Starting your own business comes with a lot of things to think about, including having funds set aside to keep afloat until you start making money with your idea. Once you have a great plan and the means to carry it out, it’s important to check out all the resources that are available to you.
As a veteran, you have access to grants, loans, and assistance that other entrepreneurs don’t, and you also have a unique skill set that will lend itself well to a variety of different business opportunities; this means that there are numerous options for your future as a self-made businessperson.
Getting started takes a lot of consideration and research; when it comes to starting a business, the details matter. Think about whether you’ll need to keep working while you’re investing in your dream, or if you can take some time off to focus on your new career, as well as whether you’ll be able to run your business out of your home or if you’ll need a storefront or office space. Work out a business plan and budget to figure out where the next year will take you, and talk to your friends and family members in order to get help during the process.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking to start your own business.
Finding the right business for you
As a veteran, there are many things you’re qualified for that civilians are not. The knowledge you gained during your time in the service can help you find success in several different industries, from security to disaster prep and planning for government agencies. Think about your experience and how you might apply it to a business, and don’t underestimate the power of doing something you genuinely love. This will help you stay motivated during the first year, when things can be the most difficult for business owners.
Figure out funding
Funding your business is one of the first things you’ll need to think about, because it can be a complicated process. There are many different types of loans out there for small businesses — including short-term and small business loans, a line of credit, and grants — but they all have varying details depending on what kind of industry you want to be in, what your timeline looks like, and the amount of money required.
Look for a mentor
There are many ways you can find help when it comes to figuring out how to start your own business, including befriending a fellow entrepreneur in your area or looking for a mentor in someone who has experience in the military and is now working as a civilian. These relationships could prove invaluable to you as you learn how to get your business up and running, and you may even be able to form a partnership.
There are many programs out there specifically made for helping veterans make a move into the business world, from providing education on how to start a company from the ground up to helping secure financing. You can start with the Institute For Veterans and Military Families, where you can find tons of resources and programs that will fit your needs, including those that assist disabled veterans and women.
Practice your interview skills
When you start your own business — especially a service-based one — you will likely run into clients who need to learn more about you and what your company stands for. This is where great interview and person-to-person skills will come in handy, so hold a mock interview with a friend or loved one and practice speaking about yourself and your business. Come up with a script to explain how transferable your skills are to your business and ability to provide what a client needs. Take time to research common interview questions to help you stay prepared and confident.
Starting a business on your own can be stressful or overwhelming if you get into it without a good plan. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and don’t be afraid to lean on friends or look for support from a network. Time, planning, and patience will go a long way when you’re starting your own business.