Being a veteran entrepreneur is not an easy task. Take it from us. JetCo Solutions was founded by Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Jon Tellier, who has his fair share of stories when it comes to the upbringing of the company. However, when starting your company as a veteran, what resources should you use? To honor National Veterans Small Business Week (November 4 – 8) and Veterans Day, Tellier shared some insights on what it’s like to be a veteran small business owner. From 11 years in active duty overseas to being the President of a small business, here are Tellier’s tips when it comes to succeeding as a veteran entrepreneur.
1. Use local resources.
If you’re not sure where to start when planning your business, Tellier suggests finding a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) near you. When starting JetCo Solutions, Tellier utilized the Michigan Small Business Development Center, which helped him build a plan to start on his entrepreneurial journey. The recommendations he received from the SBDC were integrated into some of the goals he set for the company.
2. Be persistent and patient.
Tellier said, “Don’t take no for an answer. Early on, there were several nos along the way, which can easily make you feel defeated. But in the military’s upbringing, there is no victory for second place. Take that mindset into the business world.”
3. Find a network or mentor.
“As a veteran, it’s often hard for people to empathize with what you went through,” said Tellier. “And as a small business owner, some people may not understand why you have to work long days or on the weekends.” That’s where the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) came in. When Tellier joined SBAM, he said he was able to find a group of small business owners who could relate to the ups and downs of running a business.
Some other resources Tellier recommends for veteran entrepreneurs? The Army Transition Assistance Program, VetBizCentral, and the Veteran Owned Business Round Table. These are just a few of the many resources available for veteran entrepreneurs, but by following these tips, we hope you’ll be on your way to building a successful business.