Veterans can make some of the best entrepreneurs thanks to their self-discipline and strong leadership qualities. Not only that, but veterans have access to all kinds of useful resources intended to help them get new businesses off the ground. Pursuing the path of a business owner is a great way to let your skills shine in a fulfilling career. Here are a few essential tips that can increase your chances of launching a successful small business.
If you’re still tossing around different business ideas, consider setting up a dropshipping store. Dropshipping is a great way to learn about the e-commerce market without making any risky investments or committing to particular products. With dropshipping, you don’t hold any inventory. Instead, you market products to consumers and have them shipped directly from the supplier to your customer, paying for each item only when you make a sale. You can even use dropshipping to test your business idea before having your own products manufactured. Research different products on Oberlo, which includes office supplies, pens, boutique cleaning, and everything in-between, to learn what kinds of items you can sell in your online store.
Capitalize on Your Existing Skills
During your military service, you likely developed some unique skills that can be transformed into a great business idea. Many veterans have developed successful businesses based on the things they learned in the military. For example, Marine Corps veteran Fred Smith founded FedEx after observing how the military shipped things from one place to another. Think about the kinds of skills you learned or the particular problems you solved during service. You can also explore some business ideas that tend to work well for first-time entrepreneurs, like freelance writing, pet sitting, landscaping, painting, and event planning.
Access Training and Educational Resources
Pursuing education is another great way to develop a business idea. Fortunately, you have access to several different educational and training resources designed to teach veterans how to get a business up and running. For example, Boots to Business is a training program for veteran entrepreneurs. This program teaches veterans the fundamentals of running a business and techniques for evaluating their business plans. Similarly, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) program teaches entrepreneurial skills to veterans and offers intensive courses on how to fully manage a business. If you’re interested in the tech industry, check out Patriot Boot Camp. This informative series of programs teaches veterans everything they need to know about launching a tech start-up.
Research Your Idea
Before you move forward with a business idea, research your market. Is there a need for the product or service you intend to offer? Plan out who your customers will be, why they will buy from you, and how you plan to come out on top of your competition. As you conduct your market research, Entrepreneur recommends seeking information from Small Business Development Centers and the Small Business Administration. You can use these resources to develop customer surveys and find out more about the market need for your business idea.
Consider Small Business Grants and Loans
Most people need to acquire some kind of funding before they can start a business. Luckily, veterans have access to a number of small business grants. Nav describes many of these funding opportunities, including the Department of Veterans Affairs Small Business Grants that do not have to be repaid. If you need a loan to start your business but you don’t have the credit or collateral, loan programs from the US Small Business Association (SBA) may be helpful. The SBA guarantees these loans so money lenders are more willing to take the risk.
Veterans have a wealth of knowledge and resources that can help them turn their business ideas into successful startups. While educational resources and funding opportunities can make it easier to pursue the path of an entrepreneur, getting a business off the ground still requires a lot of very hard work. Fortunately, veterans are well-equipped with the valuable skills and experience needed to enjoy small business success.
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