Window Cleaning – Interior and Exterior

VA Hospital in Kerrville, TX

Frontline was awarded a project to provide window cleaning services for the Kerrville Veterans Memorial Hospital.  The project consists of cleaning windows on six of the campus’ buildings.  The larges is the main hospital seven floor hospital.  Our team cleans nearly 400,000 sf of window area inside and out of the facilities.

Project Magnitude – $225,075.00

Personally Authoring a Book to Assist Veteran Entrepreneurship

I’m of the opinion that everyone has at least one book in them and after speaking with some of my friends who are authors, apparently they agree with this philosophy, so now it’s my turn to find a book in me.  This is actually something I’ve thought about for quite some time, and through the process of sharing information through my blog posts, I’ve decided that information would be even better shared in a book format.

I think what holds a lot of people back from making the effort to write a book is simply not knowing how to write.  Taking the time to write down specific subjects or material evolving around a subject is a key component in authoring a book.  Another thing that holds people back is time and this is where my blog posts are helping me because I’ve already scheduled the time to sit down, do the podcasts, and in less than 10 minutes, my blog post material is laid out in podcast form, ready to be put into the written word.  My focus lies, of course, primarily with veteran entrepreneurship and in helping those veterans of our armed services who are interested in establishing or growing their own business.

Currently I now have well over a year’s worth of blog posts filled with information slated towards veteran-established businesses and I’ll continue to collect these blogs for a few more months before starting to compile data specific to certain subjects.  I know I could do at least a chapter on collaboration or teamwork and education alone.  I think I will end up with a very informative short book or perhaps an e-book that can be sent to people needing this kind of information.  I don’t view this book as being a moneymaker, although I’m hopeful I might get lucky some day and make enough to cover production costs and time spent in compilation.

My Vision for Writing this Book

What I really see is this book serving as a status builder; something that will promote me as the person to go to on a particular subject or someone who has the ability to relay real world examples of experiences I’ve gone through.  I believe that kind of experience has the potential to really help some people, and if the situation were reversed and I was in need of information on a subject, I would want to learn about it from someone who really lived the experience themselves.  I have stated in prior blogs that I firmly believe in continuing education and I follow TED talks, short books, informational CD’s, and other blogs so that I can learn from other people.  I also enjoy mentorship and that is something that doesn’t take up a huge amount of my time, but I cut out an hour every other week or sometimes once a month or even quarterly just to talk with someone in need of learning the ropes in my industry.

If you would like to learn more about my ventures into writing a book, I can be reached below in the comments below or by contacting me directly.

The Sequester Takes Effect

As a small business owner, I saw this coming at me, but there was little I could do to prepare for it.  The Sequester affects all federal workers regardless of what capacity they may be working in for the federal government and the effects were felt almost immediately, although they are becoming more tangible every day.

I was in the process of looking at several projects before the Sequester which were in the $2 to $5 million range and we had every intention of pursuing them.  Unfortunately, the period of time right before the Sequester and right after brought these projects to a sudden halt and now all three projects have been pulled.  Those projects still exist, but now they are placed on hold awaiting the financials and budgetary concerns to be taken care of by federal agencies.

Another effect the Sequester will have on federal agencies is they will be forced to furlough employees.  The truth is, people now spend the majority of what they earn just to make ends meet.  If you tell someone they are going to lose one day out of a week or even one day out of a month from their paychecks, that’s 20% of their earnings and can be pretty painful.

On the way home from work today I heard a story on MPR concerning an airport in Ohio that would be forced to either close its doors or at least cut one or two days from their flight schedule.  The last time I looked, people still needed to fly seven days a week, depending on their schedules, so I am quite sure that will put a damper not only on the airport, but on people’s personal schedules as well.

Sustaining a Company during the Sequester

There really is no way of preparing for these kinds of cuts that come as a result of the Sequester.  Looking at the big picture, small companies still need to grow in order for our country to grow.  Sure, if you’re a Fortune 500 company such as Raytheon, IBM or GE, they are sitting with gobs of money in their coffers, but for the small businesses, such as Frontline, we are the ones feeling the squeeze.  The three projects I spoke of were arrived at only after going through 100 projects or so and deciding these would be the best choices for me to pursue.  I spent months keeping an eye on these projects and now that they are pulled, this is definitely a loss for my company.  I am fortunate, however, because I do have ongoing projects which help keep my light bill paid, electricity on and phones ringing.

If you are a small business owner and would like to discuss this in more detail, I can be reached below in the comments below or by contacting me directly and I’ll be happy to respond to you.

