3 Key Steps to Building Your Business As A National Guard or Reserve Member

Because of the nature of their roles in the military, National Guard and Reserve members are skilled at pivoting, quickly coming up with a plan, and jumping into action. This adaptability, along with their resourcefulness and dedication to meaningful causes, positions them as ideal business owners. If you’re a National Guard or Reserve member and you’re considering making the leap into business ownership, here are three key steps for building your business as a national guard or reserve member.

1. Lay the foundation for your business.

After you decide you want to start on the path to entrepreneurship, what’s next? It’s hard to know where to begin when you’re a first-time business owner. Fortunately, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has tailored tools, resources, and courses to help you get off on the right foot.

For example, Boots to Business Reboot (B2BR) teaches National Guard and Reserve members, veterans, and military spouses entrepreneurship basics like how to evaluate your business idea, develop a business plan, find funding, and take advantage of contracting opportunities. B2BR also offers attendees the opportunity to meet and network with likeminded entrepreneurs in the military community. View B2BR’s schedule and register for a class here.

2. Ramp up and make your business idea a reality.

After some careful brainstorming and planning, it’s time to take action and bring your idea to fruition. Your local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is the perfect partner to help get your business off the ground.

VBOC counselors offer expert guidance on every step of starting and growing your business. For example, they can walk you through complex processes like choosing a business structure, applying for a business loan, or securing a brick-and-mortar location. What’s more, VBOC counselors all specialize in working with the military community and are equipped to meet your unique needs as a military business owner. Connect with VetBiz, the VBOC for Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska 

3. Prepare to pivot.

A crucial step that every business should take to get ahead of potential business disruptions is developing a continuity plan, which you can do with help from your local VBOC. As a National Guard or Reserve member and business owner, it’s also important to know what resources are at your disposal if you’re ever mobilized. The SBA offers one key resource in the form of the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (MREIDL).

Through MREIDL, if an essential employee at your small business (including you) is mobilized or deployed, your business may be eligible for funding to meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses that could have been met otherwise. The maximum MREIDL loan amount is $2 million, and the amount of each loan is limited to the actual economic injury as calculated by the SBA. Learn more about MREIDL here.

Starting a small business is a journey, and the SBA offers business owners guidance and supports every step of the way. For a full list of small business resources available to National Guard and Reserve members, check out the SBA’s website. Happy business planning! 

This blog was originally written by the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD). To learn more about OVBD, visit sba.gov/ovbd.

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