Basic Resources for Veterans Interested in Business Ownership

By: Kelli Brewer

If you are a veteran interested in embarking on a new life venture, starting your own business is a great option. And many grants and other resources are available for veterans looking to enter the world of entrepreneurship. While you may feel you are at a disadvantage due to the challenges of re-entering the civilian world, pursuing small business ownership can be a profitable and rewarding enterprise. In fact, veteran-owned businesses form a significant part of the economy in the United States. By forming a plan and knowing the resources available, you can join the many other veterans who are thriving in the business world.

Know your skills, and know the market

As a veteran, you already have a unique and valuable array of skills to offer. Your task is to decide which of these might provide a good basis for a business plan. Alternatively, you may opt to use your existing skills to train for something new or pursue a college degree. Either way, start by developing a vision for your business based on what you know you are good at already.

It is also important to know the market. What businesses are doing well in general? In your immediate area? And what businesses are easier for novices to enter? Some business ideas for veterans with building and maintenance skills include home contracting and landscaping.  Or you could put your organization and communication skills to work with an event planning business. Other good ideas for business start-ups include web design and tech support. You could also investigate acquiring a franchise.

Look into grants for veterans

Among the many grants and loans for which veterans can apply, many are specifically intended for small business start-ups. There are also training workshops, financial advice, and mentorship programs available for veterans planning on transitioning into business ownership. The U.S. Small Business Administration can be a useful resource for pursuing information about loans and grants, as it offers support and opportunities for veterans and their dependents who are interested in launching their own businesses.

Create a business plan

Planning a business may feel like completely uncharted waters, but as a veteran, you are probably already skilled at planning, and at learning to navigate the unfamiliar. Do some research on what your business plan should entail. You will likely want to come up with a general mission statement, a description of goods and services, and of course a financial plan.

Once you have established these, learn about how to put together a pitch, and do a market analysis, considering the possible competition. You will also need to plot an organizational and management structure for your prospective business.

Be aware of the legal ins and outs

Lastly, consider the legal aspects of your proposed business. Will you register your business as a corporation, LLC (limited liability corporation), or sole proprietorship? An LLC, which involves less paperwork and more flexibility, is often the best option for a small start-up business, especially as it can protect your personal assets in the event of any possible lawsuits. Nevertheless, laws regarding LLCs differ from one state to the next.  So do a little research before making this decision. You could consult with an attorney, but if you are concerned about hefty fees, check out a low-cost online business incorporation service.

Of course, you will need to come up with—and register—a snappy or memorable name for your business, too.

Remember that there is usually significant community support for veteran-owned businesses. Whether transitioning to civilian life has gone smoothly, or it has posed new challenges, there are many organizations and programs out there to help you, and a vast number of people who are grateful for your service and will want to see you succeed.

This article is a part of our committment to freelance journalism, as well as the health and well-being of our men and women of the armed services, especially that of our veterans. To find out more about veteran services, feel free to go to: Deploycare.org You can contact the author, Kelli Brewer at: info@deploycare.org

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