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Interview with a Veteran Entrepreneur

We sat down for an interview with our local veteran and RapidAdvance CEO Will Tumulty to get his take on veterans in the business world and inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit.

Why do you think veteran’s make outstanding entrepreneurs? How do you transition from the service to the world of business?

Military veterans from all the Services have a common set of core values and ethics that translate well in the business world.  The focus on the mission is just as important for a business organization as a military one.  The mission is simply different.  Rather than a specific battlefield objective, the mission for a business organization (whether for-profit or non-profit) is to take great care of their customers.  All of the other successes come from that. 

The way that the team works together is also similar.  When I was in the SEAL Teams, we would frame an operation as “Shoot-Move-Communicate.”  In business, this is simply taking action, positioning for the next action and communicating with your team to let them know your status and get feedback.  The ongoing cycle of action and feedback keeps both teams moving toward their objective.

Are there any unique challenges that veteran’s face when starting a business? How do they overcome them?

I haven’t run into any veteran-specific challenges in starting or growing a business.  In fact, many of the planning and execution skills I learned in the Navy have been readily applicable to building a business.  The military bias for action is a model that can be quite useful in many business settings.  Every leader values those team members who charge ahead and get things done.

What inspired you to start a business? 

I started my last business because I saw a need in the market and I had enough experience to know that my team and I could meet that need.  There were a whole bunch of things we didn’t know and had to figure out along the way, but that wasn’t too different from how things often unfold in a military operation. 

Who or what has influenced you most in your career?

The time I spent early in my career at the Naval Academy and in the Navy was very formative for me.  Military service is a great place to learn, practice and build core life values of integrity, effort, teamwork and self-sufficiency.  Those personal qualities are as important to success in the business world as they are in the Service, and they’re especially critical for success as an entrepreneur.

How do companies give back to the veteran community? 

I think one of the biggest things companies can do for veterans is to hire them. It’s also a win for the company because with their values and experiences, vets bring so much more to the team than just the skills that they’re hired for.  I’m proud to say that we have veterans from all branches on our team here at Rapid.

 

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