Day 4: OPERATION: Create Your Own Path


Today is day four of Operation: Create Your Own Path. As part of this event, we have asked all of our featured military spouse business owners to share their best advice to anyone who might be considering starting their own business. And we've combined their words of wisdsom with a little bit of great advice from small business experts.


Jenny Theuerkauf

Little Bean Designs


"Budget and be realistic. It will take time to break even your first year, but if you set a budget ahead of time and are realistic about the time it takes to see return on your investment, you're more likely to stay motivated to turn your business into a success. The first year of any business is tough, but you can do it!"



Brenda Linnington

Director, BBB Military Line



Protecting Small Business Finances


“You need to squeeeeeeze that nickel until the Indian is riding the Buffalo!” Obviously a reference to the Indianhead nickel of old, this was a recent comment I overheard while listening to a discussion about Sequestion and the efforts on the DOD budget. Since my world evolves around military consumer issues, I naturally wondered---in a time of great economic uncertainty and limited resources; how do our brave and innovative entrepreneurial Military Spouses safeguard and protect their important small business finances?


It’s true; you don’t know what you don’t know- and what you don’t know can leave you vulnerable and threatened. The obvious remedy is to become as educated as possible and fortunately there are many valuable and credible websites in which to turn. No long laundry list here—let’s just look at a few that measure up:


The National Federation of Small Business (NFIB-The Voice of Small Business) offers a great checklist titled “Checklist for Managing Small Business’ Finances”. It’s a comprehensive in-depth list that focuses on every aspect of small business financing.   You’ll be introduced to areas from “Cash-flow projections” to “Saving and Investing” to “Developing an overall plan so that every dollar coming in flows through proper channels.


U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the U.S. government’s dedicated organization for the small business owner. Comprehensive and easy to use, their “Managing Business Finances and Accounting” page offers topics from “Accepting Cash Only, Checks, and or Credit Cards” to “Online Payment Services” to “Setting up a payroll system.” All are tried and true topic areas that can lead to a successful small business operation.


“Protecting that Nickel” through education is obviously important, but there are other aspects to consider outside of having a well planned, well financed, and optimally running business. Cyber attacks must be taken seriously and anticipated. Protecting your businesses capital and assets means that you insure hackers can’t gain access to your information. Installing anti-virus software, Securing your Wi-Fi, and Systematically purging sensitive data are just a few prudent steps you can take. US News & World Report recently published a very helpful article specifically on this topic that any small business owner or potential small business owner should read.


Lastly, and of great importance, safeguarding your business finances means working with and partnering with reputable companies. Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers free business and charity reviews so that you have the right information about potential partners before you decide to engage in a partnership.


Squeezing today’s nickel is just as important as it was in the past when it comes to getting the most out of your small business finances and to safeguarding them. Today, we need to “Squeeeeeeze that nickel until Thomas Jefferson is back in Monticello!”  


Brenda Linnington is the Director of the Better Business Bureaus’ (BBB) Military Line®, a national program providing consumer education and advocacy for service members and their families. An Army Veteran, former finance officer, current active duty military spouse of more than 32 years, and mother of an Army Aviator, Mrs. Linnington has significant experience working on numerous DoD military family programs.



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