South San Francisco, CA February 8, 2021 by Kelli Brewer, DeployCare.com
If your military career is coming to a close — or ended recently — you’ve likely been busy exploring career opportunities for this new chapter in your life. For those who are looking for an alternative to a standard 9-to-5 role, entrepreneurship is often an appealing route. No matter your interests or skill set, you can find something that will work well as a small business.
Interested in learning what it takes to get the process rolling? Everything South City shares expert tips for launching your own veteran-owned small business.
Know what business ideas work best for new entrepreneurs
Across industries, there are some business ideas that work better for first-time entrepreneurs than others. When you’ve had no experience with running a business, it is wise to stick with ideas that don’t require massive amounts of capital, a full staff, or in-depth industry knowledge. Instead, choose a model for your new venture that is manageable for you, and that is aligned with your interests and skills.
Some specific examples include woodworking, life coaching, personal training, landscaping, photography, or running a food truck. Once you’ve chosen the type of business that works best for you, plan a brainstorming session to decide upon a name, get ideas for your branding, and to create a list of your products/services (along with anticipated pricing).
Utilize benefits exclusive to veterans
As a veteran, you will have access to unique benefits that can be extremely helpful when making the shift to entrepreneurship. Upon doing research for your business, you may find that it makes sense to go back to school to increase your knowledge in a particular area. If so, explore the VA education benefits that are available to you before enrolling in a program.
For assistance with your financial needs, check out the services available through USAA. Whether you bank with them already or not, be sure to review the rates they can offer you on an insurance policy for your small business, or on a loan.
Find the right supplies & equipment without spending a fortune
All businesses involve startup costs. Even if you plan to offer services online or by phone, you will need to have a website, dedicated phone line, and various subscriptions to run your business. Those who are opening a physical location will have even more supplies and equipment to fund, which can quickly get costly.
To get everything you need without spending a fortune, start by creating a list of your needs. From there, work to find deals on everything. For example, if your current tablet or smartphone isn’t operating at full capacity, you’ll need to upgrade to avoid any issues down the road. While this can get expensive, some wireless providers offer trade-in deals. This allows you to get what you need at a dramatically discounted price.
Another great example is equipment for a food establishment. Oftentimes, local restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and food trucks that have recently made upgrades (or that have gone out of business) will sell their equipment at a fraction of the cost of buying new.
Create goals and a timeline for your new business
Once you’ve established the basics, it’s time to set goals and a timeline to launch your new business. At this stage, it is advantageous to work with other small business owners to get advice on what to expect. Connect with business owners in your area by attending virtual networking group meetings, and by scheduling one-on-one meetings with people from those groups.
Entrepreneurship is a fantastic career option for those who’ve recently left the military. By utilizing exclusive benefits that are available to veterans, seeking the advice of other local business owners, and taking smart steps with your money, you can realize your dream of becoming a successful business owner.
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About Kelli Brewer