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What Every Veteran Should Know Before Starting a Business

Trump skips debate for Veterans

Perhaps it’s not good strategy to give away the primary message in the first couple of sentences but I’m going to take a risk and do just that.  Namely every potential veteran entrepreneur should know just this.  Business does not care if you are a veteran.  I might care as I love to cheer on my fellow vets and potential customers might care enough to give you a shot. But business doesn’t care.  If you expect the free market to treat you like a charity because you are a veteran owned business things will end poorly for you.  Business will treat each veteran with the same cold hearted touch it has with every business run out of town since the free market began.  Been to combat?  Cool story bro, business don’t care.  And yet, the sum of our experiences in the military can indeed prepare and equip us for the entrepreneur life if we let it.  Just so long as we realize business doesn’t actually care if you are a veteran.  You will either satisfy the demands of the market like any other business or you will go the way of Clear Coke and the pet rock.  More than an Ooh Rah and “get some” from fellow veteran business owners what potential entrepreneurs really need is information, knowledge, and training in the realities of the market.  Because if you have deployed multiple times, that’s a cool story bro but business don’t care.

A Veteran Success Story

Nick Baucom is the founder of Two Marines Moving and by all accounts is wildly successful at the world of business.  What you may not know is that Nick Baucom is a Marine with whom I served back in 2003 and I remember him as the young boot we all once were.  I would share some good boot stories about the guy but I have the feeling his lawyers are better than my lawyers what with me having no lawyers and all.  But I honestly can’t say that I’m surprised Nick is as successful as he is today and it actually has nothing to do with him being a Marine.

Among the field talk banter which covers everything from hot ladies to the origins of the universe,  I can remember this guy talking about some sort of business he started in his late teens having to do with printer cartridges or something.  The details escape, but the premise was brilliant.  And I thought then and life has proved it that Nick Baucom knows a lot about business.  That’s why he is wildly successful.  The dude knows business.  I mean I’m a Marine too and all I have is a poorly edited blog and an unhealthy fascination with Bea Arthur’s panties.  Why am I not equally successful if being a Veteran is all that is required?  Dragged Saddam Hussein from a hole?  Cool story bro, but business don’t care.

I can testify from my personal experience running my own career as a writer that this business entrepreneur stuff is hard work.  But you can hump 20 miles up Mount MFer and that’s hard work, right?  Cool story bro, business don’t care.  Where I succeeded and failed in my venture could uniquely be summed up to the same things that make your average business succeed or fail.  And where I failed, much of what I really needed was information. I needed knowledge because despite the deceptive assurances of my Drill Instructors that little camouflage book of recruit knowledge I carried around MCRD was not everything I ever needed to know.  So let’s talk about some knowledge.

Knowledge is Power

You will notice one of my advertisers you see regularly on this blog as StreetShares.  They are a veteran owned company that provides small business financing to fellow veterans.  You will also notice you don’t see too much other advertising on here because I opt to value your trust more than I value a little extra ad revenue.  I don’t advertise businesses or products I don’t trust and it’s just that simple.  StreetShares has helped countless veteran businesses get on their feet including everyone’s favorite Combat Flip Flops.  They financed these guys before Marc Cuban made it cool on Shark Tank.

So they have come out with a helpful guide developed with other trusted partners to guide veteran businesses through the world of Government Contracting. If you know what this and are involved, read the book.  If you don’t know what that is then please, still read the book because knowledge will separate you from thos who fail.  And I’d be remiss not to point you to it here, The Government Contractor’s Handbook for Veteran Business Owners

Guys this kind of stuff is an example of the information we need to be successful at business.  I can ooh rah and share your jalapeno cheese memes all you want but this is the stuff that will help you thrive.  Real information offered by real people who know.  Because StreetShares is a great company doing great work my friends, but they are not a charity.  When they finance a business they are rightfully cheering and looking for it to succeed for many reasons, business being one of them.  And the only way it’s going to succeed is when veterans understand that business don’t care if you are a veteran.   You got a combat action ribbon?  Cool story bro, business don’t care.

In Conclusion

I’m not trying to discourage any veteran from opening up a business.  Rather I’m fighting for you to succeed by telling you the honest truth. Take a look at every successful veteran business or brand out there and the common denominator is not their service but their business savvy.  I’m sure they are great at dropping bodies and kicking in doors, but they are businessmen now.  If you want to share in their success you better become one too.  They are successful because they know or they have learned the hard way that business don’t care.

Chattanooga Marines

If you open a business called Veteran Warrior Coffee Co and your coffee tastes like piss you are in trouble.  If  you create Warfighter Cologne and it smells like the crappers right after diesel burn the market will not be kind to you.  If you craft a beer that tastes like jalapeno cheese… no wait that idea is actually brilliant.  The military can often be described as a meritocracy where only those who earn it thrive.  Same thing with business my friends.  Your civilian competition will eat you alive if you are banking on your veteran status to pull you through.  Newsflash, it’s like you actually have to be good at what you do.  But you were special forces Delta SEAL Ranger Space Marine?  Cool story bro, business don’t care.  I’ll say it again, if you are banking on your Veteran run business to be treated like a charity because of your vet status then I’ve got some hard news for you.  Business don’t care.

Like the Unprecedented Mediocrity Page Below Unless You Hate Veterans.  Why Do You Hate Veterans? Like the Page. 

Jeff Edwards

One Comment

  1. One of the first things to do is secure the services of a good tax accountant and have a lawyer in the wings.

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