Why veterans make great entrepreneurs

Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO of The NIIC

According to an SBA report entitled “Veteran-Owned Businesses and Their Owners”, small business firms owned by veterans employed 5.03 million people, had an annual payroll of $195 billion and receipts of $1.14 trillion. The veteran-owned firms represented 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses. That means former military members owns about one out of ten firms!

As we prepare as a nation to celebrate Memorial Day, let us not forget who should be at the front and center of the holiday. I realize this day is intended to honor the fallen, but I think it’s worth acknowledging all the living men and women who have served or are serving our country. They are indeed all heroes.

I have met my share of entrepreneurs from all walks of life and backgrounds, but there’s something that stands out about veteran business owners. Among other things, they tend to be hardworking, laser-focused, and disciplined. Here are a few qualities that make veterans inclined to succeed in entrepreneurship:

  • Unity: Veterans have a communal spirit by nature. Former warriors tend to embrace a commitment to their customers, vendors, employees and the community at large. They tend to put the greater good before their interests.
  • Stamina: Burnout is a reality for startup owners, especially in the early stages. Vets tend to be able to take the heat and go the extra mile, even on little sleep. Their work ethic is unrivaled, and they translate that same attitude to pursuits off the battlefield.
  • Attitude: The most successful businesses provide a solution to a problem, whether large or small. Challenges are seen as welcome opportunities to this group. They approach a venture with great determination and resolve.
  • Commitment to Diversity and inclusion: The armed forces attract people from a wide variety of socioeconomic, racial and religious backgrounds. As a result, vets know to embrace differences as an asset to their companies.
  • Core values: Vets lead by example by exhibiting all of these positive traits. They often inspire their employees and peers to do better and thus improve the overall culture of the organization and local entrepreneurial community.

The NIIC offers a range of services to help any interested and motivated individual build, grow and scale their business venture. Reach out and let us know if you need assistance. If you are a vet-owned business what is the most valuable thing you have taken away from being in the service that has made a difference in the launch and growth of your business?

Share your thoughts in the comments. And, let me also say, thank you for your service.


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