How to start a veteran-owned business
- Military training often imparts valuable skills to veterans looking to start a business, including leadership and technological proficiency.
- Many household-name companies, such as FedEx and Walmart, were started by veterans.
- Military veterans enjoy a wide range of resources at University of Phoenix.
Veterans represent about 7% of the adult American population, and they are twice as likely to own a business as the average civilian. In fact, approximately 6% of businesses in America are veteran-owned, accounting for about $948 billion in annual sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Of veterans who start their own companies, nearly 63% rely on personal funding or family savings. This use of family funding for veteran-owned businesses raises the stakes for success.
But securing funding isn’t the only step to owning a business. There are plenty of things veterans can and should do when it comes to successfully sustaining their business ventures.
One of the first steps veterans can take toward successful business ownership is obtaining a business degree. Whether you’re a veteran looking to start a business or simply improve your company’s performance, a business degree is designed to help you succeed and grow in the business world.
After you complete your business education, you’re ready to start your own veteran-led business. Between legal steps, fees, paperwork and other requirements, starting your own business can feel difficult at first. However, the process itself is fairly straightforward.
Reference the following steps to start your own business:
- Settle on a business idea, name and mission statement
- File with the IRS and obtain any necessary state licenses
- Complete a market analysis by identifying target customer segments
- Draft an actionable business plan
- Onboard any required employees
- Fundraise any necessary capital
- Deploy marketing or advertising campaigns
- Take products or services to market
Starting a new business can take time. It’s important to remain patient as you complete the above steps, even if the process itself takes longer than you wish it would.
Veteran-owned businesses are prevalent across a wide variety of industries. In particular, you’ll find many veteran-owned businesses in real estate, finance, transportation, mining and construction markets.
Not all veteran-owned companies are small businesses, though. Many of the larger businesses you regularly depend on may be veteran-owned. For example, FedEx was founded by Frederick Smith, who served four years in the Marine Corps. Similarly, brothers Bud and Sam Walton — who founded Walmart — served in the Navy and the Army, respectively.
Military veteran and University of Phoenix alumnus Jake Clark put his education to work helping other veterans. Learn more about his organization, Save A Warrior™.
During active service, veterans depend on a large skill set. When veterans start businesses, they can use many of these same skills to inform successful business operations and to inspire fellow employees toward improved performance.
The following military skills can benefit business owners:
- Problem-solving — This is an essential skill when adapting to your company’s market, navigating challenges and overcoming potential pitfalls facing your business.
- Leadership — This skill inspires employees and drives a company’s team members toward success.
- Decision-making — This skill comes in handy when committing to specific strategies to support employees and drive business growth.
- Public speaking — Practice makes perfect with this skill. It’s useful in addressing employees, vendors, stakeholders and executives, as well as to convey business details and persuade potential consumers.
- Financial management — This skill is mission-critical for managing budgets, investments and spending habits in the name of business growth.
- Interpersonal communication — With this skill, business owners can correspond effectively with all team members and anyone else involved in regular operations.
- Technological proficiency — In today’s digital world, this skill is essential for operating computers, phones and any other technology necessary to sell products and communicate with customers.
These and other military-taught skills can have a profound impact on your business.
As a veteran, you can benefit from a variety of programs that make starting a business easier. These programs often provide funding, resources, networking channels, mental health support and other benefits that assist you as you build your business. Consult a Student Services representative for more information on some of the programs available to you.
One program — the Veterans Crisis Line — provides 24/7 support for any veterans who might be suffering from suicidal thoughts or tendencies. Since its inception in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has fielded more than 5.6 million calls from veterans in need, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of text messages and 660,000 chats.
Give an Hour® also provides mental health support for veterans and their families through confidential counseling options designed to accommodate busy schedules. Active duty, National Guard and Reserve veterans all qualify for free mental health assistance through Give an Hour.
Some veterans might be ready to work on some specific skills to improve their business. American Corporate Partners (ACP) works directly with veterans by providing personalized mentorship. More than 20,000 veterans have benefited from the one-on-one relationships with mentors who can help servicemen and servicewomen enhance their professional career.
Originally published at https://www.phoenix.edu.