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. And 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:
• Training programs
• Access to college courses
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. Veteran-Focused Loans
Small business loans built for vets can provide access to funding that may seem out of reach. The SBA has loan options that let vets get funding of up to $350,000 without having to pay any upfront fees. 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 can help you get capital quickly, often handling loans in just a couple of days. For vets who have an urgent need and can’t wait for a bank or government program, or who may have difficulty getting a loan with their current credit status, loans offered through alternative lenders offer a welcome option.
3. Government Contracts
Easier access to government contracts is a major veteran-owned business advantage. The federal government mandates that 3% of contracts and subcontracts be given to certified vet-owned businesses. This can be a great chance to use your vet status to compete among a smaller pool of businesses.
If a contract or subcontract is devoted to vet-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. Again, several excellent programs exist to 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 vet. 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.
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 vet-owned businesses. Obtaining certification with NaVOBA can lead to networking opportunities and access to special programs to help you expand your business. From members-only events to being put in touch with major corporations that want to help smaller vet-owned businesses, the gains can be huge.
Veteran-Owned Business Advantages Mean You Don’t Have to Carry the Burden Alone
Vets face many challenges as business owners. Their time of 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. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your growth goals through our small business lending programs.