Statistics show that the success rate of veteran-owned businesses is higher than other startups, a testament to the leadership and discipline most veterans have developed during their time in service. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. military veterans owned 3.4 million businesses in 2017, which accounted for nine percent of all businesses across the country, a valuable contribution to our economy and job market. If you’re returning to civilian life after your military duties and wondering what your next career step might be, entering the business world as an entrepreneur could be the right move for you. Here are a few steps you can take to help ensure you have a better than average chance of success. Networking is an essential ingredient for business growth. You can learn a lot by interacting with other folks who are already in your shoes. Check out local events or conferences designed for the community of veteran business owners and entrepreneurs. You can also visit online boards and websites to learn a few insider tricks from other veteran small business owners, pick industry experts minds, and share your experiences. Explore your potential business opportunities based on your military experience. Were you responsible for maintaining aircraft guidance systems in the Air Force? Did you specialize in mechanics for the Army? Were you a diver for the Navy? Features of each military job can translate into career potential back at home. Your knowledge, interests and experiences create a base for establishing a unique small business. Did you dream up an idea for a product while you spent days long days in the field? Now is your chance to make that idea become a reality.
And finally, don’t forget about your former employer, the federal government. Once you’ve established your business, consider the opportunities available to sell your product or service to the federal government. It’s the world’s largest buyer of goods and services, and many of those purchases come from small businesses. And as a veteran-owned business, you are eligible for certain incentives that require the government to buy from businesses like yours.