TAO Self-help

Title:Support Resources for Veterans Starting a Veteran Owned Small Business

Author:Scott Denniston, National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC)

Date:November 2013


Veterans make great entrepreneurs. The military teaches us to be disciplined, dedicated and mission driven. All traits necessary to be a successful small business owner! U S Small Business Administration statistics say veterans start small businesses at twice the rate of non-veterans. However, just like the military, success takes dedication and hard work! No one gets rich quickly owning a small business. It takes long hours over days, weeks, months to be successful. Many veterans, while technically and professionally very good at their skill/craft, many times lack basic skills of financial, personnel, and sales management. The good news is many resources are available to help veterans navigate the small business world.

The Small Business Administration is a great place to start with a "Pre-Business" workshop offered at most SBA offices by the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). These workshops really make you think about the necessary commitment to a successful small business and whether you are ready. SBA also offers financial and management counseling programs for veterans thru the network of Small Business Development Centers and Veteran Business Outreach Centers. All of these services are FREE to veterans. SBA also has several loan programs including the "Patriot Express" program which is exclusive for veterans. To locate your local SBA office, go to www.sba.gov.

Successful veteran business owners learn the value of "networking" and joining professional associations. There are professional organizations for any type of business you are considering. Not only join, but become active in the events sponsored by these organizations. Business is about establishing trust! Another great networking opportunity is LinkedIn, a social media website for business owners and professionals. These are several LinkedIn group exclusively for veterans. Get Involved!

Another way to "network" is attend business conferences in your local area sponsored by Chamber of Commerce or other reputable business organizations. In the government contracting arena many organizations sponsor conferences. Look at the agenda and speakers to decide if there is "value" in your attendance. These events also allow you the opportunity to keep current on rules and regulations as well as network with buyers and other small business owners. Any veteran small business owner interested in the federal government marketplace should attend the Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium held annually in Reno, NV., sponsored by the National Veteran Small Business Coalition (www.nvsbc.org).

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