By guest blogger Jesse Clark
As a veteran, you no doubt have skills and experience that can translate into a wide range of industries and fields. You’re likely a self-starter who is no stranger to persevering through challenges and thinking of creative solutions. In other words, entrepreneurship could be the ideal career path for you.
But, if you want to start a business, it’s essential to do your research and take advantage of the resources available. Today, Jesse Clark outlines the steps you’ll need to take when launching your first company.
First, ensure you have all the skills and knowledge necessary to start and grow a company. One option is to go the traditional route by pursuing a college degree. Returning to school for an MBA could go a long way in expanding your business, management, and strategy knowledge while teaching you about self-assessment, self-awareness, leadership, and many other critical entrepreneurial qualities. Furthermore, studying online will allow you the time and flexibility to manage all the other responsibilities in your life.
Another way to prepare for your new business is to find a mentor in your community who can walk you through the challenges ahead. Many veteran resources are available to connect you with mentors and organizations that specialize in helping entrepreneurs develop their business skills.
Once you are confident that you have the necessary skills to launch a business, it’s time to develop the perfect business idea. A lot of this will depend on your natural talents and the skills and expertise you’ve developed up to this point in your life.
How could the skills you learned in the military translate into a company, and what passions or interests keep you awake at night? Also, what resources do you currently have, and have you researched all the veteran resources created for entrepreneurs?
Once you listed a few possibilities, conduct market research to determine which business idea promises the most profit, explains Patriot Software. If you’re starting a local business, figure out if there is a need in the community that you can fill, whether it’s starting a pizza restaurant, a barbershop, or a business consultancy firm.
Draft a Business Plan
After choosing the right business idea, turn it into a business plan. CPA Practice Advisor suggests drafting a document that outlines your goals and the strategies that will help you achieve them. A good business plan will include your mission statement, core values, company description, target market, marketing ideas, funding requirements, financial forecasts, and other details.
You should also spread the word via social media. A great way to accomplish this is through infographics. If you aren’t sure how to make one, you can try using a free tool, then share your new infographic via social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to help expand your customer base.
One of the important first steps to starting a new company is to establish your legal structure. Consider forming an LLC to receive liability protection and tax benefits in addition to increased flexibility in how you’re paid. Each state has specific regulations pertaining to LLCs, so make sure you understand the rules before diving into the process. Working with an online service can ensure that your LLC complies with state requirements and leave you with less grunt work.
You must determine how much money you’ll need to start your business and manage it for the first few years. Research all the potential startup costs, and look into your funding options. As Skip points out, many public and private institutions and organizations offer veteran entrepreneurs access to grants, loans, lines of credit, and contract financing. Exercise all your veteran-specific options before pitching your business plan to investors.
If you go the traditional loan route, be sure to check your credit score before applying. Lenders use your credit report to determine whether or not you are likely to pay back the loan they provide. If your score is too low, they will likely not take the risk. With the right strategies (and, of course, depending on your current score) you can often raise your score to an acceptable number within 6-12 months.
A sound marketing plan is essential for any new business. There are a number of different marketing strategies that can be used to promote a new product or service, but content marketing is often one of the most effective. Content marketing involves creating high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience. This content can be in the form of blog posts, articles, infographics, or even videos.
The key is to create something that will resonate with your audience and help to position your brand as a trusted authority in your industry. While content marketing can take some time to generate results, it is often a very cost-effective way to reach your target market. Improve your content marketing by visiting Cornerstone Content for additional tips.
If you’re ready to use your talents, knowledge, and skills in the business world, what are you waiting for? A lot is involved in starting a business, but if you’re willing to work hard, come up with the right business idea, and handle all the necessary tasks to set your company on a firm foundation, you’re probably cut out for entrepreneurship. Take the tips above with you as you set out on your journey, and never stop learning how to get better at what you do!
Image via Pexels
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine your life in a new context. Visit Major General (Ret.) John Gronski online to hear about how his time in the military informed his vision of leadership. Perhaps his words will inspire you to move forward with your new business.
About our guest blogger:
Jesse Clark is a traveler, so she’s no stranger to experiencing wanderlust and that strong desire to travel. She’s already had enough experiences to last a lifetime, but she’s not stopping anytime soon.