What to Know When Starting a Business as a Veteran

Surveys show that veterans own 10% of the small businesses currently operating in the United States. If you want to join their ranks, there are a few things to keep in mind.


The first step for any would-be entrepreneur is to decide what type of business to start. Some ventures are better suited for beginners than others. If you are low on funds, go for an idea with low startup costs. Online-based services in particular are good to start on a shoestring budget. Options include web designer, virtual assistant, and transcriptionist.

Examine your skills and interests when brainstorming ideas. As a veteran, you may have experience in one or more technical areas that could be profitable. For example, if you were a military photographer, consider parlaying that experience into a photography company.

Once you know the service or product you want to focus on, conduct market research. Find out if there is an audience for what you have to offer in your location, or if you need a wider service area. If there’s not enough local demand, consider moving your business online. Find out how much people are willing to pay for the items or services and the kinds of advertising and marketing channels that are most effective with your intended customers.

Use your market research to write a business plan. Explain your product, and estimate income and expenses. Detail the advertising strategy. List all team members and their duties. Save this document and update it as your company grows so that you know what the organization needs for continued success.


A strong business plan helps you secure funding for your venture. There are many options for veterans, including organizations that provide grants to those who have served in the military. Keep in mind that veteran-specific funding may not be the best source in all instances. Research all options and choose the one that best fits your needs.


Small businesses are subject to quite a few legal requirements. Secure all necessary licenses and permits. If you want to operate out of your home, visit your municipal office to fill out the required paperwork. If necessary, apply for a tax identification number from the IRS and state. Open a separate bank account to simplify recordkeeping. Familiarize yourself with small business tax laws. Check with your state tax authority to see if there are any specific tax breaks for veteran-owned organizations.

One of the biggest issues facing entrepreneurs is burnout. Although it is possible to recover from exhaustion, preventing it in the first place is better for you and your business. Manage time wisely so that you are able to rest and do enjoyable non-work activities. Streamline your day by using software to stay organized and automate tasks. If there are certain aspects of running the business that you don’t have the skills to do or simply don’t like doing, hire a freelancer to handle it for you.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. However, as a veteran, you likely have the discipline necessary to succeed. Although it is impossible to plan for every situation, the more planning you do in the early stages, the better prepared you will be. Do what you can to prevent burnout so that you have the energy to not only succeed but to enjoy yourself as you do.



Ed Carter



Military Missions in Action is dedicated to assisting Veterans with disabilities, members of the Armed Forces, and their families.

Whether you need assistance or want to volunteer or donate, MMIA welcomes you.

For more information visit our website or call 919-552-1603.