Why Veterans Make Excellent Entrepreneurs

In 2011, the SBA Office of Advocacy reported that military veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to dive into entrepreneurial ventures than civilians with no experience in the active-duty military.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2007), veterans owned 2.4 million businesses—equating to 9 percent of all businesses in the country—thus employing nearly 5.8 million Americans. [1]

While there are several reasons why veterans feel the urge to start their own businesses, there is certainly a correlation between entrepreneurship and the qualities that veterans develop from service in the military.  Veterans are not only more likely to plunge into entrepreneurship, but they have acquired characteristics that allow their businesses to excel.  Here are some reasons why military veterans make excellent entrepreneurs:

1.) Veterans are effective risk-takers. A major flaw of entrepeneurs is the inability to manage risks—either they are too afraid to take risks or cannot evaluate the consequences of taking certain risks.  Veterans are great at managing risks and working under pressure.  The military does an excellent job of training soldiers on how to calculate risks and understand when to capitalize on an opportunity. Veterans are used to making decisions and operating well under pressure.  Serving in the military has given them both the skills and confidence to run a high-stakes business.

2.) Veterans have excellent organizational skills, which are crucial for starting up and effectively running a business.  Veterans are organized, goal oriented and used to sticking to a schedule.  The military trains people to work hard and maintain high levels of discipline when working towards a goal.  Veterans are also resourceful. They typically have a lot of experience working with a limited number of resources.  Veterans typically maintain intense focus and are often very stubborn in achieving their goals.  They are experts at prioritizing tasks and understanding the possibilities of success for alternative decisions.

3.) Veterans have a unique way of networking and building on relationships.  People with a military background are not afraid to seek knowledge from people who are more experienced, even if it means asking their superiors for information.  Veterans not only have the confidence to generate new ideas and reach out to people to build valuable networks, but they also have countless resources at their disposal.  The military community is tight-knit and there are countless networking opportunities and available resources like Help Fund A Veteran.

[1] https://www.sba.gov/content/national-veterans-small-business-week

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