Building a business as a veteran entrepreneur is possible – take advantage of available resources and funding options to help your business flourish

By Aly J. Yale  |  Published: January 29, 2019

A Veteran's guide to starting a small business

Veterans don’t just help protect our country; they build it up, too.

According to the most recent Census Bureau data, over nine percent of all small businesses are veteran-owned in our country, equating to more than 2.4 million companies across the nation. In total, veterans employ nearly 6 million American workers.

With their well-honed skill sets, tireless work ethic and dedication to the betterment of our country, veterans are uniquely poised for entrepreneurial success — but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy journey.

As with any business venture, starting out as a veteran entrepreneur has its ups and downs. From coming up with a killer business idea to finding the financing to make it happen, there are a lot of steps along the way.

The Small Business Administration estimates that 85.3% of veteran business owners founded their businesses themselves. Are you thinking of joining the ranks of veteran entrepreneurs and small business owners? This guide is here to help.

Building a business from the ground up

No matter what you specialized in during your years of service, there’s room for you in the business world. Just look at the current breakdown of veteran-owned businesses for proof. Veterans have their hand in virtually every sector of the economy, from finance and insurance to transportation, real estate, construction and even healthcare.

Generating your business idea

The key is to recognize your unique skill sets and knowledge base and turn those specialties into a profitable, successful business idea. Just think:

  • What were your duties in service? What industries and sectors do those translate to in the civilian world?
  • What unique skills and expertise do you have that others don’t? (These don’t have to be service-related)
  • What advice or guidance can you provide that there is demand for?
  • What are you interested in or passionate about?

You will also want to consider your goals as a veteran entrepreneur. Do you want to employ other veterans? Donate funds to veteran assistance programs? Simply reach as many customers and make as many sales as possible? Knowing your goals as an entrepreneur can help you hone in on the absolute best businesses ideas.

Once you’ve created a short list of potential business options, do some market research to see what demand is out there. You should also look at competitors in the space to determine how you can differentiate your business and your services.

Putting the business plan on paper

Once you’ve decided on an appropriate business idea, it’s time to plan it out. You’ll want to break down your company’s purpose and mission, your market and potential audience, the resources and team members you’ll need, as well as what products and services you will offer. You’ll also want a plan for marketing and sales efforts.

Business plans are designed to give you a general roadmap to work from, as well as inform potential investors and lenders about your company. Keep in mind that every business is different, so if you’re using a template to create your business plan, make sure you customize it to your unique needs and goals.

Registering your business

It’s important to start your business off on the right legal foot — and that means registering your business with the government. This might include filing a “Doing Business As,” registering as an LLC, partnership or corporation and obtaining an Employer Identification Number.

Here’s what the business registration process generally looks like:

If you’re unsure about any step in the business registration process, consider enlisting an attorney to help. They can guide you through the proper processes to ensure your business is legal and ready for operation.

Establishing & building business credit

Your credit score and history will play a big role in what types of financing you can secure (and at what rate) for your business goals. To ensure you have the best access to affordable funds, consider boosting your credit before applying for any personal or business loans.

Here’s how you can do that: Continue to original article

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