Originally Published: October 13, 2012 10 p.m.
In a previous SCORE article I addressed some of the ways veterans can take advantage of the veteran-owned business (VOB) and service disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) designations. Army airborne veteran Larry Curell has gone through the steps to achieve that designation for his business, Better Deal Printing, LLC.
Initially wounded in 1993, his second year of service with Headquarters Army Special Operations Command, he recovered and went on to actively serve until he was injured again during an air operation in 1996. This second incident exacerbated the original injuries and caused him to leave active duty. He then served in the reserves until 2000 when it became apparent that his disability was significant enough that he would have to end his military career.
Leaving the Army as a disabled veteran meant he had to compensate for his disability and find a way to successfully support his family. With his background in communications and intelligence, he found a job with a major corporation. However, the company went through a layoff and Curell found himself out of work. He found another position with another major corporation and then was again caught up in a layoff from that company.
With true entrepreneurial spirit, Curell began his own business. He made connections with vendors and customers and grew his advertising and promotion business. As time went on he began expanding into printing services and also realized that as a disabled veteran business owner he could begin providing a better standard of living for his family.
BetterDealPrinting.com was born, and Curell knew he needed guidance and counseling to achieve the service disabled veteran-owned business designation. That was when he came to SCORE.
Two counselors worked with Curell to get him through the channels needed to obtain his service disabled veteran-owned business designations. "Both SCORE counselors continue to work with me on my business plan that has opened doors for me with the government and retail business sectors. I am one of three printers in the U.S.A. that has the service disabled-veteran owned small business designation."
"It's been a lot of work and required persistence," continues Curell, "but it has resulted in a very successful business with prospects for continued growth."
As the previous article stated, it takes more than just having the veteran-owned business designation. Curell has developed a three-point business plan where he offers quality services and products, on-time or ahead of time delivery and very competitive pricing. To start competing in the government sector he began by going to the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). This department within every federal government entity acts as the liaison between the government departments and the prime contractors as well as direct vendors. Curell builds relationships with these people and lets them know about the services he offers. He asks for contacts within different agencies and then sends out information packets, including samples of his work and references. He maintains his registration with SAM.gov and updates this annually.
Not one to rest on what he has accomplished to date, Curell is planning to expand his retail marketing by increasing his email campaigns through Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. He also sees the value of social media and is beginning to establish a presence in the various social markets.
If you are a veteran or a disabled veteran, take advantage of the extensive reach that Northern Arizona SCORE counselors provide. You, like Larry Curell, can move a dream into a successful, productive business. For additional information, visit www.score.org
SCORE is recruiting volunteer counselors in the Prescott area. If you have corporation, small business, non-profit or other business experience, consider SCORE as a rewarding volunteer opportunity. SCORE offers unique options for sharing your business knowledge, experience and leadership skills with others. Go to http://northernarizona.score.org, email@example.com, or call SCORE at 778-7438.