Veteran’s Day: Veterans make great entrepreneurs

In the near term more than 250,000 service members a year will transition into civilian life and become veterans, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This means the economy will likely experience a significant increase in veteran-owned businesses.

veterans

Sgt. Michallie Wesley, an operations noncommissioned officer in B Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division-Center, answers a question as a panelist taking part in an interactive discussion on the theme of “Women Serving in Combat” at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Wednesday, March 16, 2011 (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jennifer Sardam) (released)

Veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans, according to the agency, and about 2.4 million or 9 percent of all U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned, representing about $1 trillion in annual sales.

Many consider veterans to be the perfect entrepreneur. The Fire and Adjust website noted 10 reasons why veterans make good entrepreneurs: confidence, self-motivation, discipline, listening skills, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus.

“Veterans possess some of the most important skills needed to become successful entrepreneurs,” said Michele Markey, vice president of Kauffman FastTrac. “Leadership experience and the ability to calculate risk, manage teams and take initiative are invaluable characteristics of successful business owners.”

The following are some tips to help veteran entrepreneurs succeed in business:

  1. Leverage military training.

Through their years in service, veterans learned valuable skills relevant to running a business, including confidence, self motivation, discipline, listening, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus.

Veterans should make the most of their acquired skills and treat them as a competitive advantage. While these skills no longer mean making decisions that amount to the difference between life and death, they can be enlisted to keep a business alive and thriving.

  1. Set up a veteran-owned business

These days diversity programs extend beyond aiding minority- and women-owned programs. Programs within large corporations and government agencies assist veteran-owned and disabled-veteran-owned businesses. Veterans should seek out local, state and federal certifications that give priority to veteran-owned businesses.

  1. Check resources

Other organizations assist veteran-owned businesses. Check local SCOREchapters and the Boots to Business website to find resources that aid veteran-owned businesses.

  1. Seek out training

Running a business is not easy. Programs such as the one offered by Kauffman FastTrac or Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses can be beneficial. Veterans can also inquire about other training opportunities by contacting local community colleges, SCORE and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

  1. Network

Being an entrepreneur is a lonely job. Apart from accruing business-development advantages from actively networking, veterans can receive valuable mentoring from other former servicepeople. Such relationships can be beneficial for dealing with business matters and challenges arising from having been in active service.

The SBA helps entrepreneurs through its Small Business Development Center (or SBDC) program, providing management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. These centers offer one-stop assistance, including information and guidance, to individuals and small businesses in central and easily accessible branch locations.

*All graphs were extracted from the “2013 Minority Veterans Report” prepared by the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics and published on August 2015by the NCVAS National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics.

Midshipman First Class Maia Molina-Schaefer, far right, is the first woman in Naval Academy history to compete in and win the annual brigade boxing championship. Also pictured from the left, are Cadet First Class Jessica C. Tomazic, U.S. Military Academy; Cadet First Class Cindy Nieves, U.S. Air Force Academy; and Cadet First Class Lily Zepeda, U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Photo by Rudi Williams

Midshipman First Class Maia Molina-Schaefer, far right, is the first woman in Naval Academy history to compete in and win the annual brigade boxing championship. Also pictured from the left, are Cadet First Class Jessica C. Tomazic, U.S. Military Academy; Cadet First Class Cindy Nieves, U.S. Air Force Academy; and Cadet First Class Lily Zepeda, U.S. Coast Guard Academy. (Photo by Rudi Williams)

Interesting facts about Women Veterans

  • As the share of women in the military increases, so does the share of veterans who are women. The 2010 Current Population Survey estimates that there are just over 22 million veterans, almost 1.8 million of whom are women (8%); and among the estimated 2.2 million post-9/11 veterans, more than 400,000 (19%) are women.
  • Today’s women veterans have served in every era dating back to World War II, when women in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and other voluntary divisions served in positions other than nurses for the first time.
  • Nationally, the number of women vets using Veterans Health Administration (VA) services has nearly doubled (PDF) in the past decade, and VA hospitals and clinics have scrambled to meet the needs of their new patients.
  • The share of Hispanics among women and men in the armed forces is similar (13% vs. 12%, respectively), and the share of military women who are Hispanic is smaller than that of Hispanic women ages 18-44 in the U.S. civilian population (16%). But the number of Hispanics enlisting in the active-duty force each year has risen significantly over the last decade. In 2003, Hispanic women and men made up 11.5% of the new enlistees to the military; just seven years later, in 2010, they made up 16.9% of non-prior service enlisted accessions. (From Women in the U.S. Military: Growing Share, Distinctive Profile).

About Jesse Torres

Jesse Torres has spent nearly 20 years in leadership and executive management posts, including executive management roles at financial institutions. In 2013 the Independent Community Bankers of America named him a top community banker influencer on social media. He is a frequent speaker at financial services and leadership conferences and has written several books. He hosts an NBC News Radio show called Money Talk with Jesse Torres.
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