10 Small Business Ideas for Veterans with Entrepreneurial Spirit

As 200,000 veterans make their way home every year, there aren’t enough resources for them all to make the most of their skills. However, as many vets have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, the best small business ideas for veterans don’t always have to do with working around the military. There are ways to help other vets, to start your own business, and to live a more fulfilling life with the skills you’ve learned.

Here are five types of businesses that veterans are perfectly poised to create.

1. Private Security

If you’ve worked in the military, you’ve learned a lot about how to make quick decisions under pressure. This is a highly valued skill in the world of personal or private security. Not everyone has the skill, focus, and courage to step into a challenging situation to defuse, deescalate, or to potentially get hurt on the job.

Thankfully there are a lot of veterans with just that set of skills who are ready to do the job that people of courage and character are needed for.

Whether it’s political figures, wealthy visitors, or famous celebrities, there are lots of people who need a personal security detail. It’s an interesting job where you get the opportunity to meet interesting people and learn a lot about the world. You also get the chance to protect people who you might like or already care about.

There are companies who make their money staffing private buildings, government facilities, and other secure areas with the right people for the job. Private security professionals who know how to disarm attackers, manage surveillance equipment, or work with specialized vehicles are especially great candidates.

Starting your own private security company gives veterans a leg up because they have a network of other trained professionals. They know what to look for and can easily become trusted in the industry for their experience.

2. Restaurants

They say that working in a restaurant is a lot like working in the trenches or being on a battlefield. While the analogy is clearly tongue in cheek, there’s a little bit of truth when it comes to how a restaurant kitchen works. People take orders from a head chef who’s tasked with delegating work out to everyone else who are all aiming toward a common goal.

If you’re good at acting quickly and not bad in the kitchen, you could quickly learn to make some great food. While out on a mission, soldiers are tasked with making the most with very little. If you happened to work in the kitchen, you learned how to make ingredients stretch or how to make people happy with very few ingredients.

For people who learned all about teamwork while deployed with a group of other soldiers, a kitchen makes a lot of sense. Everyone has a role but everyone is working to help the whole restaurant meet a specific goal. The spirit of teamwork, camaraderie, and collaboration make veterans especially suited for this.

If you’re more of a lone wolf, you could apply for a loan to get your own food truck. While this puts a lot of the work on your shoulders, you’ll find that you get to make your own rules and set your own schedule in a way that makes sense for you. Check out Pioneer Military Loans and see how much you could get to start your business.

3. Technology Consultant

The military is where so much technology is researched, tested, and introduced to the world. If you found yourself working with the cutting edge technology that the military has access to, you’re going to be positioned perfectly to become a tech consultant. You’ll know more about the latest technology than most other people will.

There is technology related to GPS tracking, drones, or even AI that the military is working with more than anyone else. Large businesses, the financial sector, and the tech sector itself are constantly looking for people with skills and experience with these tools. If you can train other people to use them, you’ll be a hotly sought after consultant.

Starting your own business is challenging but if you know other people you worked alongside are looking for work, you can go into business together.

4. Health Care Advocacy

Health care advocacy is an important role for people who’ve been through the VA system and come out on the other side. While the people working for the VA and their various medical facilities work hard for everyone who comes through, they’re often short on resources. Another problem is that the people who come through don’t know what questions to ask or what the VA can do for them.

As an advocate, you can be the person to help train recently dismissed veterans or people who are dealing with transitioning after an injury. You can also ensure that the military is constantly pressured to offer the latest and most updated services to veterans.

As a professional advocate, you’ll be able to speak up for those who can’t and help improve the quality of life for people who are struggling.

5. Consultant for Veteran Services

Veteran services go beyond just the work done for people with injuries. There are employment opportunities, homeownership loans, or even educational opportunities that veterans should take advantage of. If they’re not informed, they can’t make the most of these opportunities.

As a professional consultant contracted by the government, academic institutions, or healthcare providers, you could be a point of contact for people who need it. As a consultant, you’ll have access to resources and information that could change the lives of veterans for the better.

So Many Great Small Business Ideas For Veterans

As a veteran, there are plenty of small business ideas that allow you to succeed by leveraging your military skills. If you find yourself thinking of potential business ideas, you should pursue one rather than keep it as a pipe dream. 

Additionally, if you’re lacking the education you need to start your business, consider going back to school first. Between veteran educational benefits, obtaining college credit from your military training, and exploring online options – it’s never been easier for veterans to return to school for their post-service educational needs. 

Remember, plenty of veterans, just like you, have succeed in their business ventures and you’re no exception.

If you’re just starting your business, check out our guide for using social media to help jump-start things.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.