You Served Your Country — Now It’s Time To Serve Yourself As An Entrepreneur
There are many reasons that people choose entrepreneurship. Often, it’s for a sense of achievement or financial independence. Other times, it’s to fulfill a lifelong dream. Veterans tend to go into business for themselves because they know they have the drive, determination, and discipline necessary to do so. Whatever your reasons, we’ve got tips on how to get started right here.
Utilize your resources.
US Veterans have access to a plethora of resources that others don’t. Employment and job training is one of these, which you can read about on the National Association of American Veterans (NAAV) website. The US Department of Energy also offers resources for Veterans, including job training and DOE scholarships for Vets seeking to work in energy management or intelligence. And although not earmarked specifically for Veterans, your local SCORE Chapter will almost certainly have a mentor that has also served and is willing and able to guide you into civilian life as an entrepreneur.
Choose a business.
According to CNBC, more than 2.5 million businesses in the United States are Veteran-owned. This underscores the popularity of entrepreneurship for former active-duty Servicemen and women. These small businesses range from teaching golf to security consulting and everything in between.
No one can tell you what type of business you should run, but there are a few ways to determine this for yourself. Start by evaluating your skills. This could be something you learned in service or an area you’re already adept in before. You also want to pay close attention to what you actually like doing because, as an entrepreneur, you have to love your job, or you’ll quickly find that success may never come.
Handle legal matters.
When you open your own business, one of the first steps you should take after deciding what you want to do is to choose a business name and register as an LLC, which stands for limited liability corporation. This is a flexible business structure that allows you to change the way you run your business at any time. You’ll also enjoy some tax advantages, and if you don’t mind a little bit of paperwork and researching local laws, you can save on attorney fees by using an online formation service.
Something else to consider once you are registered as an LLC is to also register your business name as a trademark. This is one way to protect yourself against competitors trying to piggyback off of your reputation and brand.
Look into financing.
Choosing the right financing is crucial, particularly if you are on a limited income. There are many options, but most Veterans begin with a small business loan through the SBA’s Veteran Advantage program. This program — which is available only to businesses that are majority-owned by a Veteran with an honorable discharge (if you’ve lost your discharge records, you can request them online) — provides loans of up to $5 million to assist you in acquiring capital and growing your new business. You can use these funds to start a business from scratch or to invest in a franchise, which is essentially a business that has already been researched and is available to license in a particular territory.
Veterans are an important factor in the US economy. With so many Veteran-owned businesses, Vets create jobs and have a significant impact on their communities. If you are getting ready to do the same, research is key. Look ahead now for resources and financing, and make sure to handle legal matters before you launch. When all the pieces are in place, the success you seek will be yours for the taking.
NAAV exists to serve 18.8 million Veterans in the United States. Find out how to get involved here.