How Veterans Can Live American Dream of Entrepreneurship

Life After Service: How Veterans Can Live American Dream of Entrepreneurship

BE Military Woman
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(Image: Trevor Logan/Logan's Photo L.L.C.)

I had the privilege of talking to several successful services disabled veteran-owned small business executives. Each of them had launched businesses after serving their country. They are proof that military skills, techniques, and values can be adapted to the business world. Discipline and flexibility and being goal-oriented and a self-starter are a few attributes of veterans that make entrepreneurship the perfect fit for many of them. Let’s take a look at three commands to establish a profitable business unit.

1. The mission: It is extremely important to define your business concepts, goals, vision, value add, target market, and capability. One undisputed tactic is to start with a business plan. The completion of the business plan will force you to dig into the details. You will not be able to lead the convoy if you do not understand where you are going. Planning and preparation are important to winning in business. Frank Clay, principal at The Clay Group, says it is absolutely essential to understand how to properly do business. Legal business structure, documents that provide a framework for operations, a DUNS number, standard operating procedures, a good credit rating, and a banking relationship are a few items you will need in your arsenal.

2. Intelligence collection plan: Releasing an investigation strategy to determine how your military experience and designation can enhance your business operation could prove to be critical. There are numerous resources available to help you start and grow your business:

  • Procurement programs that provide federal contracting opportunities such as sole source and set-aside for exclusive competition among service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses if certain conditions are met; the Small Business Administration website—a great place to start with tons of free information. (
  • Conferences such as the National Veterans Small Business Engagement Conference  Dec. 9-11, 2014, in Atlanta. This conference helps veteran-owned and service-disabled small businesses expand contacts and build partnerships to maximize opportunities in the federal and commercial marketplace. The vitality of your business depends upon your ability to determine who will purchase your services and products. It is the hits that count, and you plan to hit!

3. Execute: Whether it’s the “Oorah,” “Hooah,” or “Hooyah”—the bottom line is to pull the trigger. As Patrice Manuel with P/Strada L.L.C. often says, “You will not find a harder worker than a veteran.” This is perfect because it is time to work! Although the mission is always placed first, as an entrepreneur you have a clear mandate to work the plan. Now is the time for you to stand—be ready to deploy and engage in your business!

Marquita Miller is the founder and CEO of Five Star Tax and Business Solutions — a full-service accounting firm in Kansas City, Missouri. A small business expert contributor on CBS & FOX morning shows, Miller is a published author, business strategist, motivational speaker, and well-known advocate of entrepreneurship. A recipient of Kansas City’s Influential Woman and Woman Who Means Business award, Miller is also a conference speaker and workshop facilitator for TD Jakes Ministries. Twitter:@MarquitaMMiller