aside and sole source contracts. E.g., htps://www.va.gov/osdbu/verification/.
Dollars at issue – total government spend – (contracting 2016) $472 billion and (2017 fiscal year) $114 billion of which there exist required target percentages (3% per PL 106-50) for veteran/disabled veteran awards. E.g., https://www.usaspending.gov/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=OverviewOfAwardsByFiscalYearTextView, see also, Vetrepreneur Magazine (January 2017 Issue) pages 11-14 http://victorymedia.com/tag/vetrepreneur-magazine-january-2017/
The next pathway in the “dollar trail” – US private or corporate sectors:
Whatever the measure chosen the magnitude of potential overall totals and resulting potential business contracting dollars quite literally dwarfs all federal contracting dollars combined as well for special categories. E.g., http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/07/capex-us-companies-spending-on-equipment-and-hiring.html; http://www.kiplinger.com/article/business/T019-C000-S010-retail-sales-consumer-spending-forecast.html.
Unlike the federal arenas (alleged mandated/targeted allotments for small business (e.g., veterans, minority, etc. biz owners), the private sectors represent an entire playing field which is quite literally wide open. It’s a relatively untapped marketplace where qualified vet business owners of all sizes might find. endless contract potentials.
Simply put, the federal government’s reputation to either efficiently and/or credibly manage anything (much less certifications remains fraught with widespread distrust abounding within the private sectors (e.g., the VA itself, inefficiencies/unreliability/outright ethical lapses across all sectors of governmental operations, $600 million in fraudulent contracts to non vet owned businesses https://www.va.gov/OSDBU/site_search.asp?QT=GAO, political/special interest influences, etc.). Private sector reliance upon federal certifications appear to be highly suspect if not an outright nonexistent proposition.
Certainly private sector areas for serious concerns revolve around “real world” applied ethical standards impacting reputation along with attendant timely and credible accountability for failures/errors, if any at all..
Unlike the federal government, private sector/corporate America must at all times studiously protect and maintain their reputations (goodwill) for all brands and identities (products and services).
Although there appears to be an extremely wide “welcome mat” for service disabled and veteran businesses qualified for contract opportunities, there is no room for “after the fact” discovered errors regarding proper certifications. Mistakes, frauds or misrepresentations within these areas can instantly damage reputations, create adverse publicity, and potentially harm markets positions/ brands.
“A good reputation is more valuable than money”. Publilius Syrus
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”. Benjamin Franklin
By contrast and rather ironically one might view governmental reputation concerns and/or attendant (alleged timely applied applications) accountability (in some quarters considered to be rather oxymoronic in nature) with extreme circumspection?
“The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal: a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other”. Ronald Reagan
” here’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the entire government working for you.” Will Rogers
“I don’t make jokes… I just watch the government and report the facts”. Will Rogers
Already there are states that wholly refuse to accept any federal government veteran certifications, instead employing their own standards and investigative processes for their contract opportunities.
Fundamentally the core issues that must in every case be re evaluated/re examined:
(1) verification for all veteran/disabled veteran identities/status and
(2) whether the enterprise in fact is actually veteran controlled/owned/operated?
Although Department of Defense and others allege to have reliable databases for verifying veteran identities/status and all related particulars (as well disabilities) such are hardly viewed as completely fool-proof .
The more important factor centers upon whether in fact there exists actual veteran ownership, control, and direct “hands on” operating/ management (as opposed to a follow through entity either directly or indirectly with real control being with and/ or benefits flowing elsewhere)?
In the “real business world” one precept remains rather constant over time:
For any and all (federal or private) contract opportunities, if the dollars at issue are sizable enough and/or provide leverage for acquiring such elsewhere, there will always be highly trained professionals ready, able, and willing to evade, go around, through, and/or over any and all laws, regulations, or guidelines related to specially certified/allocated awards (as well after contract).
Highly recommended for immediate consideration involving prevention and remedies regarding the above noted dilemmas:
In order to achieve credible and reliable certifications such require “real world business” forensic experts across multiple disciples/fields (accounting, legal, business operations, financial, etc.) investigating and throughout all processes.
“One cannot always tell what’s inside a book by its cover”!
Example: For those truly knowledgeable within the “real world of business and its “financial niceties” use of creative capital/funding structures/ mechanisms can exist to vest actual control elsewhere (either in whole or in part) of any business entity without owning a single share of stock.
Suggested remedies for consideration:
*To ensure real and enhanced veteran business opportunities across all genres/sectors it is essential that there exist in fact reliable, credible,certifications acceptable to/for all state and corporate America contract opportunities;
*Consistent with the President’s mandate to immediately institute actions to stream line all government programs/activities to achieve greater cost effective efficiencies that produce far better results (enhanced veteran business opportunities) all agencies should immediately consider getting out of the veteran certification process arenas; and
*Whatever the applicable governmental standards and policies (a whole other matter for in depth discussions) leave the certification processes to a pure 100% nonprofit entity whose sole/singular function/mission centers upon providing/applying “real world” expertise (preferably veteran as well forensically qualified) that will produce reliable/credible certifications fully acceptable to states and corporate America.
It might be noted that absolutely none of the above suggestions for implementation require any type of “re making of the wheel”?
There already exists a well staffed operating national veteran nonprofit dedicated entirely to those very same goals/requirements with an already significant segment of corporate America directly on board and fully supporting its existing programs and efforts – The National Veteran Business Development Council (“NVBDC”) http://nvbdc.org/
“Following the Money” is assuredly a first step in the right direction for quality veteran contract opportunities. However knowing how and why to make the right choices within “best business practices” and most importantly requisite “financial acumen” becomes a critical corollary. To avoid traps not only for certification purposes, but as well to garner the requisite knowledge respecting when and how to apply financial tools for every stage of the enterprise journey, either educate oneself or risk becoming another statistic, see e.g., http://www.ultimatefinancingguide.com/small-business-the-driving-engine-for-the-us-economy-facing-unparalleled-and-rising-risks/; see also http://www.ultimatefinancingguide.com/for-every-entrepreneur-biz-owner-real-world-facts-certain-fundamental-requisites-without-which-success-will-be-extremely-problematic/
There exists only one reputable “real world” source than can be readily downloaded onto any computer for that requisite insight and guidance – the only “real world” business financing encyclopedia (all key financing options) in existence. Download and see for yourself. Go to http://www.operationveteranempowerment.com/ http://www.opvetempower.com / http://www.ultimatefinancingguide.com/. Now also available with and/or through Veteran Business Outreach Centers across the nation
* Woodrow D. Wollesen – US Army Veteran, nationally recognized small business financing expert, Founder/Chairman – American Empowerment DBA Operation Veteran Empowerment (veteran 501 ( C) (3) nonprofit dedicated entirely to knowledge empowerment), former co-managing partner, national law firm (top floor of the Watergate Office bldg.) distinguished national trial attorney/appellate counsel recognized investigative/forensic expertise within some the most complicated/technical areas of the law including federal anti-trust laws – practicing nationwide before state/federal regulatory agencies, state/federal trial courts, & courts of appeal, including personal appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court; former federal lead trial attorney representing all of the federal executive agencies before state/federal regulatory environs – further professional profile at LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/pub/woodrow-wollesen/11/147/652/; http://www.ultimatefinancingguide.com/about-the-author/