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It’s Time to Make the Doughnuts! How to Build Your Business

By Jose Ibarra
Defense Media Activity

So you have a business idea, you’ve done your research on the market and have the technical knowhow to produce and make it happen. But then reality sets in when it’s time for funding your dream. How do you make it happen?

I Have a Great Business Idea

After the military, some veterans go and start their own business and become very successful. But how did they do it? That road may not always be clear to someone who has never dealt with starting a business. So you start with an idea and a cool name for your idea, maybe even an attractive logo your friend who’s handy with Photoshop designed for you. You’re ready now and now one can stop you … right?

Oh, we need money, some good old-fashioned capital to make things happen.

OK: how are you going to get someone to see your vision of starting your dream business?

A lot of questions need to be answered before you even think of making that first dollar that you will proudly frame and display to remind you of how much your business has progressed.

Air Force veterans Rico and Shelenia Nelson own Krack of Dawn Donuts, which they were able to start using funds they got with help from the Small Business Administration. Photo courtesy of SBA

Business for Our Future

Waking up at the crack of dawn may not be everyone’s cup of tea – or coffee, for that matter – but someone has to make doughnuts for America. That’s exactly what Air Force veterans Shelenia and Rico Nelson are proudly doing at Krack of Dawn Donuts, a shop they own. For Shelenia and Rico, business ownership provided the independence to build a better future not just for their family, but especially for their disabled son, Cory.

“We wanted to give Cory more than what life was offering him,” Shelenia said. “Opening our doughnut shop, Krack of Dawn Donuts, has enabled our son to work beyond what we ever thought possible – and has also created a great economic opportunity for our family.”

Making It Happen

Shelenia and Rico had a business idea and made it happen, but not without its challenges. You need money to make money – capital – and like many new entrepreneurs, that was a challenge they faced. They pitched bank after bank and had no luck qualifying for a business loan. They pretty much felt like this idea of being a business owner might not become a reality until a Wells Fargo banker referred them to LiftFund. Then – cha-ching! – they got the break they needed to move forward on a life-changing entrepreneurial journey.

The referral to LiftFund was a dream saver, qualifying Shelenia for a $70,000 loan with a Small Business Administration guaranty.

“If it wasn’t for LiftFund, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” Shelenia said.  LiftFund is a designated SBA 7(a) Community Advantage lender, whose pilot program allows for the lending organization to provide more capital to a business if the business is lacking in collateral.

Taste of Success

Through their success at Krack of Dawn Donuts, Shelenia and Rico hope they can help other veterans who are seeking the dream of making their own mark in the civilian world.

Knowing is half the battle when it comes to starting a business. If you’re a military spouse, veteran or service member interested in starting, purchasing or growing a business, SBA’s ecosystem supports your path to finding your moment that matters. Visit to find out how.

Follow Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra on Twitter: @IbarraDoDNews

Original blog posted by the Small Business Administration

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