Being a business owner takes commitment, decisiveness, leadership and passion. The same qualities could be said of our nation’s veterans. As our Armed Forces return home, the transition into civilian life begins.
Is being a business owner the right choice for veterans? The financial independence and opportunities are an obvious advantage to being a successful business owner. If you are a veteran interested in starting a business, consider these resources.
Once you have get your business plan off the ground you should apply through vetbiz.gov to become an official veteran-owned business. It is a free service from the Department of Veterans Affairs that can lead to many benefits. They will ask for a lot of personal information to qualify for the program, but being an approved veteran-owned business will pay off in the end.Vetbiz.gov
A benefit of becoming an official veteran-owned business is being at the top of the government’s list of contractors or sub-contractors. According to usaspending.gov, the U.S. Government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. If you can use this to your businesses advantage, here is a guide to doing business with the U.S. Department of Defense. Secondly, you will receive developmental assistance through the Mentor-Protégé program. Lastly, you are eligible for Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) set-asides from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
If you have the entrepreneurial itch, reach out to mentors or training programs to help you transition into business ownership. This great article from Militarygear.com outlines the new Operation Boots to Business program that provides entrepreneurial training for veterans. It’s a national program that is currently being piloted with the U.S. Marine Corps in four cities across the country. This program is designed benefit the transitioning service members that want to take a business to the top and create more jobs in their area.
The SBA is a great place to look for resources and training programs to help make your start up a success. The SBA has a great database for searching for loans and grants that are available to veteran-owned small businesses. Whether your just starting out or ready to expand your business, the loans and grants can help lower the capital needed to make that next step. The SBA also has articles on everything from establishing a business to taking a small business to the next level.
If you don’t have an idea for a new company, but you like the idea of owning your own business, you can look into opening a franchise of an existing company. There are a number of companies known for offering large discounts off franchising and application fees. Regardless of the business you want to start, these resources will help you start a successful veteran-owned business.
Photo courtesy jim.greenhill