As a veteran, you know what it takes to work hard and make sacrifices. You’re practiced in exercising discipline and keeping a solid routine. You know how to respond when unexpected situations arise and are always ready to act honorably. All of these qualities and more make veterans excellent entrepreneurs and small business owners. In fact, 49% of veterans became business owners after World War II, and research shows that the trend has continued. Today, veterans own 10% of America’s small businesses. If you’re curious about owning a franchise, it’s worth looking into which opportunities are considered the best franchises for veterans.
Home-based travel businesses are one of the most attractive franchise opportunities for veterans – those like Dream Vacations offer the chance to channel your strengths into a successful business that fits your lifestyle. In fact, Dream Vacations has been ranked among the top franchises for veterans by Military Times for four years in a row. Many veterans attribute the allure of veteran-friendly franchises to the family-like support system and flexibility.
Here are five reasons why Dream Vacations is one of the best healthy franchises for veterans:
- Freedom and flexibility.
- Excellent training resources (leadership skills learned in the service prepares veterans to lead in life and business).
- Support system from fellow franchisees and leadership.
- More opportunities to travel.
- Veteran discounts with opportunities, licensing, training and certification. In fact, Dream Vacations is consistently ranked as one of the best affordable franchises for veterans in the U.S.!
If all of these elements appeal to you, you’re probably ready to become a “vetrepreneur” and join our travel agent business opportunity. Just what is a “vetrepreneur,” you ask? A vetrepreneur is just what it sounds like – a veteran who translates his or her military skills to become an entrepreneur after military service.
Vetrepreneurs often thrive because of the strong network they’ve built during their time in the military. The military is set up as a system to provide you with resources, training, experience, and confidence that will lead you to success. The military structure offers a similar format as the franchise model provides. Franchising has a proven system and formula for success that allows entrepreneurs and vetrepreneurs alike to find achievement, prosperity, growth and success. Having meaningful connections all over the world helps vetrepreneurs start businesses that take off quickly and stand the test of time. Choosing from amongst the best franchises for veterans will help ensure you’re starting your business journey off on the right foot.
Small Business Ideas for Active Military
Can you start a business while in the military? Yes, you can have a business while on active duty! Though some active military members may be skeptical of the idea, there are plenty of ways to dive into running a small business. Active-duty military members simply need to look for business opportunities that provide enough flexibility to be done both at home and remotely, when on duty. Upon finding the right opportunity, active military members can thrive just as well as vetrepreneurs or civilian entrepreneurs.
So, what is military entrepreneurship? This is when an active military member starts a business on the side of serving the country. The business can be run after normal duties are done for the day, or when the military member is home for longer periods of time. A flexible business, like a work from home franchise, can also be run remotely, or a spouse or business partner can take over when the military member is on active duty.
Active-duty military members make great candidates for entrepreneurship because they already have a steady paycheck coming in, as well as healthcare for the family and a stable job.
How to Succeed as a Vetrepreneur
Veterans and active-duty military members already have many of the keys to success as a vetrepreneur or military entrepreneur. With the right research and training from Dream Vacations, you’ll quickly launch into a thriving business.
If you’re ready to get started and wondering how to start a veteran owned business, here are some tips to consider:
- Create a business plan. This is your plan of action. This should include elements like:
- How you’ll get funding
- How you’ll market your business
- How you’ll produce your products
- Projections for growth
- Study your field. Once you have a business plan, there’s still plenty of research to be done. Dream Vacations provides training and ongoing support so that you feel prepared and confident about your business.
- Join a local business network. The internet offers a wealth of information to help modern business owners succeed, and in-person connections can help your business thrive. Meet other local business owners to get valuable advice and tips. By joining one of the best franchises for veterans in the U.S., you’ll have a built-in network of peers who support each other and network with one another.
- Manage your time. Every great business owner maximizes their efficiency by becoming a master of time management. Schedule your day and prioritize tasks so you make the most of every minute.
- Delegate tasks. Maximize your time by working within your support system that helps you every step of the way. The Dream Vacations support team has expertise in IT, marketing and more. You’ll be able to focus on your strengths while being assisted in every aspect of business.
- Practice leadership skills. As a veteran, you already possess leadership skills. Learn how to translate those skills to your business by reading up on entrepreneur leadership.
- Find a mentor. Veterans have the advantage of having a strong network from their time in service to the country. They know the value of building relationships and learning from the more experienced military members. Likewise, a veteran should take time to find a mentor who can help walk them through their business journey.
- Be ready to face challenges. If there’s anyone who knows how to face a challenge, it’s a veteran! Vetrepreneurs can use their ability to face adversity and apply it to their business. Challenges will come up – and a strong entrepreneur (with great support) can deftly navigate them.
- Create strategic partnerships. Partnerships are one of the best ways to keep the momentum of your business going. Form close and meaningful relationships with other businesses and your clients.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I certify my company as veteran-owned?
To certify your company as veteran-owned, you’ll need to register with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs – the VA. Contact the VA to find out which contracts apply to your business. Service-disabled veterans have special certifications and contracts that differ from other veterans, so you’ll want to make sure you’re applying for the right certification.
Most certifications require you to show proof that you are a veteran, so you’ll need your Department of Defense Form 214. If you’re a service-disabled veteran, you’ll also need a letter of proof from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.
You will also want to make sure you qualify to be officially sanctioned as a veteran-owned business before going through the application process. To do so, you must own at least 51% of your company.
Americans love supporting small business owners, and they’re especially happy to support vetrepreneurs. As gratitude for your service to our nation, many customers will elect to purchase from a veteran-owned company. Taking the time to certify your company as veteran-owned will be well-worth the effort.
Can you use your GI Bill to start a business?
Although you cannot use your GI Bill directly to start a business, you can use your GI Bill to gain the education needed to become a successful entrepreneur. The right education is an invaluable asset in setting off on the right path with your business.
The term “GI Bill” refers to any education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, meaning the money can be used to help cover the cost of education or training. Your GI Bill might be a:
- Post 9/11 GI Bill
- Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill
- Reserve and Guide Montgomery GI Bill
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Program
If you’re an aspiring vetrepreneur or military entrepreneur, you can look into your GI Bill benefits, which may cover a variety of training and educational programs, such as:
- College degree programs
- Non-college degree programs (like technical and vocational training)
- Flight training
- National tests like the SAT
- On-the-job training programs or apprenticeships
- Licensing and certification costs
How can you get funding for a veteran-owned business?
Veterans have many options for funding their businesses. The Small Business Administration offers special loans for veteran-owned businesses, and other lenders also offer unique lending options for veteran entrepreneurs. Other options include:
- Military Economic Injury Loans.
- Veterans Business Fund.
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Contracting Program.
- Dream Vacations offers you financing with as little as $3,500 down. And if you’re wondering, “Are there any incentives for veteran franchisees?” – the answer is yes!
Plus, Dream Vacations offers an annual contest, Operation Vetrepreneur, where we award five free franchisees a year. For more information please visit, Operation Vetrepreneur.