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Veteran's Small Business Resource Guide

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F or years, members of the National Guard and Reserve components of the United States armed forces have played a crucial role in preserving and protecting the American way of life. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, have made the Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Coast Guard personnel who make up the Guard and Reserve all the more essential to the United States' ability to engage in missions around the world. Because they help develop and promote small businesses in the United States, National Guard and Reserve members who own small businesses also play a critical role in the country's economic growth and stability. Small business ownership, especially when coupled with membership in the National Guard or the Reserves, often comes with significant challenges and sacrifices. Now, more than ever, National Guard and Reserve members are dealing with frequent and lengthy deployments both at home and abroad, making successful small business ownership an even tougher challenge. The Small Business Administration has developed this resource guide for members of the Reserve or National Guard who are also small business owners preparing to mobilize. If you are a small business owner facing mobilization, you will find important information in this guide and on the accompanying CD-ROM that will help prepare your business and your employees for your absence. Even if you are not currently designated for mobilization, this guide contains important information in preparing for this eventuality.
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Veteran’s Small Business
Resource Guide
1-800-U ASK SBA www.sba.gov/reservists www.sba.gov/vets

U.S. Small Business Administration
www.sba.gov/reservists
www.sba.gov/vets
1-800-U ASK SBA
2

Balancing Business and Deployment
Veterans Small Business Resource Guide
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction --------------------------------------------5
Checklist -------------------------------------------------7
Legal & Administrative Issues -----------------------9
Taxes --------------------------------------------------- 12
Financial ---------------------------------------------- 13
Marketing and Government Contracting ------- 19
Additional Resources -------------------------------- 21
Al SBA programs and services are offered to the public on a non discriminatory basis.

preparation taxes
legal marketing
healthcare financial

Introduction
For years, members of the National Guard and Veterans Business Development Officer on the Web
Reserve components of the United States
at: www.sba.gov/VETS/reps.html.
armed forces have played a crucial role in
preserving and protecting the American way of life.
The Importance of Preparation
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, have made the Soldiers,
Even if you don’t anticipate mobilization in the near
Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Coast Guard personnel
future, it is vitally important that you prepare your
who make up the Guard and Reserve all the more
business and employees for the potential that you
essential to the United States’ ability to engage in
could be deployed. A well prepared Small Business
missions around the world. Because they help develop
Mobilization Plan can make a big difference in how
and promote small businesses in the United States,
your business will fare in your absence. Developing
National Guard and Reserve members who own small
an effective plan before you mobilize offers you the
businesses also play a critical role in the country’s
best opportunity to organize your business and ensure
economic growth and stability. Small business
that it will remain secure while you carry out your
ownership, especially when coupled with membership
military duties.
in the National Guard or the Reserves, often comes
with significant challenges and sacrifices. Now, more
The following checklist will help you develop an
than ever, National Guard and Reserve members are
effective Small Business Mobilization Plan so your
dealing with frequent and lengthy deployments both
business remains stable during your deployment.
at home and abroad, making successful small business
Remember to plan for weekend drills, annual training
ownership an even tougher challenge.
and professional training, and assign someone to
execute the plan in the event that you are unable to
The Small Business Administration has developed
do so. It’s a good idea to update your Small Business
this resource guide for members of the Reserve or
Mobilization Plan annually and make sure it remains
National Guard who are also small business owners
accessible to the persons you choose to implement the
preparing to mobilize. If you are a small business
plan in your absence.
owner facing mobilization, you will find important
information in this guide and on the accompanying
Primary Business Concerns
CD-ROM that will help prepare your business
and your employees for your absence. Even if you
Before you mobilize, you must decide whether to
are not currently designated for mobilization, this
sustain or suspend business operations (mothball). If
guide contains important information in preparing
you decide to keep running your business, you will
for this eventuality.
need to designate a key manager to handle operations
in your absence. Moreover, regardless of your
As you prepare yourself and your business for
decision, you will also need to determine the physical
mobilization, you may want to contact the Office
status of your business by updating your inventory.
of Veterans Business Development at 202-205-6773.
The Office of Veterans Business Development can
Your key manager will act on your behalf during your
help you get in touch with the Veterans Business
absence. This is the person whom you will most likely
Development Officer located nearest to you.
designate as an agent on your power of attorney so
The Veterans Business Development Officer can
that he or she can make business decisions in your
connect you with business experts from a variety of
stead. Before you mobilize, you should be sure that
sources, including: Women’s Business Centers, Small
your vendors, creditors, and clients know who your
Business Development Centers, Veterans Business
key manager is and understand that your key manager
Outreach Centers and SCORE (Service Corps of
will be running the business while you’re gone.
Retired Executives). You can also access your local
5
Photograph on page 4, upper right, © DefenseLINK

