The Military Veteran’s Guide to Starting a Business: Everything You Need to Know and More

Are you an old soldier looking forward to joining many other millions of veterans like yourself who’re running small businesses and are thriving at it? Luckily, by your many years in service, you already possess the necessary qualities that make a successful entrepreneur; resilience, hard work, and discipline. Therefore, all you need right now is a guide to build your veteran-owned business from scratch to the top of the pyramid.

Before planning your business, carefully evaluate the following points:

  • Why Are You Going Into This Business

Today’s successful entrepreneurs were never motivated by money; neither did they dabble into a business because of its popularity. Instead, a vital mission birthed their business idea. To follow suit, think about solving a current problem, especially within your vicinity. For instance, you may come up with an eco-friendly concept.

Nevertheless, don’t aim for a massive mission as that may require enormous resources to start up.

  • Are You Passionate About Your Business Idea?

It would be best if you began a business you’re passionate about and can promise your commitment to regardless of the situation. You should ask yourself: am I starting this business because it’s a popular choice, or because I believe in my product? Your business idea may be great but ensure that your passion for it is equally inexhaustible so that you and your business wouldn’t be at a disadvantaged position.

  • Are You Equipped With the Necessary Skill to Run the Business?

How skillful are you in running your intended business? Do you have an excellent background in this business? Can you solve the problems associated with the type of business you’re planning? If you’re thinking about making a product, you must have the right formula for making it. On the other hand, if you desire to render a service, ensure you can run it and not be dependent on your employees.

Moreover, if military knowledge is the only background you have, you can still run a small business. For instance, you can provide materials on security services. However, if you want something away from the military, like selling reverse osmosis systems, acquire entrepreneurship training tailored for veterans to help you thrive in the trade.

1. Planning your Business

Planning your business correctly helps you realize the feasibility, originality, and marketability of your business idea. Below is how to plan your business.

Run a Market Research

Market research helps you to find out information about your target audience, consumer base, prospective customers, their personas, and how profitable your commodity or service would be amongst them. More so, your market research analysis should help you find out what’s popular in your industry, what your prospective customers expect of your product or service, and what’s causing them to buy similar products or services like yours.

You can utilize online questionnaire, focus groups and phone interviews to get information on the problems your target audience face when buying similar products. Moreover, you should evaluate the performances of your opponents and the reaction of buyers to their products. Consequently, you figure out how to fill the gap with your product.

Calculate How Much it will Cost you to Open your Business

Lots of businesses are off the radar because they’re sunk in debt. Ensure you calculate every penny it will cost you to run your business. You should know your source of capital. We advise you to try as much as possible to avoid taking loans to start up your business unless you have a viable means of paying back.

2. Funding your Business

Consider the following funding alternatives.

Self- Funding

Self-funding involves utilizing your savings for capital or asking family and friends for financial assistance. 

Venture Capital

This alternative involves searching for investors who are ready to provide startup capital while they become shareholders of your enterprise. Venture capital is ideal for entrepreneurs whose capital requirement is costly. Moreover, the pro of this alternative is that, regardless of the financial assistance they offer, they also support your business with expert information, resources, and technical management to expand your enterprise.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding involves funding your venture through public support, generally, through the internet. It can be donation-based, rewards-based, or equity-based.

Business Loans and Grants

As a veteran, there is an ocean of business loans and grant projects you can tap into. These are particular aids for honorably discharged veterans. They include the VA Small Business Grants, for example.

Ensure you familiarize yourself with how you can protect yourself against identity theft as a veteran so as not to lose everything you worked hard for. 

Entrepreneurship challenges aren’t one of those challenges only veterans can relate to. But amongst many, you have better chances of succeeding because you have all it takes. Go ahead and bring your dream to pass by following the above guide. Soon, you’ll join the millions of veterans thriving in small businesses.

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