Starting and managing a small business can seem to be a pretty big challenge but many have taken that challenge and are glad that they did. Being your own boss can be a very satisfying experience as is building a business. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone but it just might be right for you.
Did you know that there are approximately 3 million veteran business owners in the US, that veterans are more than twice as likely to start a business as non-veterans and that they are significantly more successful after 5 years?
Want to start or restart your business? Want to grow your business? For those interested in starting or growing a business there is a great deal of help available.
One of the first stops in your research should be the US Small Business Administration or SBA. They have the new Boots to Basics entrepreneurial training program, a variety of loan guarantee programs, procurement assistance, plus a number of programs focusing on women veteran entrepreneurs. Just go to www.sba.gov/veterans for more information.
Under the umbrella of the US SBA there are also a number of great organizations: SCORE, the Small Business Development Centers, and the Veteran Business Outreach Centers. They also partner with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University that developed the Entrepreneurial Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities, V-Wise or Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship and others. More can be found at http://vets.syr.edu/.
The Small Business Development Centers are located in every state and provide workshops and guidance for start ups and existing businesses and has a program specially designed for veterans. To find out where your closest center is located contact the Association of Small Business Development Centers at www.asbdc-us.org .
SCORE (America’s Counselors to Small Business) has been tapped by White House Joining Forces program to assist veterans start business through their new Veterans Fast Launch program. You can check it out at www.vetsfastlaunch.org . SCORE is a great organization with close to 400 offices and over 11,000 counselors that want to help you succeed in business and the majority of their programs and services a free or a cost a minimal fee. To find the closest office and information about their on line counseling programs go to www.score.org and click on veterans.
There are currently 16 Veteran Business Outreach Centers around the country that are there specifically to help veterans start and grow their business. To find out more about them and locations go to http://www.sba.gov/content/veterans-business-outreach-centers.
Be sure to check out franchising because it might just be right for you. VetFran is part of the International Franchise Association with over 500 of their member companies offering special incentives to encourage veterans to own a franchise. More information can be found at www.vetfran.org.
All of these organizations have excellent content on their sites to assist you in most aspects of entrepreneurship, from business planning to cash flow to how to sell your business. A veteran owned membership organization worthy of note is the Veterans Business Network (www.veteransbusinessnetwork) because it’s main goal is to grow veteran businesses…it’s free, unique, has tons of content and great partners like Military.com!
Steve White is the Founder and CEO of the Veterans Business Network (www.veteransbusinessnetwork.com), served with the 1st Cavalry Div in Vietnam and is a long time supporter of veteran entrepreneurship.
After serving with the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam as a Platoon Leader and Acting Company Commander, White became a small business lender with a CT bank, moved to NH to work with the SBA and then started a publishing company. Ten years later he started his marketing firm White & Company which provides marketing programs and materials to firms targeting small business.
At the same time his desire to help veterans guided him to start the Veterans Business Network, design and direct the entrepreneurship program for the NY Veterans Leadership Program, serve on the Veterans Task Force for Entrepreneurship, help draft and testify before Congress and assist in securing the appropriation for Public Law 106-50 (The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act) and to serve on the SBA’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs.