My name is Paul Rawlinson and until December 2011 a younger, less hairy and less tired version of me was an officer serving in the Army with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Before I left the Army I decided I wanted to open a café inspired by my Scandinavian heritage – so I became an entrepreneur and Baltzersen’s is the result.
The café is based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire and has been open for just over 10 months. We have grown since opening from a team of 6 to 17 employees and we are hoping to continue to grow in the future.
So that’s me, and if you really want to you can delve into some of the other areas of the website and my past blog posts and find out a little more.
Today’s post is setting up what will be a series of articles based around entrepreneurship for Armed Forces veterans.
I am writing this series because Armed Forces redundancies are very much in the headlines recently and the latest tranche have begun to hit my own former colleagues. I believe that whilst many servicemen and women would not have chosen redundancy, if you have been selected there is a huge opportunity. You can make an enforced change a positive one by considering self-employment through starting a business rather than finding another job. I aim to discuss some of the strengths that you may not realise you have as a member of the Armed Forces, that will give you a competitive advantage in the world of entrepreneurship.
Before I begin I need to list a couple of assumptions so you understand how I am able to talk about your strengths:
1. You are amongst the best people the Armed Forces can offer in your field/rank. I am talking top third or higher. I know this describes you because frankly if you were bottom or middle third you wouldn’t be reading online resources and doing research about starting your own business.
2. You will create a business that is superb and stands out from its competitors in terms of a cost/benefit analysis. I know you will do this because striving to do things better than everyone else (note better not cheaper) is why you are top third, and you have been doing it for your entire career.
Finally I just wanted to remind you that I am talking about skills/traits you may not realise you had. Generic strengths that everyone associates with service personnel like timekeeping, self-discipline, work ethic, ability to endure hardship, leadership etc etc are all very valid, but you don’t need me to highlight them and how they will be important!
Other resources for armed Forces Entrepreneurs include:
Heropreneurs – A website that aims to provide support for Armed Forces entrepreneurs at various stages of business development. Check out their event scheduled for 24th Sep 13 in London, I’ll be attending so if you want to meet up then drop me a line.
‘From Battlefield to Business’ – A Youtube channel run by the British library with a series of videos about people who have been successful in business after leaving the Armed Forces.