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Archive → June, 2013

5 Veterans Who Started Successful Businesses

As success strategies go, modeling is one of the best. Think about it – If you want to do something, do you learn and take your advice from a bunch of people who have never done it before, or do you look at someone who’s done it successfully and see what you can learn from that person? If you answered with the second option, you’ve got the right idea. When you start a business, unsolicited advice is everywhere. It seems like everyone thinks they know how to run your business. Unless they’ve done it before, though, it’s best to smile and nod, then look elsewhere for your advice.

The individuals below are some great places to look. Each of them spent time in the United States military, later using that discipline to succeed in the world of business.

  • Amit Kleinberger of Menchies Frozen Yogurt - He may be slinging froyo these days (and smiles), but at one point, Kleinberger did a 3-year tour as a ground force combat sergeant. He says, “I have to say a “thank you” to the military. In the military you deal with life-and-death situations, and you learn that people do things best when they believe in the common vision and in what you as a leader stand for.”
  • Dave Liniger of RE/MAX – Liniger was actually still IN the military on active duty when he took the first steps towards building what would become a real estate empire. unsatisfied with his pay as a senior airman on hazardous duty, he got inspired to start fixing up houses to make a little extra money. We all know how that turned out.
  • Gordon Logan of SportClips Hair Care - Logan was an aircraft commander in the USAF before his career in “beauty salons” for men and boys. As CEO, he’s put a lot of time and effort into helping other veterans succeed through franchise ownership.
  • Joseph Kopser of RideScout – Kopser is a West Point alum and CEO of the startup RideScout, and he only left the military this year. Today, he lives in Austin and works on his startup.
  • Fred Smith of FedEx – Smith spent time in the marines observing military logistics before founding FedEx – the business no one thought could succeed.

So next time Veterans Day rolls around, remember to give thanks to our veterans not just for their service in the military, but in many cases, for their service as outstanding leaders and job creators.