Common traits often used to describe entrepreneurs would be discipline, determination, patience, and doing what is right for the customer. Not surprisingly, these traits are also instilled and honed in our military veterans. However, there are also other reasons for veterans to explore entrepreneurship. Listed below are two areas in which veterans may have a competitive advantage over other entrepreneurs.
In the military, veterans work with and meet a multitude of other like-minded individuals. Further, military personnel share similar life experiences. From this, lifelong comradery is often developed. With this is the foundation, veterans are able to easily network with other veterans with the purpose of developing ideas, securing sales, or even hiring qualified employees.
Veteran Funding for a Small Business
Another benefit that veterans have over all other entrepreneurs is they have access to funding that is earmarked for their small businesses. Some of these sources may include Boots to Business, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and Vets First Verification Program. Further, from what I have heard, veterans also have a leg up on securing government contracts. As we all know, the federal and state governments spend billions of dollars a year on civilian contract.
Military Services as a Sales Tool
I have yet to meet a veteran who signed up for the military and risked their life so that they can tell future clients about their service in hopes of closing the sale. However, to be frank, customers often prefer to work with veterans as compared to other entrepreneurs. Because of this simple fact, veterans should utilize their experiences and share their status with potential clients. As with most other traits, this will inevitably give veterans a competitive advantage not available to other entrepreneurs.
In summary, most people realize that veterans develop highly sought after character traits while in the military. However, veterans also have potential competitive advantages through networking and fundraising. From this, if you are a veteran, make sure to exploit all opportunities available to ensure a sound foundation for your entrepreneurial aspirations.
Author: Paul Borosky, Doctoral Candidate, MBA., Author