Navy Veteran, Robert Brown, shares Experience as a Small Business Owner in the Federal Marketplace
Using his expertise and experience in various handiwork in the Navy, Robert Brown has started his own fuel company and became successful with it. Today, he shares his experience as a small business owner in the federal marketplace.
Together with his wife, Angela Brown, they established Broco Oil in order to provide heating oil and diesel for the marines and other commercial and residential customers.
What started as a small business with only one truck in 2007 turned into an acclaimed veteran-owned business in 2019 and currently has a fleet of over 35 trucks and 50 employees.
STRUGGLES IN STARTING A BUSINESS
When Brown started Broco Oil in 2007, banks wouldn’t approve him since he was just starting out and had no collateral to secure a loan. However, he worked his way out and got a loan from the Small Business Administration which he used to purchase an old fuel truck.
“The harder the work is, the more I want to pursue that avenue to see what I can do.”
Then, he gambles a lot by buying trucks that are old and then fixing those to be used in their business. He also sources a lot of stuff from various companies and develops a relationship with these people so that they could continue to work with them.
Apart from all of these, he had also realized that being certified as a veteran-owned business will not give them opportunities. A certification is just a piece of paper and the success relies on them.
LEARNINGS IN MANAGING A BUSINESS
Due to the struggles that he faced in managing his small business, he learned a lot of things that motivated him to continue moving forward.
Firstly, they need to network their business and let people know who he is and what his company does.
Then, he needs to make sure that they are able to build a relationship with their customers. Brown believed that even little contracts should be treated as big ones and just do everything to make the job done.
“We’ll act first. We’ll get the job done. And we’ll worry about everything else later.”
Most importantly, what matters to Brown the most is having a team who drives the whole company forward.
“We form together and guys that are behind on certain tasks, you know, are backfilled by these guys that got done with their day early. So, I try not to hire based on just performance. The personality should be right and they have to be willing to work in a team environment.”
ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The first piece of advice Brown wants to share is to do the job with or without a certification. Being certified is just a plus but what really matters is how your business can do the job.
Consider that there are a lot of huge businesses that will get the same opportunity as you are and most of the time these businesses will be given the job because they have more experience than you do.
“You actually got to get out there and work your butt off to now network and let people know who you are but let them know what type of service you can bring them.”
The second piece of advice Brown shared is to present your business according to who you are and what you can do.
He believed that the key in gaining different job opportunities for your small business is to put your face in front of your company name and not give an impression that you can do something that you can’t.
If you want to watch the full video of the podcast with Robert Brown as he shared his experiences as a small business owner in the federal marketplace, then be sure to click the links below:
059: Bobby Brown, Broco Oil -Building a major oil company one truck at a time