Financial security post-military is one of the most pressing challenges most vets face. The civilian labor market can be tough and unforgiving for civilians, let alone vets. When you may have spent years out of the workforce, you begin to question whether there is a spot for you once you decide to test the water. An alternative route is to start your own business. Going it on your own can be one of the most rewarding decisions you ever make. Below are some tips for veterans who are interested in starting their own business.
Use the Help That’s There for You
Hundreds of programs have been designed to assist veterans, from those aimed at helping vets overcome PTSD to those geared towards those starting their own businesses. Veterans are now dealing with a major navigation problem, and you can kind of spin your wheels with the myriad resources out there for you.
Vets should start by looking for local groups and resources, as well as consulting their network of fellow vets to see which groups they found most useful. The military’s transition assistance program, or TAP, has a part on entrepreneurship called Boots to Business that can help veterans learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and understand the support services accessible to them.
Find Someone to Mentor You
TAP also has a part on entrepreneurship called “Boots to Business” that can help veterans learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and understand the support services accessible to them. Those that go out and interact are significantly more likely to succeed than those who go it alone. Entrepreneurship is usually much more successful when you are in touch and working with fellow entrepreneurs.
Reach out to fellow vets who have launched their own businesses and ask for help. Entrepreneur vets should also look into the SCORE program, a volunteer initiative affiliated with the Small Business Administration that assists veterans in finding business mentors. SCORE has been around for decades and is an important resource partner. You get access to a large pool of human resources to answer questions and put you on the right footing.
Create a Business Plan
Any successful business starts with a well-thought-out business plan. It’s critical that you write it down rather than just having a hazy idea of it in your head. Forcing yourself to write out your plan is an important part of concretizing what you want to do and, more importantly, how you are going to do it. People who write out their plans and goals are also more likely to follow through on them.
If you need help creating your plan, you can always ask your mentors and advisors. It is also crucial to keep in mind that once you have the plan written down, it does not become an untouchable document that should never be amended again. Businesses can and do often change direction and mission–often multiple times through their life-
Striking out on your own and trying to build something from the ground up is both exhilarating and stressful. The fear of the unknown and the lack of stability drive many people away from entrepreneurship and towards something more predictable. Veterans, however, are well-positioned to deal with the hardships and persevere through the adversity that almost inevitably follows when starting your own venture. Keep the above recommendations in mind and give your fledgling business everything it needs to survive its first year.