Veteran Business Advantages

5 Veteran-Owned Business Advantages You Need to Know

If you’re a veteran, the skills you acquire during your military service make you a natural when it comes to running a business. Many veterans have found success transitioning from active duty to entrepreneurship, but as any business owner knows, running a business comes with its challenges. Veteran-owned businesses have their own set of unique challenges. Luckily, there are many veteran-owned business advantages out there to help you take your business to the next level. From training programs and certifications to various lending opportunities, there are plenty of ways to grow your veteran-owned business.

When it comes to specific initiatives that drive veteran-owned business advantages, the following five options provide a great start:

1. Office of Veterans Business Development Programs

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has an office designed to create veteran-owned business advantages. The Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) provides resources to help veteran small business owners succeed. These resources include:

•  Grants
•  Training programs
•  Access to college courses
•  Consulting
•  Mentorships

The OVBD offers tailored support to women veterans, service-disabled veterans, and military spouses. This support ranges from general business resources to specific certifications and contracts for veteran-owned businesses. The ability to best position your business in the federal marketplace can be a complex and time-consuming process. The OVBD also helps small veteran-owned businesses with navigating the ABC’s of government contracting, from obtaining certifications to preparing for procurement.

2. Business Loans for Veterans

Small business loans built for veterans can provide access to funding that may seem out of reach. Whether you are scaling up operations or need funds to cover project costs, additional financing can be the solution for your business. There are three main loan sources for veterans: the SBA, banks, and alternative lenders.  

The SBA has specific loan programs to support veteran entrepreneurs, with loan options that let vets get funding of up to $350,000 without having to pay any upfront fees. These programs are catered to veteran-owned businesses and typically have lower interest and longer terms than traditional loans. The SBA also offers grants for veteran-owned businesses. Grants are often highly desirable as you don’t have to repay the funds.  

You may also find unique loan options from banks or credit unions. Bank loans can be a good option if you plan ahead, but they also come with a long application process. Be ready for lots of work and a long wait.

Alternative lenders are online-based loan options that can help you get capital quickly, often handling loans in just a couple of days. Depositing funds in as little as one business day. Alternative lenders, like QuickBridge, offer fast and flexible financing for almost any business expense. Alternative lenders are best suited for veteran business owners who need access to funds quickly. Banks and the SBA have lengthy application processes, which makes it difficult for business owners to capitalize on opportunities in a timely manner.

3. Government Contracts

The federal government mandates that 3% of contracts and subcontracts be given to certified veteran-owned and operated businesses. Additionally, the Department of Veteran Affairs dedicates at least 7% of its contracts specifically for veteran-owned businesses. This can be a great chance to use your veteran status to compete among a smaller pool of businesses. 

If a contract or subcontract is devoted to veteran-owned businesses, there may likely be only a few companies that could even make a bid, providing a key opportunity to land the kind of projects that drive business growth. There is one challenge, however, and that is obtaining certification. Working on government contracts means first getting certified as a veteran-owned business, a process that can take some time. Several excellent programs, like the SBA, help veteran-owned businesses complete the certification process and gain a competitive edge for winning contracts and attracting customers.

4. Marketing Opportunities

About 70% of people in the U.S. would choose to engage a vet-owned business instead of other options, a National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) survey found. Those potential customers can’t find you if you don’t market yourself as a company owned by a veteran. Take full advantage of the respect you’ll often get for your military service by marketing your company accordingly. Doing so can create new growth opportunities and give you an edge in the local marketplace.

Marketing is a great way to attract new customers, build customer loyalty, and establish your business. Start small by posting about your veteran status on your company’s social media channels or adding signage in your place of business. You could also advertise directly to other veterans and active duty, whether through publications or social media. 

5. Join NaVOBA

Joining NaVOBA can give you the veteran-owned business advantages that only come with formal certification. The non-profit provides contracting links between corporate America and veteran-owned businesses. Obtaining certification with NaVOBA can lead to networking opportunities and access to special programs to help you expand your business. This program is separate from federal certification and acts as a third-party certification for contracts with major corporations. From members-only events to being put in touch with major corporations that want to help smaller veteran-owned businesses, the  benefits can be huge. 

To be eligible for NaVOBA certification, a business must be at least 51% owned and operated by one or more military veteran. 

Veteran-Owned Business Advantages to Help You Succeed

Veterans face many challenges as business owners. Their service in the armed forces can leave them joining the market behind competitors. If a veteran business owner is a reservist, the company could suffer each time the individual is called to active duty.

These challenges can be a heavy burden, but veteran business owners aren’t alone. Government programs and nonprofits can help veteran-owned businesses get ahead. At the same time, alternative lenders, like QuickBridge, can provide innovative financing opportunities that create real veteran-owned business advantages through fiscal flexibility. QuickBridge is proud of the veterans on our team. It’s our goal for veteran-owned businesses to find the customized financing solutions their business needs to grow and thrive.  

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