TAO Self-help

Title:Where to turn for support when starting a Veteran Owned Business

Author:National Veteran Small Business Coalition

Date:May 2013


You have decided to leave the military and you are trying to make a decision on your next move. Will you finish your education? Will you look for a job where the skills you learned in the military can be used? Have you thought about starting your own business? You are thinking to yourself, "Wait a minute? Starting my own business in this economy?" Yes, we all heard about the doom and gloom in the current economic environment but that should not stop you from starting your own business. As a veteran, you have years of training in taking on tough challenges and exceeding expectations in service to your country. This is no different.


You can be successful in this current economic environment because you have the courage and commitment to do so. There are some great resources to help you get started. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a wealth of in-depth information from creating a business plan to running a business. The SBA also provides an online learning center where you can take educational webinars, view training videos, and participate in small business chat rooms (www.sba.gov/sba-learning-center). For Veterans, the SBA established the Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative where potential Veteran business owners may receive up to $500,000 to start a business (www.sba.gov/content/express-programs). The SBA's resource partner, SCORE (www.score.org), offers free and confidential business advice for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Another great resource are (is?) the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs). PTACs were created by Congress to help businesses to successfully compete in Federal, state and local government contracting. PTAC counselors background in the government contracting can be very valuable for newly established Veteran businesses working with the Federal government. All of these organizations are active on social media; you should follow/like their pages to stay up to date with news, changing policies or general information concerning small businesses.

Professional Networks

Another resource is LinkedIn, the social media website for professionals. This is a great place to network with other Veteran entrepreneurs. There are a number of LinkedIn groups specifically for Veteran businesses where you can read about experiences from other entrepreneurs and ask for advice about your own business. The Veteran small business community is a very strong, don't be afraid to ask questions and seek honest advice within these LinkedIn group. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, get one to take advantage of this free resource. A few helpful suggestions for postings: use spell check and people tends to respond to your more often when adding photo with your profile.

Events and Seminars

Speaking of networking, it is essential for Veteran business owners to meet with potential clients, business partners, and other Veteran entrepreneurs. Attending business conferences is the best way to put "a face" with the company (Hint, Hint: LinkedIn profile photo). Don't attend events just to mark them of your list. That is a waste of time, money, and resources. Look for the right business conference that fit your company's needs. Take the time to look through the agenda, the descriptions of educational sessions, the list guest speakers and list of exhibitors. One of the preimier Veteran business development conferences is The Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS) The Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS) in Reno NV. This conference is designed by Veteran entrepreneurs to assist new and mid level Veteran businesses on how to do business with the Federal government.

Veteran Business Organizations

Joining a Veteran business organization or group has tremendous benefits for your company. Most of these are non-profit organizations that represent your concerns about Veteran business initiatives and contracting opportunities within the Federal government. It is very important to do your homework: Review the goals and objectives, look at the leadership of the organization and see how active and successful they are in supporting veteran companies and the Veteran business initiates.


The resources available to you as starting entrepreneur can seem endless, but also very confusing. Start with the basics and tap the well-established. Build your network. A strong foothold in the Veteran business community can provide you much advise and mentorship that official channels might not provide.

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