Did you know Grunt Style is technically a small business? While the revenue generated might be in the millions, the manpower to run the company is less than 400 people. It all started with a single man and his t-shirt idea.
And it’s not just Grunt Style. It seems like veterans everywhere are starting their own businesses these days. From coffee, to other t-shirt and clothing lines, to providing various services such as government contracting- veterans are taking their ideal job and starting their own company.
According to the Small Business Administration’s 2012 report, over 2.5 million businesses are owned by veterans. There is no doubt that number has increased significantly since then, we just could not locate a more recent study at the time we wrote this. Of those 2.5 million businesses, they generated well over $1 trillion. You read that correct- not million, not billion, but trillion.
So what sets a veteran-owned business, small or otherwise, apart from the rest? Attention to detail and a strong work ethic. In the military, we are taught to keep working hard, no matter the situation. We are also taught the devil is in the details and everything and everyone play a large role in the big picture. That translates very well in business.
When starting a business, especially if you are doing so from scratch- you generally don’t have many people to rely on or a very large staff. According to a 2012 CreditDonkey survey, over 50% of veteran businesses had only 1-4 employees. This ultimately translates that we have to be self-reliant and dedicated to our task at hand. Which again, the military definitely instills.
One of the biggest recommendations given by fellow small business owners is- obtain a mentor. Find someone who has achieved great things at the levels you are looking toward, and ask them to provide you guidance. Mentors can be an invaluable wealth of knowledge and information. They have also potentially experienced some of the trial and error, and have lessons learned for you.
Another tip- just do it! Just like joining the military, you have the ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ people. But you have already ripped the bandaid once, so do it again. Chances are, you really don’t have as much to lose as you think.
Owning a business is tough and you will need every ounce of mental drive to get through the rigors you will face, especially in the beginning. Veterans already have many of the qualities needed to own a business. Not sure where to start? Contact the Small Business Administration or search sba.gov for classes, assistance, etc.
Support Veteran-owned Small Businesses, especially 4-9 Nov, during National Veteran Small Business week!