What should I know if I’m a veteran and own a small business?
With over five-million employees, veteran owned businesses have a huge impact on the U.S. economy. If you are a veteran and have already started a business, then the hardest part is already in motion. If you are contemplating owning your own business, the good news is there are resources available to help veterans (and their spouses) get started.
Additionally, the government offers assistance. They post an extensive list of federal regulations, qualifications, and other information that, honestly shouldn’t take months to read, but may. Source out what you need at the following link and like eating an elephant, do it one bite at a time. Before you realize, you will be full of knowledge. You can check out that list of regulations HERE: Code of Federal Regulations
How does the SBA help veteran owned small businesses?
The small business veteran’s enhancement act of 2018 directs: “U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to give certain veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) access to federally owned surplus personal property, pursuant to a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the SBA, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), National Association for State Agencies for Surplus Property (NASASP), State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASP), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Each organization plays a role in supporting VOSBs who seek donated property for use in their small businesses.”
With nearly the entire alphabet used for acronyms, remember the letters aren’t meant to intimidate but are used to shorten lengthy names of agency and departments. This should help cut down months of reading the documents they provide. If you are connected to the SBA, and Paris SBDC, they can further explain the documents and save you time.
Per the Office of Veterans Business Development: “The Office of Veterans Business Development’s (OVBD) mission is to maximize the availability, applicability, and usability of small business programs for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Component Members, and their dependents or survivors. OVBD is SBA’s liaison with the veteran’s business community; provides policy analysis and reporting; and is an Ombudsman for veteran entrepreneurs. OVBD has a number of programs and services to assist aspiring and existing veteran entrepreneurs such as training, counseling and mentorship, and oversight of Federal procurement programs for Veteran-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.”
Read more about the OVBD at: Office of Veterans Business Development
What are the advantages of a veteran-owned small business?
There are many advantages veteran small business owners have. Only a few are listed below:
- Government Contracts: In coordination with the SBA, veterans are assured that a fair proportion of the total purchases and contracts for property, services, and construction for the Government in each industry category are placed with small business concerns; or assured that a fair proportion of the total sales of Government property is made to small business concerns.
- Skills: The knowledge and abilities you acquired through your military service is looked at as an advantage by banks. When this is compared to how a non-veteran owned business, you appear more appealing on paper. Lending agencies know that it may take years for other new business owners to learn many of the skills you already have.
- SBA Loans: Through the Veterans Advantage loan program, businesses have access to upward of five million dollars with ten-year terms available through the SBA 7 (a) Veterans’ loan.
- Grow with Google: Identify your business with Google as veteran-owned and you will gain access to marketing tips, lessons, and can be connect with global markets.
- Tax Incentives: Businesses that hire veterans are allowed a tax incentive. See your tax advisor to take advantage of these.
- Acquire Surplus Equipment: The government offers opportunities to veterans to acquire surplus equipment. However, before dreaming of that camouflage hummer you need to start deliveries of those special pecan sandstorm cookies your business makes, check the regulations.
What is a good small business idea for a veteran?
The founder of Pepperidge Farm, Margaret Rudkin, needed to feed a sickly child with allergies to many processed foods. With skills as a baker, she sold bread on the street and made nutritious meals for her child. Her small kitchen baking efforts grew into a business as she added more products. Eventually she sold the company for millions. This kind of problem solving has built many successful companies.
Like any prospective business owner, you should develop guidelines with a solid business plan. Contemplate your interests and what your skill sets are. Find things you do that others cannot or look for opportunities, like repurposing government property into a useful civilian product if regulations allow.
Often the best business ideas are created by discovering what people in your community need or are missing.
What is the Texas Veterans Commission?
The Texas Veterans Commission is an advocacy organization for Texas veterans, their families, and survivors. Per their website they post the following philosophy: The Texas Veterans Commission will aggressively advocate for Texas veterans, their families, and survivors.
Here is a short list of what the TVC provides:
- Quality Service:
- Claims Representation and Counseling
- Veterans Employment Services
- Education for Veterans
- Veteran Entrepreneur Programs
- Health Care Advocacy
- Veterans Mental Health Program
- Woman-Veteran Programs
- Fund for Veterans’ Assistance
- Training the veteran workforce
- Networking ability – to connect veterans throughout the state
- Coordination of efforts between federal, state and local government as well as private organizations that provide veteran services
- Veteran Advocacy to maintain a higher quality of life
Discover more about TVC HERE: Texas Veterans Commission
Paris SBDC has resources for Veteran’s:
Check out our Veteran’s Resource Page for information on New Veteran-Owned Business
If you are a veteran and you own a small business, or if you are thinking of starting a small business, we can help! Please contact us at the Small Business Development Center – SBDC – Serving Paris area: Lamar, Hunt, Hopkins, Delta, and Red River counties.