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Go-To Tips and Resources for Becoming a Vetrepreneur
If you're a military service member ready to transition into civilian life, you need to have a plan for what comes next in your career. Because you're no stranger to hard work and perseverance and well-equipped with a host of practical skills, starting up a business of your own may be the perfect next step for you. Whether you choose to pursue an area in which you are already a specialist or take on something completely different, several important tips and resources are worth considering before you start.
Small Business Training Programs
The military offers a plethora of excellent training programs for its veterans that provide education, skills, support, and, in some cases, grant opportunities to graduates of the program. Some of the best programs out there are:
Small Business Grants
Are you hurting for seed money? Don't even think about launching a new business on your own without checking into the many small business grants that NerdWallet points out are available to you! The Warrior Rising program, for instance, also offers grant opportunities to those who complete their virtual training program.
The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) helps vets obtain federal contracts and offers assistance with every aspect of veteran entrepreneurship. Their Veteran Entrepreneur Portal is a gateway into all kinds of information, resources, grants, and job opportunities.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program gives grants to startup businesses in the innovative tech field, and though they are not exclusively for veterans, they will give funding for both the research it takes to make sure your business will be viable and for the launch of the business itself once you know that it is.
Finally, Hivers and Strivers is an angel investing group aimed specifically at funding veteran-owned startups. These are only a few of the resources available to you; check in regularly to Grant Watch to see what else you may qualify for.
Small Business Loans for Veterans
In most cases, any grants you may receive won't cover all the expenses of launching your new business. You will need a variety of equipment specific to your field along with the basics, such as a computer, laptop or tablet, smartphone, printers, and office furniture. If the phone and laptop you've used throughout your service period have seen better days, it may be time for an upgrade.
All of these expenses can be rolled into your small business loan, but be sure to check out seasonal promotions and sales to get the best prices — you want your money to go as far as possible. Explore these loan options offered to veterans:
Connect with nonprofit networks that offer veteran entrepreneurs ongoing business mentorship, career advice, and advocacy. The National Veteran-Owned Business Association, American Corporate Partners, and the Institute for Veteran and Military Families are several organizations that are there to help. Others, like BusinessUSA and the Veteran Fast Launch Initiative, provide free software and tools to help you launch and grow your business.
As you begin to make plans, don't be afraid to think outside the box. Launching a career as a security consultant, firearms trainer, government contractor, or aviation specialist can be a natural choice for many coming out of the military.
However, other vets have found success in more creative endeavors, like starting up an off-road touring company, an extreme sports and outdoor adventures business, or even a disaster preparedness service. Research articles that recommend career paths for veterans and weigh the pros and cons.
These days, technology is a must-have, regardless of what direction you choose. If you need help with getting electronics for your venture, there are groups like Tech for Troops that can help. Many providers offer discounts to veterans, too. That goes for your internet service as well as your technology.
Keep in mind that if you intend to do video meetings, host a vlog, offer live streaming, or engage in any other data-intensive online activities, as TVTech explains, 5G offers the best results. Often associated with gaming pursuits, this tool can be a key solution in your vetreprenurial success.
Your military service has prepared you well, so take full advantage of the resources and tools out there that will help you launch your business successfully.
Connect with Joe Baugher for more information, ideas and resources useful to your journey.