by Woodrow D. Wollesen
To maximize small business success, the “real world” adage to “follow the money” is 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), are 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 that is wide open. It’s a relatively untapped marketplace where qualified vet business owners of all sizes can find endless contract potentials.
The federal government’s reputation to either efficiently and/or credibly manage anything (much less certifications) remains fraught with widespread distrust in the private sectors – see, e.g., the VA itself, inefficiencies/unreliability/o
Private sector reliance upon federal certifications is not only suspect, but in some cases nonexistent.
“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
”There’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:
(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 there exists actual veteran ownership, control, and direct “hands on” operating and management.
In the “real business world” one precept remains rather constant overtime:
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.
Highly recommended for immediate consideration involving prevention and remedies regarding the above noted dilemmas:
In order to achieve credible and reliable certifications, “real world business” forensic experts across multiple disciples/fields (accounting, legal, business operations, financial, etc.) must investigate 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 reliable, credible certifications that are acceptable to all states and — corporate America;
*Consistent with the President’s mandate to immediately streamline all government programs/activities, all agencies should immediately consider getting out of the veteran certification process arenas; and
*Whatever the applicable governmental standards and policies (another matter for in-depth discussions), leave the certification processes to a pure 100% nonprofit entity whose sole/singular function/mission centers on providing/applying “real world” expertise. 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 reinventing the wheel.
There already exists a well-staffed operating national veteran nonprofit dedicated entirely to those very same goals/requirements with a significant segment of corporate America directly on-board and fully supporting its existing programs and efforts – The National Veteran Business Development Council (“NVBDC”).
“Following the Money” is assuredly a step in the right direction for a quality veteran contract. However, knowing how and why to make the right choices within best business practices and financial acumen is critical. To avoid traps not only for certification purposes, but as well to garner the knowledge of 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 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.