For veterans transitioning to civilian life, figuring out “what’s next” can be a daunting task. But with the right business idea matching their skills and passions, veterans can continue serving – their community and customers.
Veterans often already possess the self-discipline, problem-solving abilities, and leadership experience to run successful ventures. By leveraging military training and security clearances, they can launch businesses well-suited to their strengths. Small business opportunities also enable flexibility during times of deployment or PCS moves.
So whether interested in being their own boss or using business ownership to give back, here are 25 small business ideas to inspire veterans to keep making a difference.
What We Covered In This Article
1. Defense Contracting
With knowledge of military systems and security clearances, veterans can win defense contracts to manufacture products or offer analysis services. Help defense or government clients solve problems by leveraging insider understanding of armed forces operations.
2. Cybersecurity Consulting
Use information security skills from military intelligence roles to protect businesses from digital threats. Offer services like risk assessments, network analysis, data encryption, security training for employees, and incident response plans.
3. Firearms Sales and Training
Drawing on weapons training, open a gun retail business, indoor shooting range, or tactical and concealed carry training facility. Provide instruction in safe handling, storage, cleaning for various firearm types. Maintain range facilities and organize shooting competitions.
4. Transportation Services
Veterans with logistics coordination or vehicle operation skills can offer transportation for people or commercial deliveries. Start a taxi, limo, charter bus service, courier service, long haul trucking, or storage and shipping service.
5. Business and Management Consulting
Parlay leadership experience managing teams, overseeing complex initiatives and budgets into advising businesses on operations, HR policies, building leadership pipelines, improving efficiency, and more.
6. Trade Services
Leverage military training in construction, engineering, electronics, mechanics or technicians to start related services. Become a contractor offering residential/commercial construction, HVAC repair, electrician work, appliance repair, welding services or automotive servicing.
7. Fitness Training and Gyms
Build on extensive fitness foundations by providing personal training, leading bootcamps, owning a gym, or founding a digital fitness program. Adapt aspects of military physical training into workout regimens for clients trying to get in shape.
8. Outdoor Adventure Tours and Instruction
Use survivalist skills and passion for the outdoors to lead hiking excursions, camping trips, hunting/fishing expeditions, navigation courses, or wilderness survival instruction. Also teach specific skills like archery, boating safety, horsemanship etc.
9. Property Inspection Services
Leverage experience conducting safety inspections to start a business offering home, site development or industrial inspections. After proper certifications, provide services like home assessments before sales, building code compliance, fire code enforcement etc.
10.Translator and Interpreter Services
Fluency in other languages from being stationed abroad opens opportunities to provide translation and interpretation services for businesses, legal system clients, healthcare clinics serving nonnative speakers etc.
11. Solar Panel Cleaning and Installation
Drawing on technical expertise, offer solar panel cleaning to optimize energy efficiency or solar equipment installation and maintenance services as demand for renewable energy solutions grows.
12. Landscaping and Lawn Care
Skills managing large equipment or logistical coordination easily translate to mowing lawns, landscape design, tree care services etc. Start a full-service boutique landscaping firm or specialize in services like irrigation system design.
13. Emergency Preparedness Planning
Help homeowners and businesses develop emergency response plans for crises like natural disasters, accidents, cyber attacks etc. Offer related training drills, survival skill development and organizational readiness assessments.
14. Resume Writing Service
Aid transitioning servicemembers build civilian resumes showcasing their leadership experience, management competencies, security clearances and specialized training to help them land jobs.
15. VA Benefits Claims Assistance
Assist fellow veterans file complex Veterans Affairs claims to get entitled benefits for disabilities, healthcare, eduction, dependent care etc. Use familiarity with the VA bureaucracy to support successful claims outcomes.
16. Real Estate Appraisals
Get certified as an appraiser and offer residential valuation assessments for mortgage lending purposes, divorce proceedings, estate planning, property sales etc. Travel to inspect home features and provide fair market value reports.
17. Home Organization and Staging
Help homeowners and stagers prepare residences for sale by editing furnishings, storage solutions to minimize clutter and highlight positive architectural elements. Use keen attention to detail and coordination abilities.
18. Importing and Exporting
Leverage logistics experience and global contacts from being deployed abroad to start an import/export business. Connect foreign producers and domestic buyers to facilitate efficient transnational commerce.
19. Security Consulting and Services
Provide security guard services or risk assessment and planning for events, residences, businesses and travelers. Offer insider expertise on threat prevention, crisis training, cyber defense measures etc.
20. Drone Photography and Videography
Use piloting skills from operating military drones paired with creativity to start aerial photography/videography business. Offer unique visual media and analysis for real estate listings, construction sites, event promotions etc.
21. Junk Removal and Hauling Services
Take care of cleaning jobs most clients dread – hoarder home waste removal, hauling away materials from construction sites, junk metal recycling etc. Maintain a truck fleet and employ efficient routing logistics to deliver great customer service.
22. Online Teaching and Tutoring
Use expertise gained from technical roles to teach or tutor students online in STEM, languages, test prep etc. Set schedule flexibility while helping students’ academic success.
23. Business Blogging and Writing Services
Offer custom business blogging services. Ghostwrite client articles on thought leadership topics in your field. Provide website, marketing materials and other business writing services.
24. Drop Shipping Online Stores
Capitalize on eCommerce and logistics experience to launch online stores without holding inventory. Find manufacturers willing to ship products directly to customers when orders come in.
25. Food Trucks
Deploy mobile food businesses to serve dishes inspired by travels abroad or creative takes on MREs! Build loyal customer bases at office parks, festivals and bars welcoming late night comfort cuisine.
With strong skill sets and leadership experience, veterans already have many of the strengths needed to steer their entrepreneurial visions and continue making a positive impact through business ownership. Whether helping homeland security, serving their neighborhood community, or pursuing a passion project – veterans can continue their call to duty as small business owners.
However, passion and skills alone won’t guarantee success. Crafting thorough business plans is pivotal when launching a new venture. Veterans should dedicate ample time to research and planning before kickstarting their concepts. Key elements like formalizing business structures, refining product/service offerings, identifying target customers, analysing competition, seeking financing if necessary, and projecting expenses and revenue all need upfront strategizing to set up the fundamentals for growth and sustainability.
By leveraging the discipline, problem-solving abilities and determination ingrained through military service – along with taking a strategic, plan-driven approach – veteran entrepreneurs can be positioned for victory, just as in their prior mission pursuits. Many state and federal resources also exist to specifically empower veteran-owned businesses with training programs, helpful networks and funding opportunities worth exploring.
With a wealth of transferable talents and experiences to draw from, veterans have what it takes to continue serving, now the populace and community that once supported them during active duty tours. By identifying the right business model aligned with personal goals and putting in place an air-tight launch plan, veteran entrepreneurs can confidently take command, forging new legacies as business leaders serving customers and country.
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