VATIC change of Pace: 5 Tips for Veterans Thinking About Starting a Business

Vatic Note: There are so many homeless vets out there in this world right now that are not being taken care of by the military, that I felt this could help them if they have access to a computer, or to a library with public computer use.   This was of interest to me because, while veterans make good employees, they also make some very good critics of bad management, so they don't always work out as employees.  I know,  "I ARE ONE".  Right,  I am a vet and was self employed for over 30 years.  Actually, this below is good advice for anyone seeking to become self employed.  As a vet you have the skills already to do what it takes.

Frankly, I got tired of mid-management making bad decisions,  running the company I was working for,  out of business and then I had to go on another job search again.  That got really old for me.  I needed stability and was not going to find it working for others, so I started my own business.

That way, I reasoned, if I became unemployed, I had no one to blame but myself and it removed that feeling of helplessness I always had when I saw my managers making mistakes that I knew would hurt the company, but they would not listen to me, so self employment was the only alternative.   I lasted over 30 years self employed.

All of these below are so true and valuable for a new start up company, that I just had to put it up to help out someone else like me.  I had no where to go to get the advice and help I needed.   I learned by making the mistakes and correcting them as I saw them or as they were pointed out to me by the employee or family and friends.

The tip I found most valuable was the one that says "Find a Need and fill it", because that is what I did on my first venture into self employment.  It worked, but eventually I got in over my head and did not know how to grow that business in that line of work, since I had never done it before.

So the other tip about doing what you "KNOW BEST" and also using seniors and other resources as information and training aids, is also very valuable to walk with you through the different growth stages.  I ultimately ended up in my chosen field that I had a passion about which was the mortgage business, ironically.

Every successful closing resulted in people obtaining their dream, which was home ownership and we would be their constant consultant if they got in trouble or lost a job.  WE always told them, you have a team behind you forever, after closing.  It doesn't stop at closing but goes on to help them through tough times.

We had the lowest foreclosure rate on our loans in the whole four corners area of my state.  I am proud of that fact.   So, check this out below and seriously consider doing self employment in something you love to do.  I truly believe the future economically, in America is going to be in small businesses run by average citizens.   The day of big megalopoly corporations is gone.  They destroy more then they create. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank Veterans today for this article, its timely and desperately needed.

5 Tips for Veterans Thinking About Starting a Business 

Posted by GPD, Veterans Today,  on May 27, 2015

5 Tips for Veterans Thinking About Starting a Business
Image credit: The U.S. Army | Flickr
Maybe you’ve been thinking about going out on your own and starting a business. It’s a pretty daunting thought, yet people with military experience tend to make excellent entrepreneurs.

In fact, a 2011 study from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy reported that veterans are about 45 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs than people with no active-duty military experience.  The most recent U.S. Census data from 2007 showed veterans owned about 2.4 million businesses that generated $1.2 trillion in receipts and employed 5.8 million people, proving that veterans make their mark on America long after their military service has ended.
Military veterans are organized, goal oriented, skilled and ready to take smart risks at the right times. Veterans not only have superior training, we have the confidence to generate fresh ideas and make connections to build valuable networks. More importantly, veterans have the resourcefulness to make do with minimal assets and the persistence to stick with it until we succeed. If you’re a veteran thinking about taking the plunge into small business ownership, there are plenty of advantages available to you. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Go with what you know.

Military service may have given you a solid foundation in a variety of fields, from computers and technology to communications, health care, operations and engineering. If you wonder how your military skills will translate into the civilian world, don’t worry.
Your character, courage and integrity translate just fine.

If you’re interested in starting your own business, stick to your passions and go with what you know best. Translating your military resume to civilian needs is much easier when you’re in familiar territory. For example, squad leaders make excellent project managers, and veterans have come up with original product ideas based on field experience, from energy drinks to better performance gear.
Related: 5 Things Veterans Should Know to Start a Technology Business

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

To survive, entrepreneurs have to fill a lot of roles, especially in the first years when a business is in the startup phase and growing rapidly. However, being everything to everyone isn’t always the way to get things done right. Know your strengths, and outsource the other tasks.

For example, you may decide to do your own business development and execution, but outsource payroll, accounting, and back office work. Focusing on your strengths will make you more formidable, and knowing when to rely on outside help will lead to fewer pitfalls.

3. Seek advice from experts.

The American economy needs veterans to create businesses that solve real problems. Luckily, there are 100 hands reaching out to help you.  Counseling, mentoring, and training programs are available through VETbiz.gov and local Small Business Administration (SBA) offices at SBA.gov.

Go to SCORE to find a mentor who can help you make good decisions right out of the gate, and apply for a course like (VN: anybody but.....) Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. To learn about programs near you, check out the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at your local community college.

Related: The Top 10 Franchise Brands for Veterans

4. Find a need and fill it.

You can’t capitalize on an opportunity if you don’t realize it exists. Isolating and developing a business opportunity is the key to getting started, but how do you recognize one? Listen for the words “somebody should” in a conversation, such as “somebody should place pushcarts near the baggage claim at airports.” Somebody did, and they made money. Think of information gathering like a recon mission.

Take the time to talk to people at all levels of an organization to find unmet needs. What is missing that these folks currently want or need? Be open to suggestions, whether it’s an idea for improved productivity or a new product feature. This is the best way to uncover opportunities and find the need that you can fill.

5. Make the most of financing for veterans.

As a military veteran, you can access special financing options to kickstart your business. Government-backed loans for small business provide additional security to lenders, so loan applications are more likely to be approved.
Microloans are another smart way to find funding. The SBA’s Microloan Program helps to fund startups with up to $35,000. The SBA Express Loan Program answers applications within 36 hours. The SBA also has programs with lower (or waived) borrower fees. Ask about SBA 7(a) loans (90% of all SBA financing), Cap Line, Veterans Advantage and Lift Funds.
If your credit is less than perfect, veteran status can open doors for finding loans with specialty lenders, credit unions, and community banks.
Vets have serious potential to leverage their experience and start viable ventures. From network development opportunities to special loan access, there are open doors that make entry into the world of entrepreneurship easier for those who have served.

If you are a veteran with the drive to create something new using your unique skill set, what is holding you back?

Related: Thank You for Your Service - 4 Business Funding Programs for Veterans

SOURCE:  http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246557

The article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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