4 Business Opportunities for Veterans

March 14, 2017Diana Lengerson


Returning veterans often have the exact skill set required to run a small business. That goes doubly for franchising since franchisees need to be great motivators, strong leaders, good with the day-to-day details, and optimistic that they can tackle any challenge that comes their way.
Another aspect of being a great small business owner or franchisee is being calm, cool, and collected when under some pressure. You have to know when to delegate and when to ask for help from your peer support group, mentor, business advisor, or franchisor. Critically, running a small business or franchise location rewards dedication to a proven business model and knowing when to take the reins.

4 Top Business Opportunities for Veterans 

A recent U.S. Census shows that veterans comprise more than their fair share of the country’s 5.4 million business owners with employees. Over 7 percent of these types of complex businesses are run by veterans.Having said that, veterans make great entrepreneurs as well because of their ability to seize an opportunity when it presents itself.

Franchise Options  

Over 5,600 veterans became franchisees between 2012 and 2015 alone, and those numbers are only going up. Whether you decide to launch your own business from scratch and go the entrepreneurial route or partner with an already launched small business, one of the barriers you’ll inevitably face is financing.

The capital barriers for franchising, on the other hand, are much less steep for most veterans since banks understand the franchise model and respect big brands, so they’re therefore more willing to extend you a loan should you need one.  Franchising generally also has a much greater chance of coming off without a hitch compared to sole proprietorship since with the franchise model you’re capitalizing on an already thriving brand and proven business model. With franchising, you also get other benefits like a shorter time to opening day, streamlined marketing and training, and site selection help.

So, let’s say that you sign a franchise agreement with a sign business franchise. You’ll also be signing on with a proven model and get help with advertising, marketing, and customer lead generation.

A franchise also means more bargaining power and economies of scale, which can save you a lot of money when it comes to equipment rentals and space leasing.

Veteran Entrepreneurs 

The Center of Excellence for Veteran Entrepreneurship markets itself as a one-stop shop for veteran entrepreneurs. The Center helps veterans in a number of ways, including by aiding veterans in finding regional, community, private sector, state and federal programs that can provide veterans with more resources to pursue their small business dreams.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also has the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal. This service works with BusinessUSA and compiles the best small business opportunities, financing and loan options, and growth opportunities available to veteran entrepreneurs today.

You could end up saving even more as a veteran entrepreneur by getting credentialed with the Vets First Verification Program. If you’re a veteran entrepreneur and into tech or coding, then you might want to check out TechStars and InclineHQ, respectively. For general mentorship and business advisement for veteran entrepreneurs, American Corporate Partners is a useful resource.

Sign Business Opportunities 

A recent U.S. Census found that, of the 400,000-plus veteran business owners nationally, opening a retail business was the fourth-most popular option. The reason might be that retail draws on skills that veterans likely already have. Skills like the ability to delegate and personably manage, a detail-orientation and dedication to hard work, and a focus on results and systems all bolster a veterans chances of success.  As it happens, those are also the skills that make a great franchisee. Here’s a quick rundown of how you should go about due diligence as a franchisee, but in general you want to look for a powerful brand franchising in a recession-proof industry. Sign business opportunities seem to really  fit the bill.

Government Contractor 

Becoming a government contractor is an obvious choice for a veteran. If you’re a veteran reading this you likely already have the technical expertise and understanding of the military to specialize in a government contracting field. Government contracting is a way to bolster the resources of the government even if you’re on reserve or retired.

Returning veterans become government contractors in a wide variety of private industries, but the demand is especially high right now in fields like information technology and network security. Logistics and transportation are two other popular niches of government contracting for veterans.

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