By Debbie Gregory.

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Veterans face unique challenges when they return home from active duty.  They are often way behind on the political and cultural events happening back home.  Additionally, many return from incredibly stressful and violent situations overseas which can cause debilitating injuries and emotional wounds that may not ever fully heal. They also need to find a job or start a business to support themselves and their families.


Tips For Servicemembers Starting a Business:


1.) Have Confidence in Yourself and Plan Ahead

As an entrepreneur, you need to have confidence in your own ability and skills. As a veteran, stepping into an entrepreneur role is simply an extension of everything you have learned from your time in the service. You have already learned when to pivot from one thing to the next, how to handle unknowns, how to deal with pressure, and sacrifice, how to focus and complete the mission and teamwork. Though in the business world there is generally a lot less on the line, you can still benefit from your experiences dealing with unpredictable unknowns. You simply need to use some creativity to transition your thinking from military to business.


2.) Embrace and Use Your Military Training

For many the transition to civilian life after the military can be rather unsettling and unnerving. Embrace your military past.  You have been instilled with phenomenal skills of adaptation, the ability to thrive under pressure, and how to use that pressure to perform better and use it as a strength. Those exact skills are a big reason why many veterans become such good entrepreneurs. You have had much worse tossed at you in the military than you will face in the business world.  Remind yourself of that and that you were able to persevere.


3.) Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. Following your passion is a nice thought but often does not translate into a lucrative business. Find out exactly what you are good at and where you excel and then identify something in the market that can be improved on or a new product that would benefit your market.


4.) Work with Other Companies That Share Your Vision

Success is easier when you work with others who share your vision. Once you have your own mission statement finished laying out your personal and business goals, core values, and passions, take the time to visit other entrepreneurial companies that fit your vision and values and offer to work with them. The companies you visit do not need to do exactly what you to do or even be in the same market as your company; they just need to share your values. This type of collaboration helps both of your companies by leveraging the experiences and strengths that you both bring to the table.


5.) Understand and Plan for the Costs Associated with Starting a Business

One of the most important things to think about when starting a new business is how much it will cost to get the business up and running. Write out your plan and your expected expenses and then multiply your expected startup costs by two or three (depending on the type of business you are starting). Good financial planning is key to long term business success. Give yourself the best possible start by saving or otherwise acquiring sufficient financial resources before you begin your new business.



Starting a new business is challenging for everyone and can be even more challenging for a veteran. However, with good planning, confidence, collaboration, and support you will succeed.