Veterans Small Business Resource Guide
Taking an inventory will help you determine how
readiness plans, emergency loan applications,
much product you have on hand. The term inventory
business recovery, and other issues. Communicating
refers to all of your company’s assets. If you decide
with a SCORE counselor via e-mail in a mentoring
to mothball, you will need to know how many of your
relationship is a great way to get business help before,
assets must either be liquidated or placed in storage.
during, and after deployment. The SCORE Web site
You will also need to know how much money you
also features business plan and fi nance templates and
will spend on storage costs if you don’t liquidate all
how-to articles to aid your planning efforts. California
of your assets. If you decide to sustain operations,
SCORE chapters have formed an alliance with the
your key manager will fi nd an updated inventory to
California National Guard at www.calguard.ca.gov.
be very useful.
Nebraska SCORE chapters have formed a similar
partnership with the Nebraska National Guard at
Updating Your Business
www.neguard.com.
As you prepare for deployment, you may want to take
The Veterans Corporation offers low-cost training
a look at where your business is going. How long has
tools. Chartered by an act of Congress in 1999,
it been since you’ve invested in training for yourself
the Veterans Corporation provides small business
and your key employees? Just as computers and other
training, mentoring and entrepreneurial services
equipment periodically need to be upgraded, so do
to Veterans. The Veterans Corporation has created
your business techniques. Updating your business
the Veterans Entrepreneurial Training program
techniques and using the most modern resources
for Veterans who are starting or expanding their
available may help ease some of the burdens that you
businesses. While this program is not free, tuition
will surely deal with as you plan for your departure.
is kept very low because the Veterans Corporation
Free training is available from the SBA and SCORE.
subsidizes its cost. For more information about the
Both SCORE and the SBA have put together user
Veterans Entrepreneurial Training program, visit the
friendly Web sites that can help you get started on the
Veterans Corporation’s Web site at www.veteranscorp.
task of upgrading your business skills.
org/education/eduInt.aspx?id=122.
The SBA has a number of online courses available
that can help you and your key employees refi ne
your business skills. The courses cover a wide
variety of business topics and are provided free
of charge. You can access the SBA’s online course
offerings by visiting www.sba.gov/training/courses.
html#BUSINESSMANAGEMENT.
You may also want
to read the SBA’s article on sharpening your business
skills at www.sba.gov/managing/growth/skills.html.
SCORE is also a resource for small business owners
seeking free and confi dential business counseling
and low-cost business training workshops. SCORE
has 389 offi ces across the country. Call 1-800-634-
0245 to be referred to the SCORE offi ce in your
area or visit the SCORE Web site at www.score.
org/fi ndscore
to fi nd offi ce locations. You can meet
with a SCORE counselor in person or ask for advice
online at www.score.org/veteran.html. SCORE
counselors are prepared to help business owners
leaving and returning from active duty with business
6

