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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Veteran Business Owners have a right and a responsibility to market their talents and skills. Successful paths are myriad, as are roadblocks. Many of these roadblocks are psychological. Here is a list of some of the most common misconceptions veterans often have that impede their paths to running a successful business.

1) “I don’t have the resources.”

A Veteran Business Owner need not invest unwieldy amounts of cash or resources to carve out a place in the economy. “Start small” is often the best strategy. Your best resource is yourself. 

A new business can start with meager resources, assuming a good concept. Good planning conceivably may keep the dream alive. 

Consider Sophia Amoruso, founder of the fashion company Girlboss Media. She literally started her fashion company browsing secondhand stores, selling her finds on her Myspace site. Also consider Khan Academy. Sal Khan’s company evolved from tutoring sessions he provided a family member. Other family members showed interest in his lesson plans for themselves, and thus his company turned into a marketable idea.

Marketable ideas often stare potential entrepreneurs in the face for years before they spark inspiration. Often, these ideas require little to no investment at the outset. Consider your talents, hobbies, surrounding circumstances, and social connections. Good ideas are often free and can sow fertile seeds that lead to rich fruits over time.

2) “I can’t do it,” aka “Imposter Syndrome.”

When lightning strikes, and you have a great business idea, one natural reaction might be some variant of “I can’t do it.” 

If an entrepreneur needs affirmation, online communities can frequently offer support, a sounding board, or at least ideas for development. In the end, remember that nothing can take away your relevance to the world around you.

However, “imposter syndrome” is nothing new. Consider Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and his comment “[v]ery few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe they are now qualified to be CEO.”  Also, Consider Sonia Sotomayor, and her quote “I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and at various professional jobs, not feeling a part of the worlds I inhabit.” The best and brightest of us often suffer from self-doubt. Often these doubts are simply an indication that we have the wisdom to know what we don’t know. 

3) I’ll Fail

Failure is inevitable in business and in life. The first failure can lead to greater success in later attempts. Everyone who lives fails. Frederick W. Smith’s first service, Zapmail, cratered before Fedex could focus on his core concept. Similarly, Amazon took years to turn a profit

Of course, no one wants to fail big. Not everyone has $350 million to burn, as did FedEx. However, the early failures serve as necessary steppingstones to creating a well-oiled machine. Failures of all kinds, whether administrative errors, operations inefficiencies, and hiring mistakes, are necessary to design an enterprise that fits well into the economy. Depending on resources such as financing and social support, slow and steady may win the race. 

4) “The Timing isn’t Right”

Consider a spore in your garden that may sprout hundreds of plants. The most inopportune times may give rise to the perfect storm to get your idea going

Even mulling the idea in your own head can become your own stress relief exercise. The smallest measures can build inertia. Building a web presence, for example, you can start with little effort and adapt to a changing schedule. Your relationship with your idea can morph gradually as it takes on a greater part of your life. Short of huge commitments, there is no wrong time to get started on a business idea.


VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:

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