When their service is complete, veterans often decide business ownership is best for them. While veterans make up only 7.3% of the U.S. population, they make up 9.1% of small business owners. According to the Small Business Administration, 2.5M businesses in the U.S. are majority-owned by veterans.
Why do service members tend to step up and become business owners when their service is done? Lendistry’s own analyst and United States Marine, Bill Acuña, has some ideas.
If you look at the military victories of this country, you’ll find that there are several inherent characteristics of the servicemen and women that made those victories possible. Amongst those characteristics are integrity, fortitude, a focus on mission accomplishment, and downright stubbornness in that “we’re not leaving until the job is done and it’s done right!” There are certainly more, but it’s traits like these that are required of any business owner in order for them to be successful whether they’re a veteran or not. The only difference is that with veterans the traits are already built in.
Business ownership also counteracts many of the frustrations veterans find when entering the civilian workplace. Military careers come with a built-in progression, and ranks and career fields come with clearly-defined expectations. Rules of conduct, values, pay rates, and potential for promotion are all standardized and leave little need for guess work.
Compared to a military job, even the most structured civilian business environment feels ambiguous. This can make fitting into a company culture and navigating its hierarchy difficult for a veteran. The obvious solution is to be the person who makes the rules. Bill says:
They’ve become accustomed to a life of structure and discipline and not too many work environments offer that same feel. Also, they have been in a leadership position for some time and are used to spearheading missions/assignments/tasks. When you take these factors into consideration I think it is very natural that a veteran would venture out on their own endeavor.
Veterans who want to learn more about becoming a business owner should check out the Small Business Administration’s Boots to Business program.
Those who have served and those who haven’t can find veteran-owned businesses in their area on the Veteran Owned Business Directory.
And of course, a boundless ‘thank you’ to all the service men and women out there.