Frontline Support Solutions Team Recognized

On May 17th Jose (Joe) Perez our Founder was recognized by the Small Business Administration’s as the Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year.  Joe was presented the award by the SBA Region VI Administrator Yolanda Olivarez at the 2013 Small Business Week Awards Luncheon held at the Omni Colonnade Hotel.  Also accepting the award with Joe on behalf of Frontline was Neal Secor the company’s Senior Project Manager.  At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, Joe went on to express his gratitude by saying “… we (the Team) are grateful for this recognition.  It is great when you come to the attention of a group or public agency for the strong growth we’ve experienced over the last three years, and for the work we’ve done in support veterans’ entrepreneurial endeavors.  We have worked hard to grow our own team through a mix of veteran and non-veteran professionals.  All of it would not have been possible without the focused and deliberate efforts of all of the folks who’ve been part of our team.  But especially the leaders like Neal who make it all look easy.  That is one of the reasons why I love to get up in the morning.”

2013 Small Biz Week Award Pic

From L to R: Mrs. Peters, Mrs.Sapia, Neal, Joe, & Mrs.Olivarez

Frontline has experienced strong growth since its founding in 2010.  One of the driving mission aims at Frontline is to hire veterans and service disabled veterans into the construction and facility support services industries and teach them how to operate in the federal marketplace.  Through a team mix of veterans and non-veteran professionals they believe a strong collaborative culture will grow and produce excellence.  Once a veteran becomes proficient in the area of choice they would be encouraged to start their own veteran owned business, if so desired.

Collaboration Demands Integrity from all Partners

When I reach an agreement to partner with another company, I’m not expecting them to be just like my company in regards to how they run their business.  What I do expect is to reach that agreement with a good feeling that we can work well together and that the other company has a similar culture.  There are some characteristics I look for in collaboration and without those, I don’t do business with them.  They are:

  • Does the partnering company have the same kind of vision that you have with respect to a particular project?
  • Are they profit-driven or looking to get in just to make a long term play on the same customer or industry?
  • Are they willing to go the extra mile when hard work is needed?
  • Are they a company that can make good business decisions and not beat around the bush in fear of making those decisions?

If the other company is concerned with achieving the goals established in regards to contracts, specific projects, long term collaboration that involves a service contract, or a building that needs to be built, then that is a company I have confidence in working with.  Whatever the end goal might be, it should be written down and agreed to so that it enables both companies to establish a healthy business relationship.  Integrity and honest dealings should be expected from any company, regardless of its size.

Ground Rules are of Great Importance in a Partnership

Both companies should be truthful and straightforward from the very beginning of the partnership.  If you don’t have a specific capability or vice-versa, you have the capabilities but need to take precautions in utilizing those capabilities sparingly, speak up!  Explain that you need to extend those capabilities a little at a time until the relationship is built up.

The absolute bottom line in this type of relationship is trust – if trust breaks down, hope that it breaks down early in the game instead of down the road.  This is why you need to establish those ground rules at the start, because if there are trust issues later on, those ground rules, or lack of, can make or break the relationship.

Learning from Negative Experiences

Understand that no matter how careful you try to plan a partnership, occasionally something isn’t going to flow as expected and failure is unavoidable.  You may have expended money on the partnership in some form or another and the best you can do is consider it money well spent by taking a negative and turning it into a positive learning experience.  Most of the time, failures are not personal and if you can learn from every mistake that comes across your desk so that it’s not repeated, then you stand a good chance of turning that mistake into a success in your future business dealings.

One final aspect in this type of relationship is that it isn’t an absolute necessity that every single project be a homerun with heavy profitability.  For example, I might be on a team that has in-depth experience in a certain type of building, perhaps a medical or a higher education building.  If I lack experience in this area, I certainly want to collaborate with this team so that I can gain that experience and build invaluable past performance which is a huge necessity when pursuing work with the federal government.

If you have questions or would like to discuss establishing partnerships further, I can be reached below in the comments below or by contacting me directly and I’ll be happy to go into more detail with you.

Successful Partnerships between Companies Requires Upfront Planning

Much of what I blog about stems from experiences of a positive nature, but I also believe in passing along my less than positive interactions so that, hopefully, someone else can avoid the same problems.  Frontline is involved in a situation currently which stems from a collaboration formed with another business.  That company is about the same size in revenue as Frontline, but they have less experience in the federal marketplace.  That in itself is not a problem and I say, “Hat’s off to someone working hard and trying to build their business.”

