Discipline. Teamwork. Dedication. Focus. Performance under pressure.
These are some of the most important traits needed for a successful career as a business owner. They’re also some of the most common traits found in members of the U.S. military. If becoming your own boss has been your dream, perhaps starting your own business makes sense for the next step in your career as you plan your transition to civilian life. You’ll be in good company, because more than 2.5 million small businesses are owned by veterans.
If entrepreneurship appeals to you, we can help. Read on to learn about a variety of resources that are available to help you get started and create growth over time.
1. Learn entrepreneurship basics
The military’s Transition Assistance Program, also referred to as TAP, should be your first stop in transition planning. TAP offers you access to a program on the fundamentals of starting a small business called Boots to Business, which was developed by the Small Business Administration. If you have already transitioned to civilian life, even if it was years ago, you and your spouse are eligible for the similar Boots to Business Reboot program.
2. Turn to higher education
Another resource that can help you take on the challenges of creating your own business is the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans. This deep-dive course on starting and running a small business was founded at Syracuse University and is now offered at select universities around the country. For women veterans, female military spouses/partners, Syracuse University also offers V-WISE, a small-business workshop that travels the country.
3. Consider a franchise
Interested in owning your own business but don’t have a concept in mind? Consider purchasing a franchise. Franchisors see veterans as ideal candidates for helping grow their businesses, and many offer special discounts, incentives or training to franchisees who are military veterans. Visit VetFran to learn about the nearly 600 franchises that are looking for you. You can search for opportunities by franchise name, industry or even the amount of investment required.
4. Register as a veteran-owned small business
When you can register your veteran-owned small business, you earn the right to do business with the Veterans Affairs Department. You’ll also have a leg up when you bid on any state or federal government contracts. Plus, you’ll enjoy tax relief and have easier access to capital to fund business growth. Visit the VA website to learn how to register your business and get advice on how to bid on government contracts.
5. Bookmark the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal
If there’s one resource you visit often, it should be the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal. This one-stop shop offers easy access to all the resources you need to help you:
- Find funding for the start-up or growth of your small business.
- Expand your small business.
- Find contracting opportunities with the federal government.
- Learn how to become a supplier for federal agencies, including the VA, via their procurement processes.
- Access entrepreneurship and business planning training opportunities.
And while you’re considering your post-transition options, you may also want to visit the USBA Military Job Center.
USBA is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.