Small Business Spotlight: Combat to Career with VetSource
We spoke with Bob Troutwine about VetSource’s vision to provide job training and placement support for veterans in across all industries. Read how VetSource assists veterans in developing the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs.
How did VetSource begin?
I graduated from the West Point in 1996, and I medically retired as a major in 2009 after being injured conducting combat operations in Korea. I start a residential renovation company while I was active in the Army. After I retired, I gave construction development a try. Since then, I have operated several businesses in multiple industries in Cincinnati Later I started working with a local group of veteran-owned businesses to aid veterans who were transitioning out of the Services. This lead to the idea for a business that helps veterans transition into the private sector.
How does VetSource help veterans transition from service to a career?
We offer start-up business assistance, in the form of placement and job training. We have office with all kind of facilities to support this mission. We have a policy not to turn away any veteran in need of help. We have extended our support by partner with private and public organizations, creating a network extension to VetSource.
We act as a veteran-focused staffing company in that we match company's job requirements to our veterans' skill sets and experiences. We also work with regulatory organizations, such as OSHA, to ensure our veterans have the right certifications for the opportunity.
We also work with our veterans to help them through essential personal- and business-life skills, such as financial literacy. Previous education and specialized military training often leaves knowledge gaps around critical financial skills like budgeting, etc. Lastly we teach a change in mindset, from a military-focused thinking process to a private commercial one.
How does a military background help veterans run a business?
Military veterans have critical private sector skills and experience, such as organization, leadership, perseverance, and operations. They also have extensive people skills and crisis management experience. Sure the environment is vastly different between combat operations and the commercial marketplace, however the core skills required to succeed in both are applicable.
Can you share a veteran’s success story from working with VetSource?
In our first year, a former Army ranger, Neil Sumner was probably our best "poster child", so to speak. He had an interest and background so he launched a musician and composer career post separation fro the Army, and he has gone on to releasing his first album, SOLIDER, coming out soon.
Another success story is a husband and wife partnership to develop a franchise model for a business they started after retirements - Hot Dogz. Not only did they create the restaurant concept and bring it into reality, but they branded and modeled it into a franchise business that can be replicated and sold. VetSource helped them with the resources necessary to expand their business model into franchising.
How can people help or get involved with VetSource?
We have many private and public sector partners but are always looking for more. We need a diverse set of industry and government partners in order to provide the variety of support services our veterans needs when they transition from the military. We also need financial donations of course. Lastly, we can always use help in identifying vets that need our help but for whatever reason don't seek us out.
Small Business Spotlight: Prepping for Tax Season with Amzuri
James Marthan is CEO and chief product architect at Amzuri. Amzuri offers accounting software and service that provides the financial tools and data to help entrepreneurs grow their innovative ideas into successful businesses.
We talked with James Marthan about Amzuri’s time-saving accounting services and its approach to making life easier for busy entrepreneurs. Learn how small-business owners can save time – and prevent headaches – during tax season.
What is your background?
I have always been interested in business and entrepreneur. I think it is in my DNA because my parents and siblings have all been business owners. I founded Amzuri when I was 20 during college. I discovered the idea when first doing my taxes and learning out painful the process was.
Tell us more about how you started?
We launched in 2011 with a staff of veteran CFO-level accountants and financial consulting strategists. We provide accounting and tax services to all levels of organizations, from Fortune 500 to small, local businesses. We offer businesses of all size a complete tax and financial accounting service that allows them to focus on their core business.
How did you recognize the need for Amzuri services?
I recognized the new when I need the same type of services for previous business I had owned and operated. And, I saw a gap between this need and what the accounting service market had to offer. We are essentially accounting and tax business consultants with a set of automated services.
What sets Amzuri apart from companies with a similar services?
It is the hybrid service model we offer than differentiates us in the market. We combine accounting and tax professionals with high tech automated software solutions to offer our clients an unmatched solution. Our solutions focus on our clients' bottom line and not just "compliance", which most of our competitors only focus on. We are truly our clients' partner.
What common problems do businesses deal with relative to taxes?
Tax code knowledge, time, and procrastination. Businesses are too busy focusing on their core mission - providing a service or making a product - to be focused on taxes. There are so many competing priorities for most business, such as operations, sales, marketing, etc. to allow them to add taxes and accounting to the list.
Further, it doesn't really make sense for businesses to do their own taxes given the tax code complexity and the potential for errors, which could result in significant penalties or missed tax deductions/credits.
How do you sell a small-business owner on outsource accounting?
We merely leverage client referrals and recommendations - they are our best sales people. Further, we find we identify the best clients this way too, meaning ones that want and appreciate our services. However, when we do approach prospective clients, we simply demonstrate the value of our services and results with past performance case studies and metrics. We have before and after tax results to show new clients, as well as, can use their own tax data to demonstrate our value.