However, establishing the type of partnership that will result in a win/win for both companies should have some specific agreements laid out right at the beginning.  First and foremost, make sure the company you’re reaching out to partner with possesses similar synergies and operating ethics as your company.  If you are not on level ground from the beginning, it won’t get easier down the road and you are setting up a collaboration that is most likely doomed to failure.  The end goal definitely involves creating revenue for both companies, but to reach that end you must start with a clear and concise plan for execution.  That plan should encompass both companies stating their expectations of the partnership and how they intend to reach the end goal.

 Make Sure your Company Fulfills the Agreement

The current situation involving Frontline has been in the works for nearly four months now, starting around Christmas, and unfortunately, sometimes the best laid plans don’t reach culmination.  If the other party doesn’t grasp the full extent of the agreement or they feel their personal “win” isn’t what they were expecting, neither company is going to recognize a win.  That being said, it’s still well worthwhile to try and iron out all details and expectations in the beginning and then make sure your company follows through with what it promises.  This is the best guarantee you have for success of that partnership and if things do go wrong, at least give yourself the satisfaction of knowing that your company upheld its end of the agreement.

If you want to discuss strategies on setting up a partnership, I can be reached below in the comments or by contacting me directly.

Finding Your Own Personal “Why”

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Since I’ve been on the subject of my recent attendance to a seminar follow-up, I thought I should go into a little more detail about what I brought home from that follow-up from a more personal level.  I covered how it helped me from a sales and marketing standpoint, but one thing that really intrigued me was that it helped me realize I’ve had a lack of interest in supporting anything that was outside of my main focus, that being helping vets.  This follow-up gave me a reason to think about my “why;” why I’m in business for myself and why I started it.

One of the guest speakers at this event was a young man by the name of Jason Russell.  He is the founder of an organization called Invisible Children, and he gave us a very powerful look into a world I was totally unaware of concerning the plight of children in Africa, or more precisely, Uganda.  These children, ages 5 to 14, are abducted at night and are then turned into soldiers and murderers.  I have a 5 year old son and after seeing the pictures and the videos of this taking place over the last 18 to 20 years, I’m astonished more light hasn’t been shed on this.  This one issue motivated this group into action and thus, they created a non-profit organization which has successfully started a groundswell across the country.  The President has even signed legislation early this year in an effort to help track down the instigator of this atrocity, a guy by the name of Joseph Kony.

Learning of this organization led to a change in my thinking and it occurred to me that I need to broaden my horizon of support.  I enthusiastically pledged monetary support to this organization because I have no doubt of its worthiness.  Getting back to my topic, however, this brought me to the point of my own “why,” and I encourage everyone to discover their own personal “why.”  We as Americans are generous by our very natures, but sometimes we are so inundated with pleas for help that we either stop hearing those pleas or we are too confused about who we would truly like to help.  If you fall into either of these scenarios, take a step back and take time to evaluate your “why” reasoning.  I think if you can answer why you are in business or why you choose a certain path in your life, it will help you determine who you may wish to support as well.

As a small business owner, my focus has always been on making money to sustain my business, and I am quite sure I’m not alone in that endeavor.  Making money should not be your only focus in life, however, and if it is, you may be successful, but that success will most likely be short-lived.  It’s a personal choice for all of us, but going back to my military experiences, I have witnessed some pretty horrific things as well as some beautiful things.  Hearing Jason Russell speak brought a lot of those things back to me although I haven’t been in the military since 1998.  It also was a much needed reminder that there are still people in our country who are trying hard to make the world a better place and they truly need our support and help.

If you would like more information about this organization or how to broaden your own focus, I can be reached through email at jperez@frontline1.com.

Economical Alternatives to Seminar Attendance

In the last few blog posts, I’ve elaborated on the importance of professional and self-development through attending seminars.  Seminars come in many different price ranges and I’ve paid as little as $250 per day for a seminar, all the way up to $10,000 for a four day seminar, but for the small business owner, sometimes even the least expensive ones are out of reach in the beginning.  However, there are some really good alternatives out there and I believe in taking full advantage of those more affordable avenues.

For starters, I’m an avid subscriber of Success magazine, and in each issue they give you an audio CD that delivers lessons and advice on many of the same things you find when you attend a seminar.  I carry these around in my truck all the time and in many cases, I listen to them multiple times.  They’re not long, about 15 to 20 minutes or so, but I have found that if I miss something the first few times I listen to them, I’ll usually catch little morsels after listening repeatedly.  My subscription costs about $40 a year, far less than the cost of a seminar.

