SBA News and Views

Blogs.SBA News and Views


Moments that Matter: Laying a Foundation for Business and BBQ

Moments that Matter: Laying a Foundation for Business and BBQ

By Barbara Carson, SBA Official
Published: October 31, 2017 Updated: October 31, 2017



Your first business plan. Your first employee. The training course that gives you an edge in the marketplace. Finding a mentor. Receiving the capital you need to expand your business. The turning point when long, hard hours begin to pay off in steady streams of income.

It’s the moment you realize you had an idea that worked – an idea you turned into a business. A dream that became reality.

Each of these pivotal moments – no matter how big or small – is a moment that matters in the veteran entrepreneurship journey. They represent growth, employment, service, delivery, and freedom.

These moments that matter are universal, and the 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. are experiencing them every day as they contribute approximately 1.4 trillion dollars to the nation’s total sales/receipts per year.

SBA is celebrating, connecting, and empowering veterans, service members (including National Guard and Reserve members), and military spouse entrepreneurs and business owners – past, present, and future – this National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW) 2017 by highlighting the moments that matter in their journeys.

From Boots to Barbeque to Business

Greg Lyles, a retired U.S. Air Force Master SergeantE-7, his wife, Jennifer, and their two sons Chandler( retired USAF Airman), and Tucker ( active duty, USAF), always enjoyed barbequing as a family. When a fundraising opportunity arose in 2012, the family decided what better way to participate than to sell their BBQ for a good cause?  The charity catering gig led to informal catering jobs, a Lyles BBQ “food truck,” and ultimately a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky.

When Greg and Chandler transitioned out of the military in 2013, they decided to explore the idea of starting small business.  The father and son attended the Boots to Business and Boots to Business Reboot entrepreneurial training courses. The Lyles’ took what they learned during the courses to expand the food truck business into a restaurant.. A year later, Lyles BBQ LLC was officially formed.

Moments that Matter in Veteran Entrepreneurship

The Lyles’ overcame many obstacles common to the birth of a new company. Perseverance, passion, and sheer determination gave the family the momentum that turned their business dreams into reality. From understanding budget management and cash flow to conducting marketing and inventory control, the Boots to Business training gave the Lyles’ the essential knowledge to ensure success during the beginning stages of business ownership.

Since its inception in 2013, SBA’s Boots to Business (B2B) and Boots to Business Reboot program have served over 60,000 service members, veterans, and military spouses. From breweries and BBQ joints to software consulting and IT sales, these Boots to Business graduates have successfully evolved from service members to business owners.

Today, Lyles BBQ is in the process of establishing a second location, and its current staff of 30 includes five veterans. 

If you’re a military spouse, veteran, or service member interested in starting, purchasing, or growing a business, the SBA has the resources to  support your journey to  finding your moment that matters. Visit to find out how.

Watch the full Lyles BBQ story here:

Do you have a moment that matters to share with OVBD? We want to hear it! Share your story with us using the hashtag #MyVetBiz on Twitter and Facebook. 


About the Author:

Barbara Carson
Barbara Carson

SBA Official

Barbara Carson is the Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Veterans Business Development.