A veteran’s guide to starting a small business


Many of the abilities you acquire in the military can be useful in starting a veteran owned business. The diverse set of hard and soft talents you developed while serving can be successfully transferred to the private sector. Many veterans have become business owners through this.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 2.5 million enterprises are owned and operated by veterans. Veteran owned businesses account for nearly one-tenth of all businesses in the United States. They encompass various industries, from professional and technical services to consulting, construction, and consumer goods.

This article will walk you through the stages of launching a profitable new business. We’ll go through each step and explain what you need. We’ll introduce you to various useful tools that can assist you to start a veteran owned business.

3 Steps to Starting Your Veteran-Owned Business

Deciding to start veteran owned business is a big, exciting, and potentially terrifying step. If you’ve never done something like this, there are a few hurdles to overcome. Knowing that you want to establish a new business is only the first step.

Let’s go through this article on the steps to establishing a new business, followed by looking at the various small business resources for veterans to assist you in getting started.

Step 1: Come Up With a Brilliant Business Concept

You may enter into a business knowing exactly what kind of business you want to create. You’ve had that brilliant business idea for a while now, and you can’t seem to get enough of it.

On the other hand, many people, although born with an entrepreneurial spirit, don’t always have the right business idea. If you find yourself in this circumstance, here are four questions to ask yourself if you’re looking for a business idea that works for you:

  • What abilities do I possess? 

Military veterans have unique set of abilities that might be put to good use and turned into a great business idea. Alternatively, you may have had abilities even before entering the military that you can use to inspire your business idea. It will be easier for you to play to your abilities rather than reinvent the wheel.

  • What Am I Passionate About?

Many small businesses were founded on concepts that made sense, even if unrelated to the business owner’s passions, goals, or interests. So, as you create your business idea, that whole “love what you do” notion doesn’t have to hold.

While brainstorming your business idea, it’s important to keep your interests in mind. You may discover that you have a fantastic business concept in a field that you previously thought was merely a hobby.

  • What Resources Do I Have At My Disposal?

You may already have the contacts, tools, resources, or equipment you need to start a veteran owned business without you realizing it. Starting a repair business might be a wonderful option if you have a great tool shed and have always been handy.

If you’ve inherited a storefront or retail space, you’ve already gotten your foot in the door when opening a physical location. Starting a new business will almost always demand a large initial investment. Therefore, starting something where you already have a few of the items is a good idea.

  • What Kind of Need Could I Meet?

Is there a vast, gaping need in your local (or wider) community that a substantial business could supply? Then you might be the one to complete that puzzle piece.

Many of the business world most successful small and large enterprises began as a solution to a problem. So please put on your thinking cap, put yourself in your potential consumers’ shoes, and try to address the challenges they experience daily.

Step 2: Writing Your Business Plan

Now that you’ve decided on a company idea to explore, it’s time to put it down on paper. Effective business plan is an essential part of starting a company. Your business plan will outline where your company is currently and how you intend to move from point A to point B over the next two to five years.

Your business plan will help you persuade investors, lenders, and potential partners to engage with and invest in your company by demonstrating why they should.

Overall, your business plan is an important piece of paper to craft carefully. As a result, here’s what you’ll need to include in your business plan.

  • Executive summary

Your executive summary is a high-level overview of your company, providing readers a taste of what they’ll find if they read the rest of your plan. This part should be only one or two pages long; conciseness and clarity are essential.

Although your executive summary is brief, it is likely one of the most crucial sections of your document. If an investor or lender doesn’t get what they need from the executive summary, they might dismiss your business plan entirely.

Your executive summary should provide a general overview of your company’s operations and goals for the next three to five years.

  • Company Overview

A company overview is a look at your firm’s intellectual property structure and how it works. Explaining the business and your value proposition is an excellent method to arrange your company’s overview.

  • Market Analysis

A market analysis is a next step to consider in your business plan. You might spend days or weeks researching and presenting the ideal target market analysis for your industry, niche, and competitors. Summarize your industry, including its size, trends, growth rate, prognosis, and specific market information.

  • Business organization

The next step in drafting your business plan is to create business organization and management structure for your company. It explains who’s who in your company, each person’s history, and how their previous experiences contribute to the team.

In this part, you can also pitch your hiring needs. What kind of talent will you need to hire soon to round out your team? Outline the major managers you’re seeking to help you build your new business.

  • Product Development Plan

It’s time to walk over the actual product you sell or service you provide after you’ve gone over the nitty-gritty of how your small business operates and who’s involved.

This part is where you may learn more about your product and who it’s for. It refers to all the product details, such as its description, sourcing, product development research, and objectives.

  • Financial Plan and Projections

One of the most crucial components of your business plan is to discuss your company’s present financial situation and your future ambitions. This portion of your business plan details the current health of your company’s finances and any potential small business financing you may require.

You may not have much to present here because your veteran-owned firm is just starting, but you can include your financial projections.

Step 3: Registering your business

After you’ve created a business plan, the next step is to make it official by registering your company and getting the legal documentation you’ll need to function.

Here are the actions you’ll need to follow to register your new business with the local and state governments.

  • Register the Name of Your Company

You should register your business name once you’ve created a unique name that defines your new business. Your company name is distinct from your name and the names of your partners. You can register your company as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC) with your state or federal government.

  • Choosing a Legal Framework

The next official job is to decide on a legal structure for your small business. The United States’ federal laws are hard to navigate and comprehend. The title 10 U.S.C. with other laws will assist you in gaining legal information about the regulations for establishing, maintaining, and administering your veteran own businesses.

Your structure will affect how you pay state and federal taxes, team member roles and ownership, and how you’ll be held liable if someone brings a legal claim against your company.

The legal structure you choose is determined by the type of business organization name you registered; sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or Limited Liability Company.

  • Register for State and Local Taxes

You’ll need a tax identification number before you register for state and local taxes.

Your tax identification number, also known as an employer identification number (EIN), aids the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in keeping track of your firm for tax purposes. Although not all firms will require one, check with the IRS to see if you need one.

The IRS will use your EIN to track your firm for federal tax issues, but most states and territories will require you to pay income and employment taxes. What you’ll need to register for state and local taxes varies significantly from state to state.

  • Obtain all Necessary Documentation, Permissions, and Licenses.

The final, minute-by-minute step in making your business official is to get the small business licenses and permits you’ll need to function.

Almost every new business needs a license or permit to function lawfully. So, before you open your doors for business, make sure you’ve done your homework to discover what you’ll need.

Resources for Veterans Who Want to Start a Business.

There are services available to help veterans create and run their own business.

These are the resources that every veteran business owner should have to get their business off to a good start or to be the best business owner they can be.

  1. Office of Veterans Business Development

The Office of Veterans Business Development provides programs and services to help new and existing veteran-owned businesses succeed. You can use this resource for training, mentorship, financial access, and networking.

  1. Boots to Business

Boots to business is a two-part entrepreneurial training program for veterans who want to start their own business. This program is part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance training track.

  1. Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

The IMVF is a Syracuse University program that aims to educate and train veteran business owners. The IMVF can assist you in gaining access to finance, managing your business funding, or bootstrapping your company.