With Veterans Day around the corner, I am reminded of one of the questions I got the most during the past decade writing my USA TODAY column: why aren’t more small business owners hiring veterans?
It was a very legitimate question. The fact is, since 9/11, American veterans have come home to a very icy employment picture. For much of that time, veteran unemployment figures typically were several percentage points higher than the national average. For instance, in 2011, the number of veterans out of work stood at 12.1%. In 2012, it fell to 9.9%, but even that was several points higher than the national average. Happily, veteran unemployment continues to fall. Today it hovers around 7%.


So yes, the good news is that employers seem to be warming up to the idea of hiring vets. The only real question is why did it take so long? Veterans generally make very good employees, especially because of their training and background. 


And, if you think about it, that same training also means that veterans tend to be excellent entrepreneurs and small business owners:


  • Veterans understand how to create a plan, implement and execute it
  • Many are trained to be leaders
  • They understand systems
  • Hard work and commitment are in their bones


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Yet veterans face the same challenges that all small business owners face, as well as some unique to the veteran experience. Like all small businesses, finding the training and assistance needed to succeed can be tough. Beyond that, veteran entrepreneurs who are disabled or have other trauma-related issues have their own, unique set of issues to deal with.


Pull Quote.pngSo for all of the men and women who were brave enough to both serve our country, as well as who want to start a business (or have), here is a list of resources to make your entrepreneurial life easier:



How have you or someone you know made the transition from veteran to small business owner? Share your story below.


About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.



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