November 11 is Veteran’s Day, a day set aside specially to honor the men and women who have served in the US Armed Forces.
Other than career members of the military, veterans will eventually complete their service and look for work outside the Armed Forces. Many veterans find that their US military training and expertise have given them a set of skills that can make them very successful in the business world, and lots of them are taking advantage of those benefits.
Not only have our veterans served our country, but many of them have set out to go above and beyond in the business world, too. As we reflect on their service this November 11, it’s also an appropriate time to be inspired by their success outside the military. Check out these awesome facts about veteran entrepreneurs!
1. Veteran entrepreneurs have unique skill sets which translate to success in business.
Military service helps veterans cultivate and hone valuable, marketable skills. Generally speaking, veterans tend to be highly-motivated, detail-oriented, collaborative, determined, able to deal with pressure, and skilled in certain technical areas. Each of these traits are highly sought after assets in today’s business and entrepreneurial climate. Veterans are also disciplined – they know how to get things done.
In particular, those skills have turned out to be useful in finance, security, and insurance. According to the SBA, 13.2% of finance and insurance businesses are owned by veterans. Many prominent CEOs attribute their success to their time in the service.
2. Veterans bring maturity and life perspective to the world of business.
Many veteran-owned companies are started when veterans retire from military service. According to the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, over 75% of veteran business owners are over age 55. These second-act careers allow veterans to apply what they’ve learned during their time in the service and over their lives.
A majority of veterans retire from the military with twenty years of service before starting their own companies. They know what it means to stick with something and see it through. They’ve risen through the ranks and know how to guide less-experienced people and give them the tools for success. Rather than getting angry, they know how to move toward a solution. And they know that obstacles can and will arise and that they can and will overcome.
3. Veterans are more likely to start and stick with their own businesses than non-veterans.
According to the SBA, veterans were more than 45% more likely to start their own businesses than those who never served in the military, as of 2014. In addition to actively starting their own companies, veterans are demonstrating business stamina and staying power. They are able to fully commit to their businesses and weather the ups and downs of small business ownership.
According to the SBA, military veterans own as many as 2.4 million US companies. In sheer numbers, this means that approximately one in ten US businesses is veteran-owned. Vets already contribute so much to the safety and security of the US and many of them are also contributing to the security of the economy.
4. Veterans understand the vital importance of teamwork.
By its very definition, a successful career in the military means learning to work as a team with your service colleagues. Thoughtful, organized teamwork is crucial for military operations. You have to trust the people around you or none of you can do your jobs.
Veterans who start their own businesses already know the value of teamwork in day-to-day military life. Successful veteran entrepreneurs strive to those apply teamwork lessons to their business life. In the military, their lives may have depended on their ability to work as a team – those skills will come naturally in a business situation.
5. The US has a vested interested in helping veteran entrepreneurs start and succeed as business owners.
Many veterans have a hard time adjusting to civilian life after their service ends. Starting a business can really help – you have a hands-on project that requires discipline and motivation and can provide you with a purpose. It can be a healthy way to find a place in civilian life – plus it gives you financial security!
The US Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is a virtual one-stop shop for veterans seeking information on all federal services available to help them conceive, start-up, fund, and make long term plans for their businesses. The VEP also promotes education, by connecting veterans to best practice tutorials and other pertinent up-to-date information. To begin your search now, visit the US Veteran Entrepreneur Portal site.
6. Veterans know how to overcome serious challenges and persevere in the face of difficult times.
Mental toughness is a mandate for those in the armed forces. The harsh reality of military service is that service members make sacrifices for our country. Active military duty means long periods of time away from friends and family, often in mentally and psychically trying conditions. It can also mean risking life, limbs, and friends. Many veterans have been injured or disabled in action. These veterans could give up, but they don’t – instead they face challenges head on and move on the next chapter.
Entrepreneurial-minded veterans haven’t let disability deter them from business ownership. Out of the more than 20 million veteran business owners in the U.S., an estimated 8.3% have a service-related disability. These disabled veteran entrepreneurs are the very definition of fortitude and perseverance.
7. Veterans are boosting the national economy by creating jobs and bringing in business revenue.
Veterans sacrificed themselves by serving in the US military during their active duty. Now, veteran entrepreneurs continue to serve the US by creating huge numbers of corporate jobs while boosting the economy with sales and business revenue.
According to the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, veteran-owned businesses employ more than 6 million people. That same report showed that “veteran-owned firms had sales/receipts of $1.220 trillion, 5.793 million employees, and annual payroll of $210 billion. Employer firms were responsible for 92.3 percent of the receipts, $1.126 trillion.”
It’s clear from these numbers that veteran entrepreneurs are contributing to the fiscal health of the US economy in a significant manner. Veteran-owned businesses are a critical part of our country’s economic health.
8. Veterans have multiple lending options available to them so they can realize their entrepreneurial dreams.
The SBA knows that proper funding is necessary for a new businesses to succeed. Without enough capital to get off the ground, the business will fail. For that reason, the SBA offers multiple financing programs for veterans to help secure funds for their own business needs.
The SBA offers services for entrepreneurial minded veterans starting new businesses in addition to continued support for established businesses. Educational programs are coupled with lending programs so that veterans have both capital and support on how to maximize that capital. Federal contracting opportunities exist for certified Veteran-Owned Small Businesses so that they have priority access to qualifying contracts and projects.
In addition to SBA funding, microlenders offer another avenue for entrepreneurial veterans to secure financing for business start-up costs. Accion and other microlenders can help qualified veterans fund new businesses. Traditionally, microlenders are easier to qualify for than traditional bank loans, so that more entrepreneurs can start up their companies.
Thank You For Your Service
We all owe a debt of gratitude to the brave and selfless people that dedicate their time to the armed forces. And not only are we grateful, but we’re inspired by them both in and out of the military. They’re taking the skills and lessons they learned in the military and turning them to new and innovative ventures, building businesses and creating jobs along the way.