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cial, how to dress for my specifi c business, one-on- ones, and more. If they are good, they are willing to pay it forward,” says Breaux.


4


ASSEMBLE A STELLAR TEAM When you hire competent people, you overcome problems such as poor customer service, poor marketing, and poor products or services, says for- mer Army 2nd Lt. Derrick Weaver, owner of “Mr. Transmission” in Lilburn, Ga. Weaver has been running his company on the outskirts of Atlanta since 2003. “When I fi rst started, I had a couple of guys


who weren’t good at what they did. That’s not good for your reputation. Once you get over that hurdle, and customers are getting good results, they will tell other people,” Weaver says. A business specialty such as transmission re-


pair requires a specifi c skill set and high-caliber performance. If you’ve set yourself apart as an expert in your fi eld who does quality work, people will want to work for you, Weaver says. “And it isn’t just the technical aspect of it,”


Weaver continues. “You have to have people with- out personal problems interfering with their work — good people. My guys show up to work on time, come early, and leave late. They’re honest, techni- cal, and good at what they do.”


5


NETWORK IN THE COMMUNITY Former Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ed Vargas joined his local chamber of commerce to make connec- tions. As a result, his “Mr. Appliance” franchise took off in Loudoun County, Va., and Martins-


‘When I fi rst started, I had a couple of guys who weren’t good at what they did. That’s not good for your reputation. Once you get over that hurdle, and customers are getting good results, they will tell other


people. ’ — Former 2nd Lt. Derrick


Weaver, USA


burg, W. Va. In November, he and his wife, Amy, were awarded the “People’s Choice Award for Loudoun County” as the “Best Small Business.” They have been running Mr. Appliance since 2015. “We did a lot of networking within the cham-


ber. There were a lot of realtors and other profes- sionals that needed appliance repair and didn’t know who to go to, and here I am,” Vargas says. “A chamber of commerce gives you credibility and accountability. You also should join a ‘lead share group’ at your chamber. Basically, you’re sharing leads among each other. That has helped us im- mensely. We’ve spent less in marketing than we have on networking. It adds to the bottom line.”


6


PARTNER UP When Breaux, the mother of two special needs boys, retired after 29 years in October 2015, she wanted to start a business in which her family “could share in the adventure.” Breaux wanted a work schedule that would give her parenting fl exibility and time to volunteer in her children’s activities.


“One of the biggest challenges I faced was that I did not have a business background,” Breaux says. But her husband, also a retired Army offi - cer, has degrees in accounting and fi nance. He handles those areas of the business while she concentrates on running it — and being with their children, too.


7


ESTABLISH YOURSELF Both Weaver and Vargas have found that peo-


January 2018 | MILITARY OFFICER | 45


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