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 A Quick Guide to Starting a Veteran-Owned Business

If you’re a Veteran who’s thinking of starting a business, this guide from veteran-owned Key West Knife Works will help you to choose the perfect business idea!

According to Michael Guta of Small Business Trends, there are approximately 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses in America and about 57 percent of these businesses are home-based. The majority of America’s veteran-owned businesses are located in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania, but each state’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has its own programs in place to assist veterans. First & Foremost develop your business acumen, and obtain the training and funding you need to kick start your journey to small business ownership. Read on to begin.

Explore Beginner-Friendly Business Ideas

Even if you’d love to run a large corporation one day, it’s best to pursue something small and feasible as a beginner entrepreneur. A few beginner-friendly business ideas include print-on-demand (POD) sales, product reviewing, bookkeeping services, website design, digital marketing, and content creation. You could also launch a food truck business, open your own bakery, or start with something as simple as an ice cream stand. Another option is to buy a business that’s for sale.

When choosing a beginner-friendly business idea, be sure to keep your skills, experiences, and interests in mind. Many military skills can be transferred to your entrepreneurial career path, including your ability to lead and manage others, work with a team, and prioritize tasks and deadlines.

Build Your Business Acumen. (the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions, typically in a particular domain eg. businesses)

In addition to choosing an idea for your new veteran-owned business, you’ll need to develop your business acumen and sharpen your existing business skills. Here are a few ways to do it:

Work for a local veteran-owned business. By specifically seeking employment with a veteran-owned business, you can learn from people who have already walked the path of entrepreneurship. It’s also wise to seek out programs in your area tailored for helping veterans acclimate to finding a civilian job using the skills they acquired in the military.

Enroll in an online degree program. Many online degree programs offer flexible schedules, affordable tuition, and the ability to learn at your own pace. Plus, several areas of study are available to choose from, including accounting, business management, and marketing. By furthering your education with an online accounting degree, for instance, you’ll develop strong business acumen and learn skills in finance, business ethics, marketing, and economics.

Look for Training and Funding Opportunities

While pursuing entrepreneurship as a former military member, several programs under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help to enhance your chances of success. These SBA programs and resources include the following:

  • Boots to Business and Boots to Business Reboot (B2BR)
  • Service Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (SDVETP)
  • Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (WVETP)
  • Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program (VFPETP)

If you’ll need to finance your business idea, you can start by using the SBA’s free online Lender Match tool to search for small business funding options. Additionally, grant opportunities for veterans can often be found through the StreetShares Foundation, VA, and Nav. And if you need help finding small business financing, grants, or entrepreneurial training, don’t hesitate to contact your local Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD).

In Conclusion

Because of their leadership skills, strong sense of integrity, and extensive military training, veterans make successful entrepreneurs. Plus, veterans are self-disciplined, motivated, and determined — all these skills are needed when launching a business.

If you’re ready to use your military skills to pursue an entrepreneurial career path, this quick guide will help you to choose a business idea, expand your business knowledge, and find the training and funding you need to get the ball rolling. Your military service has prepared you for entrepreneurship in several important ways, and now it’s time to use your military training to launch a successful veteran-owned business!

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