Starting a Business as a Veteran: Simple Tips and Resources
Transitioning to civilian life from the military isn’t easy, and finding your place in the workforce can be particularly challenging. That’s why more and more veterans are opting to become entrepreneurs for their second career.
There are currently about 3 million veteran-owned businesses in the US, making up one in 10 of total US businesses. In general, veterans stand out in entrepreneurship. Not only do they have unique experience and skillsets, but they often possess a level of all-around discipline seldomly seen in the business world.
While veteran entrepreneurs are often more successful at forging a business from the ground up, it’s still important for them to follow fundamental steps, seek support, and take advantage of the resources available to them. If you’re a veteran who’s thinking about starting a business, Brad Adams presents some practical information and advice to get you on the path to success:
Find your passion.
As a veteran, you possess skills and knowledge that few other people possess. You also may have unique interests that can work to your advantage in entrepreneurship. Think of any type of product or service that gets you excited at the prospects of starting a business, and research the market to determine where you can fill a need. To meet a consumer need, you may need to tailor your idea or combine multiple ideas.
Write a business plan.
Business plans are critical for entrepreneurs. Not only do they serve as a roadmap for your company, but they also help you secure funding as you’re getting your business off the ground.
Once you’ve refined your business idea, put together a document that contains every bit of relevant information you can think of. This will include an executive summary of your business, an overview of your company’s goals, your target customers, product or service details, marketing strategies, financial projections, and more.
Set up your structure.
Every business needs a structure in order to operate legally. Many solopreneurs and other small business owners set up a sole proprietorship because it requires minimal effort. However, establishing an LLC can be the better route because it will give you liability protection, tax advantages, and many more benefits. You can make it easy on yourself by hiring an online formation service to file your Certificate of Formation.
Use your resources.
Veteran entrepreneurs have tons of resources available to them. If you want to give yourself the best chance of success, you must take advantage of these resources.
For example, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a wide array of resources to former military members, including financing, training, and government contracts. You can also find a variety of invaluable programs through the Office of Veteran Business Development (OVBD). If you want to connect with top-notch business mentors, look into SCORE, which is the largest volunteer mentor network in the country. Moreover, there are many nonprofits dedicated to helping veteran entrepreneurs forge a promising career (e.g., Bunker Labs, VetToCEO, VetFran, etc.).
Along with veteran resources like the ones mentioned above, you also have access to a variety of financing options. There are specialty lenders, credit unions, and banks that provide favorable loans to veteran entrepreneurs. There are many investment programs that cater to former military members. And programs from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan Program, StreetShares, Hivers & Strivers, and other organizations can also provide you with the capital you need.
Go back to school.
If you want to sharpen the skills necessary to turn your small business into a smashing success, going back to school could be the solution you’re after. Of course, going back to school when you’re also starting a business means a lot of extra work. Although it sounds impossible, online universities offer different schedules throughout the year, letting you earn your MBA at a time that works best for you.
Now is an excellent time to launch a new business, especially for veterans. Remember to find something you’re passionate about and refine your idea to where it fills a specific need in the market. Create a business plan, establish your business structure, and look into all of the resources available to veterans. In no time, you’ll be getting your business off the ground and setting the stage for long-term success!
article courtesy of Marcus Lansky, www.Abilator.biz