A Veteran’s Guide to Entrepreneurship
Veterans have numerous options for transferring the skills they acquire in the military to their lives as civilian business owners. However, as first-time entrepreneurs, many veterans face challenges they may struggle to overcome. Fortunately, various resources exist to help veterans start and operate a business successfully. Today, we share some of the best tips and resources to get you started on the right track.
Assistance in Developing a New Business Idea
Veterans may not have the formal education that teaches some of the most valuable lessons necessary for success in the business world. However, their military service can equip them to:
- Work under pressure
- Lead and motivate others
- Be self-reliant
Despite having a wide range of skills to draw upon, many veterans struggle to pinpoint a viable business idea and execute it. However, non-profit organizations assist with assessing a business idea’s feasibility and identifying a target market. For example, mentors may help first-time veteran entrepreneurs uncover specific skills leading to the formation of companies offering a wide range of goods and services, such as:
- Information technology consulting
- Automobile supplies
- Personal training services to share physical fitness strategies
- Electrical or construction services
In addition, veterans serving as mentors can offer guidance about creating companies to compete for federal government contracts to veterans recovering from injuries while transitioning to business ownership.
Creating a Business Plan
A business plan is essential for anyone starting a new company. It has many components, including a mission statement, definition of services, target audience, financial projections, marketing plan, and operations strategy. Business plans are essential for veterans who hope to apply for all types of business financing. In addition, creating a business plan forces veterans to thoughtfully consider every aspect of a new business, thereby increasing its chances of success. If you’re having trouble putting together a business plan, resources such as SCORE provide excellent templates to help you get started.
Determining a Business Structure
According to the SBA, a business’s formal structure determines its tax obligations. Enterprise Consultants Group notes that veterans can benefit from consulting with a tax attorney for help choosing a format that suits their needs. For example, a veteran who opens an information technology consulting business may opt for a simple sole proprietorship. However, a veteran who starts a construction company with employees is susceptible to more significant risks and may prefer a limited liability company (LLC) to protect personal assets from lawsuits targeting their businesses. The simplest way to start an LLC in Arizona is to work with a formation service.
One of the most significant challenges most entrepreneurs face is acquiring new business funding. The benefits veterans may receive include the Small Business Administration’s fastest approval for loans and maximum loan guarantees.
Whether it’s through conventional or alternative funding options, you’ll want to be sure your credit score is as high as you can muster. If you’re not sure about yours, be sure to obtain your annual free credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus. The odds are stacked in your favor for getting better loan terms when you have lower debt and your credit score is 740 or higher.
Also, veterans who choose to apply their skills as entrepreneurs may find that franchise ownership is an excellent option. Franchisors who value the benefits of military experience offer veterans substantial discounts on franchise fees with attractive financing options.
After completing their military careers, many veterans find fulfillment in owning and operating a business. Veterans should write a business plan, choose a structure, invest in an accounting system, obtain necessary financing, and develop marketing strategies.
The Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council is dedicated to supporting veterans and their families through services, education, and programs. Learn how you can help.
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