U.S. Small Business Administration
Mobilization Preparation Checklist

Task
Point of Contact (POC) Phone Number
Primary Business Concerns
Decide whether to suspend or sustain operations
Designate key manager
Take inventory
Updating Your Business
Invest in training for yourself and your key managers
Legal and Administrative Concerns
Notify your legal and financial advisers about your deployment
or potential of future mobilization.
Assign power of attorney
USERRA
Leases
Review Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Review insurance status
Address the following:
Warranties/Guarantees: product, service, contract
Contracts and agreements: assignment, completion, non-
complete, confidentiality, nondisclosure, franchise
Contingent legal problems: litigation, disputes, judgments
Strategic alliance agreements and obligations
Labor union agreements
Meet with employees to discuss future company objectives
Thoroughly review your business and identify problem
areas
Review a list of assets and perform a physical inventory
Taxes
Notify IRS of your deployment status
Identify any unresolved tax issues
Check IRS for updated tax information
Meet with your accountant to organize your tax information
Other Financial Considerations
Review the financial portions of your updated business plan
(See administrative issues)
Determine financial needs prior to mobilization
Contact your lenders
Inform and request assistance from vendors and creditors
Loan deferral or interest rate restructuring as needed
Update listing in Dun & Bradstreet
Review credit report
Review and update all signature authorities
Review existing business plan or create a business plan
Check credit rating
Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL)
7

Mobilization Preparation Checklist - continued

Task
Point of Contact (POC) Phone Number
Healthcare Considerations
Determine eligibility for military transitional healthcare
Update your and your family’s status in the Defense Enrollment
Eligibility Referral System (DEERS)
Review civilian insurance policy and decide whether to
discontinue or change coverage
Change plans as appropriate and ensure proper enrollment/
disenrollment dates
Explore veterans service organizations and small business
association memberships for insurance plans
Marketing
Determine the needs of your current customers
Reanalyze your company’s competitive advantages in order to
update your market strategy
Determine the best way to satisfy your customers’ needs in the
current market
List all current and prospective customers
Summarize competitors’ products
Research your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses
Obtain copies of your competitors’ annual reports
Examine the strength of the current market
If applicable, notify your customers that your business will be
temporarily closing
Obtain and compare competitors’ annual reports for the
financial condition of businesses, market share, and insight into
future projects
Conduct market research to determine current market strength
for your business sector
List business in CCR (Central Contractor Registration system)
8

Legal & Admin

s you plan for deployment, you are very
business continues to operate in your absence, you
likely to encounter business-related legal
should be aware that it’s very important to maintain
and administrative issues. These potential
proper liability insurance coverage for the managers
issues are another good reason why you should
left behind to run the company. Liability coverage
carefully prepare a business plan before you mobilize.
will protect your business’s assets in case it is sued
Decisions must be made regarding insurance
for something it did or did not do that caused personal
coverage, powers of attorney and preparing your
injury or property damage to someone else. A liability
employees. Moreover, your mobilization will affect
insurance policy will have separate provisions,
how the business plan will need to be updated. It’s
including separate limits, for property damage and
in your best interest to try to get your legal and
personal injury caused to other persons. In some
administrative affairs in order as far in advance of
business situations, liability insurance coverage is
your deployment as possible. Keeping up with your
legally mandated; however, sometimes the amount of
legal and administrative affairs will not only benefit
coverage required by law is insufficient. Before you
you personally, but it will also put your business on
mobilize, be sure that you have purchased enough
firmer ground and improve overall military readiness.
liability insurance to protect your business and the
managers who are running it in your absence. Ideally,
Issues with Employees
your business should be structured to limit liability
Your mobilization will affect all stakeholders in
risks as much as possible. Look for potential problems
your business, including your customers, your
ahead of time and try to correct them so that liability
creditors, and your employees. To forestall problems,
is less likely to become an issue.
you should meet with your employees to discuss
You may also consider buying a commercial umbrella
how your mobilization could affect the company’s
policy to supplement your liability insurance. Think
operations and more importantly, how it might affect
of an umbrella policy as an extra layer of liability
their jobs. If your business continues to operate in
protection beyond that of your liability insurance
your absence, there will most likely be changes in
policy; it will provide additional insurance coverage
its management. Some people may be promoted,
once your primary insurance coverage is exhausted.
assigned different jobs, or laid off. Naturally, your
Since liability claims and court decisions involving
employees may be nervous about the potential
large sums of money are not uncommon, an umbrella
changes in management. They may also worry about
policy can mean the difference between a financially
what your mobilization could mean for their job
healthy business and bankruptcy. An insurance
security and stability.
agent can offer you more information about liability
A meeting with your employees to discuss the
insurance, or for Web-based information, visit www.
company’s operations during your deployment and
onlinewbc.gov/docs/finance/insure_types.html#liab.
your employees’ own plans for their futures may help
Key Manager Life Insurance
allay some apprehension. Use this opportunity to
review and update your employees’ personnel records.
Another important insurance issue to consider before
When you meet with your managers, take time to
you mobilize is key manager life insurance. The
think about and address potential employee issues
term key manager life insurance refers to insurance
before they arise.
protection that a business pays on an employee’s
life. The company purchases a life insurance policy
Liability Insurance Coverage
on the key employee, pays the premiums, and is the
Defending your business against a legal complaint,
beneficiary of the policy should the employee meet an
even a trivial one, can be very expensive. If your
untimely death. Key manager life insurance may be
9

