Veteran Entrepreneurs: Practical Tips for Starting Your First Business

Starting your own business can lead to the most fulfilling career possible.
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Last update:

October 6, 2023

Are you a veteran who’s considering starting your own business? Here’s the good news: The various skills and disciplines learned in the military can be used to your advantage in virtually any type of business. And there are a lot of resources available to veteran entrepreneurs that can help you get your business up and running. Here are some practical tips for choosing the perfect business idea, utilizing veteran resources, and more. 

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Settle on a Business Idea 

Perhaps you already know exactly what kind of business you want to start. But if you don’t know exactly what you want, that’s OK too. Many people who have an entrepreneurial spirit must think long and hard about what type of business they could succeed in. The key is to consider your interests, skills, talents, and resources as you sift through ideas.

As a veteran, you might have specialized skills that could prove valuable in specific industries, as well as any skills acquired before and since your time in the service. Play to your strengths, and choose a promising business idea so that you can focus on starting and managing it. 

If you're not sure where to start in brainstorming business ideas, here a few to consider:

The film industry. Though it’s a challenging industry, working in film can provide you with the perfect opportunity to use the discipline and hard work that was required in the military. Plus, there are many niches and fields to choose from, such as producing, directing, and so on. 

Mobile business. These days, the possibilities for running a mobile business are very broad. As long as you follow the regulations and ordinances in your area, you can save a lot of money on overhead and simplify your operations by forgoing a physical space. If you’re interested in cooking, pet grooming, or styling hair, make a mobile business out of it!

Dropshipping. If you like to sell things, starting a dropshipping business could be a perfect first venture. Dropshipping basically means that you sell products from a manufacturer on your website, and then ship those products directly from the manufacturer to the customers. You get a cut from each sale, and you don’t have to keep a physical inventory.

Franchising. Jumping in on an established franchise can also be a great way to start out as an entrepreneur. When opening a franchise, you automatically get a business that is fully branded and already serves a particular demographic. It gives you an opportunity to succeed quickly as you learn about marketing, strategy, hiring, and other essential business elements. 

Determine Your Business Structure and Location

One of the first steps you’ll need to take when opening your business is to choose a business structure. There are several different paths to take here, but forming an LLC or S corporation works best for many entrepreneurs, as you get more tax advantages than some of the other structures. If you’re wary of paying high taxes, make sure you also research which states have the lowest tax rates.

Are you going to work in an office or from home? Many new business owners choose to work from home because they don’t have to rent a workspace, and they can use the money they save to help get their new company off the ground. If you make the decision to work from home, you’ll need to create an office that inspires productivity. Look to locate your office in a low-traffic area of your home and make sure that your family knows when the space is off limits. You may also need to purchase some furniture and accessories like a standup desk, ergonomic chair, printer, and a comfortable and durable headset.  

Explore Your Resources

Your self-sacrifice doesn’t go unnoticed when it comes to the business world. Not only do people love to support veteran-owned companies, but there is a wide range of resources that you can draw from, including grants, loans, training, mentoring, networking, and more. Here is a brief list of resources to look into as you prepare to get your venture off the ground: 

  • Office of Veterans Business Development
  • Veteran Entrepreneur Portal
  • Veteran Business Outreach Center
  • VetBiz
  • Boots to Business
  • VetFran
  • Patriot Boot Camp

Starting your own business can lead to the most fulfilling career possible. Carefully choose a business idea to run with, establish the right business structure, and tap into all the veteran resources you can. And plan to put your perseverance and grit into practice each day. 

Written on:

November 5, 2021
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