I also have recordings from Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes to name a few.  All of these have the same focus and that is to help me improve my business and myself.  I’ve actually listened to some of them in excess of 20 times or more and it’s no different from listening to music on your iPod in that you may hear the same song, but it still delivers a message or a tune you want to hear.  Sometimes I hit roadblocks in my work and I’ll hear something from one of these great speakers that really hits home with me at that particular point in time.  It might be something that didn’t really apply to me before, but now it’s exactly the advice I need to hear to get me past those roadblocks.

These audio CD’s are offered at a nominal price as compared to what I would pay for the cost of a seminar, meals and airfare, especially since seminars are so rarely in close proximity to where I live.  These CD’s come in the form of interviews or discussions that are easy to follow and offer great advice on subjects I take a lot of interest in.  In fact, this is the reason I do my podcasts and blog posts; I want to help those who share an interest in small business ownership and especially those who are service disabled veterans who have a desire to own a business.  My goal is to present this information in an up-to-date format where someone can go through the archives and find exactly what they need to learn more about on a certain topic.

I guess at this point, I should add my normal contact information, so if anyone wants to further discuss anything in these blogs, they can contact me.  As always, you can add your comments below or contact me directly.

Professional Development Continues After Schooling

When I was in the military, I learned steps to professional development in my chosen career.  The military has actually offered this forever and I learned valuable leadership steps from them through courses they offered.  The sad truth is, you attend school, you attend college and maybe advanced studies, but once those are completed, you are expected to join the workforce.  While this schooling is invaluable, it doesn’t necessarily offer “hands-on” experience and this is important in the real world.  Book-learned techniques are not always applicable and you have to learn flexibility, particularly as a business owner.

Once I realized the importance of continued learning, both as a professional and in my personal life, I made it a point to attend seminars that helped me in this endeavor.  As I mentioned in my prior blog post, I recently attended a follow-up to a seminar from several months back.  It was more of a retreat where I joined 19 other colleagues from around the country and a few were even from Canada and Europe.  This follow-up took place in San Diego and, of course, that location was great this time of the year.

Seminars Offer Opportunities to Hear Key Speakers

Seminars of this nature offer a terrific chance to hear some of the top speakers out there; those who take a huge interest in our country, and in this case, it was Jim Rohn.  He has since passed away, but I am very appreciative of the chance to hear him speak.  He talked about how doing well in your business and working hard at your job can have huge rewards.  His point of view is something that really interests me and it has helped me both in my civilian life and professional career.

There are so many seminars available to business owners, but I try to choose those that will help me work in particular areas of my life.  You can find an expert out there for just about anything, but you need to decide where your focus should be and then pursue learning in that area.  Usually I begin with working on areas that I personally need improvement in and then I focus on bringing that improvement to my team.

If you would like to learn more about choosing a seminar that’s right for you, leave a comment below or contact me directly.

Learning “Focus” in Professional Development as a Small Business Owner

Four or five months ago, I talked about a seminar I attended and the main theme was on the word “focus.”  This particular seminar included an actual follow-up, which is a bit unusual, but it served as an extension of what we discussed earlier.  This follow-up described how we as small business owners are literally inundated with information coming from all directions and as the leader of a company, it is our job to focus and prioritize what is in need of immediate work and what should be our focus for the future.  Identifying these priorities is important in establishing and accomplishing goals in different areas of our business, whether it’s sales and marketing or operations.  It’s important to place effort on surpassing your actual need within that particular area.

Reaping Early Rewards

At the end of this follow-up, we each did a self-assessment using a worksheet which covered various areas of our business including personal development, marketing, sales, operations, personnel and a few other aspects.  We started working on these areas back in November and the self-assessment puts you in the position of being your toughest critic.  The questions are very structured and pointed and they ask you to describe where you are now and if you feel this is where you need to be.  It illustrated to me that I’ve barely scratched the surface in these areas, yet I’m seeing self-improvement already.  The little tweaks you can do, simply by using their “focus” approach, can set both you and your team in motion.  I am now seeing a direct correlation with improvement in sales, revenues and profits.

After seeing this improvement in such a short time, I would definitely encourage small business owners to attend as many seminars as economically possible that put you on the road to fine-tuning both your personal and professional development.  The benefits are pretty amazing, as I’ve seen for myself, and I can testify to the fact that it is time and money well-spent.

If you would like to learn more about attending professional improvement seminars, contact me or leave a comment below.