Veterans Small Business Resource Guide
purchased for a variety of reasons; some of the main
up to a maximum of $250,000; on September 1, 2005,
purposes for this type of insurance may be to:
this amount will increase to $400,000. Coverage is
in effect 365 days per year and Servicemembers are
• Cover a business for the loss of a key
eligible for coverage for 120 days after separation
employee’s life.
or release from duty. You may also want to consider
applying for a commercial insurance plan if your
• Fund a deductible deferred compensation plan
needs will exceed the limit on the SGLI policy.
containing a death benefit.
If you decide to purchase another policy, make sure
• Provide financing for a corporate buy-out of
there won’t be any limits placed on your coverage
business interest or stock.
due to your military service. For more information
about SGLI, go to: www.insurance.va.gov/sgliSite/
• Provide funds to the business in order to help it
default.htm.
survive the loss of a critical employee.
Power of Attorney
The loss of an important employee can be financially
devastating. Searching for and training the right
Before you mobilize, you will need to establish
replacement after a key employee’s death can be
powers of attorney to one or more key employees.
costly and time consuming. As you ponder whether
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows
or not to purchase key manager life insurance, you
another person or institution to act as your legal
should determine which employees are critical to
agent. There are two basic types of powers of attorney,
your company’s success. If you believe your business
general and special. A general power of attorney
would be negatively impacted by the death of one
allows your agent to do almost anything that you
or more specific employees, you can take steps to
could do by signing your name. General powers of
protect it by purchasing key manager life insurance.
attorney are limited in that your agent cannot act
Although key manager life insurance will not replace
on your behalf in certain personal situations. For
the intangible assets lost by the death of a critical
example, your agent cannot get married or execute
employee, it will improve your company’s cash flow
a will on your behalf. Moreover, the IRS requires
while a replacement is found and trained.
a special form of power of attorney when a person
wishes to allow an agent to cash an income tax refund
There is one last potential issue that you should think
check. A special power of attorney lists a specific act
about as you consider purchasing key manager life
or acts that your agent is authorized to handle on your
insurance. Chances are good that you will return
behalf and it limits your agent to only those acts. For
from your deployment and be able to go right back
instance, you may obtain a special power of attorney
to running your business. However, you should also
to give your agent the right to handle banking
realize that there’s a chance you could die or become
transactions on your behalf and their ability to act in
permanently incapacitated during your tour of duty.
your stead is limited only to banking transactions.
You may want to purchase or upgrade your own life
insurance coverage and consider buying disability
You may want to consider whether or not you wish
insurance. Don’t forget that as much as you count
to make your power of attorney durable. A durable
on your key employees, they are also counting on
power of attorney allows your agent to continue
you. After all, as the owner of your business, you are
to act on your behalf should you become mentally
perhaps the most key employee of all.
incompetent while the power of attorney is in effect.
By comparison, a nondurable power of attorney is
National Guard or Reserve members who are assigned
automatically revoked in the event that you become
to a unit in which they are scheduled to perform at
mentally incompetent or die.
least 12 periods of inactive duty that are creditable
toward retirement are currently eligible for coverage
You can obtain a power of attorney at a military
under a Servicemembers Group Life Insurance plan
legal office. The following links will take you to
10

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