One thing veterans have in common is the entrepreneurial spirit. It is developed by the discipline and skills that come with being in the military. These skills include determination, relationship building, process orientation, and a passion for service. And these invaluable skills are easily transferable to building and operating a business during the veteran transition.
Veterans have long been an entrepreneurial force in the U.S. But these days, the number of veteran-owned businesses is declining. Only 4.5 percent of post-9/11 military veterans have gone on to open a business, compared to 49.7 percent of WWII veterans and 40 percent of Korean War veterans.
This sharp decline in veteran business ownership isn’t for a lack of drive: 26 percent of veterans say they’re interested in starting a business of their own. However, veterans face significant obstacles in their quest to start a business, from knowledge gaps to financing challenges.
Mat Noe is a veteran who managed a successful transition recently. He said: “I made the final decision to return home and give up my active role in the military. I knew I had to be selective and have a long list to consider when deciding what to do. I relied heavily on my experience and skills to find the right one. After a lot of research, it turned out that franchising was the right path for me. Then I finally found a drug testing franchise called Fastest Labs that ticked all the boxes that I personally tried to fill in this business.”
While transitioning to a more traditional career after serving in the military for more than 4 years can be an adjustment. So Mat decides to share a few tips, all of which are beneficial for new veterans taking advantage of opportunities and looking to take the next step. A common thread throughout this fascinating new adventure. Here are Mat’s veteran transition tips:
- Ask how you can give back to your community
- Search for an industry you have a baseline understanding of
- Focus on the skills required not the tasks you’ll complete
- Have the hard discussions early