John Chaverra and Anthony Brown of American Protection Group, a two-year-old security company, are quite the dream team. Their small business has grown from four employees to 35 in the short amount of time it’s been around. Chaverra already had experience running a company, but the two have something else on their side that’s given them an advantage as business owners: military training. Chaverra is a veteran of the United States Navy and Brown is currently serving with the United States Coast Guard. The pair met through a former business partner and decided to take American Protection Group in a direction they both believed in. In addition to Chaverra’s experience as a part-time security guard, what the military taught them about respect, loyalty and hard work has made them “pure leaders” in the business world.
Q: Do you think your training in the military helped you become a business owner?
John Chaverra: Of course, in the military they teach you how to be determined and to go for what you want and for your goals. The responsibility that they teach you translates to responsibility [to your business], because in the military you have people who need you, that you’re in charge of. And, of course, all the tactical stuff. [The] military training that they teach you helped me become a much better business owner – also, you know, I don’t like to call myself a boss, but more of a pure leader to my guys.
Q: What’s the biggest thing your training in the military has taught you as a business owner?
Anthony Brown: Respect, loyalty towards the people you work with – I think that really stands out. Having that loyalty toward your employees, the respect toward them, with that kind of foundation, you get people that care, and that shows in their workmanship, and then that just carries on when you go out and try to get another client. Prospects call current clients and say, “hey, you know, how’s the service?” And clients say, “Oh, the service is great.”
JC: For me, I take big pride in the core values of the Navy and the military; the honor and the courage and the commitment. The honor to make sure that we do the right thing, not only by our clients, but by our employees; the commitment to make sure that we are providing the service that they require and [addressing] the needs that they have and making sure that they’re happy with [our service]. So, I think those are things that drive me and that [I] put into the business.
Q: Is it important for you to let companies you do business with or your customers know that you’re veteran owned?
JC: We make that our priority. We want to make sure that they know we have military backgrounds, that they know that they’re dealing with people that are not irresponsible and that we know what we’re doing. When people think about military personnel, the first thing that comes to their mind is people that give their lives for freedom, good people that just go beyond their line of duty to make sure that everybody’s safe.
So, when we bring it to our clients and even our employees that, hey, we’re in the military, it’s just pride, because they look at us differently, because we have the time that we served and we did something for this country, not only for the country but for the people.
AB: And the other key element that helps us grow is we also have employees that are either active military personnel [or veterans], and we take on that love for people that want to also follow. So, that is something that we’re passionate about.
Chaverra and Brown like to make it known that they served or are serving by covering their offices in military memorabilia: “You don’t want to walk into my office,” Brown laughed. “It’s just wall-to-wall stuff.” “It’s definitely a pride thing,” Chaverra added.
To veteran business owners, VERIFIED’s proprietary military authentication process can provide them with third-party verification of their ownership that they can show to potential partners. Many government and corporate entities have funds or contracts specifically set aside for veteran-owned businesses, and Veteran VERIFIED™ can help prove that a business qualifies for such programs. The SBA is also putting emphasis on helping veteran-owned businesses access funding more easily and other companies, like Starbucks, are making an effort to help veterans find work once they return from service.
So what’s this successful duo’s best piece of advice for other veteran small business owners? Simple: “Don’t give up.”
To see how military training has helped other veterans in the business world, check out this veteran franchisee or this veteran-owned government-contracting consulting firm.