If you’re a veteran looking to start your own business, you’ve come to the right place. In the U.S., there are many resources and benefits to support you and your business endeavors. Several resources can be utilized by current veteran-owned businesses as well. We’ll outline everything you need to know to make your business a success.
Veteran-owned Businesses in the U.S.
The 2022 Census and Annual Business Survey (ABS) estimated there are 304,823 veteran-owned businesses. 10.7% of new business owners were veterans and experienced about $176.6 billion in payroll. So not only are these businesses a significant percentage of total businesses, but they are also employing a significant number of workers.
With Veterans Day right around the corner, many organizations take this time to spotlight their veteran owners and other veteran business owners. While we take time to appreciate and thank those who served in our armed forces, what better way to thank them for their service than to support and promote their businesses?
Why Veterans Make Great Business Owners
While in the military, service members display incredible amounts of discipline, perseverance, and dedication—all of which can be applied to a business setting. According to Michael J. Haynie, Director of D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families, veteran business owners are more likely to out-earn their counterparts and are extremely entrepreneurial. Haynie says this is partly due to service men and women being trained to make things happen, especially in resource-strained and challenging environments.
In addition to tenacity and perseverance, veterans also have the following traits that make them exceptional business owners.
- Natural Leaders: Service members are trained to lead and motivate others. They learn how to set goals, delegate tasks, and build strong teams.
- Disciplined and Natural Planners: Owning a business takes discipline, focus, and planning—especially because you don’t have anyone above you giving you direction. Veterans possess strong discipline and planning skills that help them stay focused on short and long-term goals.
- Born Problem Solvers: From the minute military training begins to retirement, service men and women are always learning to think critically and develop creative solutions to some of the toughest problems. In a business environment, problem-solving is a daily task, and knowing how to think on your feet, critically, sets you up for greater success.
- Strong Worth Ethic: Veterans are dedicated to getting the job done and doing it to the best of their abilities. They’re also willing to go the extra mile, which is essential in the early stages of entrepreneurship.
- Resilient: Resiliency is an important trait in the military. Addressing setbacks, bouncing back, and trying again are essential abilities when operating a business.
- Thrive Under Pressure: Veterans are skilled at staying calm in the face of adversity. They take the most level-headed approach to issues—customer complaints, upset employees—and overcome obstacles.
Starting a Veteran-owned Business
Starting a business is no easy decision. There are many challenges and stressful days as a business owner. However, being an entrepreneur is very rewarding. If you’re a veteran starting a new business, here are some tips to set you up for success.
Firstly, you may be eligible to set up your veteran-owned business through the Vets First Verification Program. Registering with this program allows you access to resources, support, and priority for bidding on government contracts. To qualify for Vets First, you must:
- Own 51% or more of the company you wish to register.
- Have full control over the day-to-day management, decision-making, and strategic policies.
- Hold the highest officer position within the company.
- Work full-time for the business you want to register.
- Have the managerial skills needed to run the business.
- Have the highest paid position within the company or can provide a written statement explaining why you are taking lower pay.
For the full list of requirements, visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
When you register your business as Veteran-owned with Vets First, you have access to several advantages including:
- Priority when bidding on government and federal contracts.
- Tax relief.
- Better access to capital.
- Additional support for your startup or small business.
- Resources, education, and training.
Here are some additional resources veteran business owners can take advantage of:
- U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
- Small Business Administration (SBA)
- SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD)
- Boots to Business*
- Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities*
- Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship*
- Healthcare, including mental healthcare and support
- Veteran Institute for Procurement
- Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (Part of the VA)
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There is multiple funding assistance for veteran-owned businesses.
- SBA has loan programs to help small business owners, including veterans.
- Second Service Foundation: Veterans and their spouses can pitch their businesses and win grants through their Military Entrepreneur Challenge.
- Warrior Rising: This organization is a nonprofit that helps veterans transition to entrepreneurs through training, coaching, and mentoring and an opportunity to receive grants to support their businesses.
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest: Their annual contest awards $30,000 grants to 10 business owners and an additional $20,000 to one veteran-owned business.
Certain states—California, Texas, Michigan, and more—have their own grants and loans for veteran-owned businesses, so be sure to check with your state government to see if you qualify.
Veterans Supporting Veterans
In addition to funds and grants, there are other organizations that support Veteran business in other ways. Some non-profits veterans can utilize include:
- Bob Woodruff Family Foundation: housing, legal services, food banks, and more support.
- Everyone for Veterans: dental care to veterans and their families.
- Operation Homefront: financial security, food security, and affordable housing.
- Hope for the Warriors: job search help, financial help, clinical services, family support.
There are many more organizations dedicated to assisting veterans whether it’s financial, business-related, medical, or mental health support.
If you’re a veteran looking to start your own business, VensureHR can help you grow. Administrative tasks can easily bog down business owners, and with VensureHR, you can outsource much of this administrative burden and focus on growing and running your business. Through payroll solutions, HR support, risk and compliance, benefits administration, and more, our services will set your business up for success and help you grow and scale your operations. Schedule a call with us to learn more about how we can help your veteran-owned business.