Life After Service: How Veterans Can Become Business Owners

A successful business takes patience and planning, but it also thrives on the right kind of person being in charge. Certain skills are particularly advantageous to being your own boss and are signs you’re ready to start your own business. As a veteran, you probably already have the skills of a natural leader in the form of problem-solving, discipline, ability to adapt, and being an unceasing go-getter. Here’s how to mine those skills and bring your business goals to fruition.

Use Your Experiences

Finding the right niche for your startup can be as simple as finding something you’re passionate about. Drawing on your own experiences can give you the confidence needed to kickstart your business. Think about your skill sets: Do you have any specializations? Is there a niche out there that you could fill? Freelancing websites offer an excellent opportunity to dip your toe into the water and accumulate the knowledge needed to grow a startup. You could also focus on business models that might be more suited to first-time entrepreneurs. Franchising could be one starting point, as it can offer a ready-made structure from which to make a smooth transition into being a business owner.

Plan, Plan, Plan

In many aspects of life, planning is key. For veterans, this may have always been evident throughout one’s military career. A plan provides structure and gives the focus necessary to keep oneself moving forward. When it comes to setting and realizing goals, momentum is paramount. In fact, setting out a vision into something tangible like a written plan can be a motivating reminder of progress achieved over time.

Your plan does not have to be intricate or lengthy. Simply ask yourself relevant questions: How do you plan to market your new enterprise? Will you focus solely on social media, or take advantage of traditional branding, too? Do you intend to scale your investment, and what is your pricing system going to look like? Be sure not to overlook research as well, like licensing and tax obligations. In addition, add thresholds to your planning. They could be big or small objectives, like getting your first client or hitting a certain profit level — anything that can keep you thinking toward the future.

Keep in mind that if you’d like to learn more about running a business, you can earn a business degree online. A bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, or marketing could be invaluable when planning for your business.

Reach Out

Starting out can seem like a convoluted process. There is a wealth of information that needs to be absorbed to strengthen the prospects of a business. One has to navigate tax systems and licences, deal with a myriad of business matters, and establish good connections with the local community. Don’t take this venture on alone; build a team around you that you can trust, including loved ones. You might also contact the Office of Veterans Business Development through the U.S. Small Business Administration. They can offer valuable business training and mentorship that could make certain issues feel more manageable. Additional information and resources can be obtained from the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, which is a program run by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Financial Assistance

When it comes to starting a business, finances can be the deciding factor. As a veteran, you may be entitled to loans specifically designed for those who have served. These include private organizations and charities intended to provide support to the veteran community. Loans can also be obtained through federal programs, which may offer more favorable conditions for a veteran. You may also be eligible for government grants at the federal, state, and local level. The government has created a search engine that allows you to determine your eligibility and to locate grants of which you may avail.

Entrepreneurship brings with it countless opportunities. Give your startup its best possible chance with thorough planning, proper funding, and the right support. Your goals and ambitions can be realized with the dedication you have already shown in service.

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