Spotlight: Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business 

Disabled veterans are still abled people that want to be productive in society – and they can do that with the help of Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). If you're interested in starting a business as a veteran disable in service, here is the information that will lead you to becoming a successful business owner, even if it's your first business.

What Is the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business?

The SDVOSB doesn't help veterans start businesses, but it does help you beat out the competition when it comes to certain contracts. Joining the program gives your business the ability to compete for contracts, and you can still be eligible for other such programs as well.

Here are the qualifications to be part of this program -

  • Your business must be considered a small business
  • The business has to be more than half owned by a service-disabled veteran
  • Your disability must be service-connected
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    There must be at least one service-disabled veteran managing the regular business operations
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    There must be a service-disabled veteran making long-term business decisions

16 Best Small Business Ideas for Disabled Veterans

If you're a veteran, service-disabled or not, there are dozens of businesses that you can start that can reach success. If you want to start a business as a service-disabled veteran, any of these may be eligible for the assistance available from SDVOSB.

Each of them takes different amounts of money to start-up, which is something you'll want to look further into as you start to figure out which business will be best for you. Consider your pre-military experience as well as your military training when it comes to picking which business is worth your investment.

1. Fitness Trainer

Veterans spend a lot of time getting into shape. You know how to use your body and your muscles – you know how important a strong core is. Put that knowledge to use and help other people get fit and healthy.

Make sure you look into whether or not you have to have any kind of licensing where you live. A personal training business is one that you can start with little to no startup cash – you already have the knowledge. You can train people in their homes, or you can invest a little more money and open your own gym (there are gym franchises available, like Planet Fitness).

2. Self-Defense Trainer

As a veteran, you are experienced in self-defense – why not turn that experience into a business. You can teach self-defense at other business, as a contractor. You can specialize in women's self-defense trainer, or you can train anyone that needs it.

There are certifications you can go for in order to be a professional (and appear legitimate to those they might hire you) self-defense instructor.

3. Security Services

There are a lot of different branches of security you can get into. You can work event security. Concert venues and other event venues contract out their security services, so you can hiring on other people experienced with crowd control and get a few contracts around your area.

You can do personal security. You can also opt to be a security device contractor. Sell and install home and business security devices and help people feel safer.

4. Security Dog Training

Raise, train, and sell security dogs. If you worked with any K9 units in the military, or you have experience with dogs, consider starting a dog business. Security dogs come in handy in all sorts of areas – from military to personal safety.

You'll need some money to get started since you'll want to invest in purebred dogs that you'll be breeding. You'll also need a large yard and dog kennels, and plenty of patience (and lots of dog food).

5. Private Investigation

You've got being stealth down to a tee, so it makes sense to consider starting a business working as a private investigator. People hire P.I.s for all sorts of work, from looking for lost relatives to trying to find out if they have a cheating spouse.

There may be rules in your city or state as to what tactics you can use, so you should always do a little bit of research before you launch your business. You'll probably need a license of some kind to do this for a living.

6. Home Inspection

If you have a lot of knowledge about things that have to do with home care, like determining when a roof needs replacement or figuring out how old a water heater is, you could be a home inspector. This is a great startup business that takes very limited funds to launch. You'll help people ensure the homes they are buying are liveable or at least help them figure out how much they're going to have to spend to make them that way.

You need knowledge of construction to be in this line of business. You also need to find out what credentials you need. You want to protect yourself if someone roof needs replacement long before you predicted.

7. Pest Control

Everybody gets pests in their house – you can help them if you have a knack for getting rid of annoying critters. Whether you're dusting for bed bugs and relocating a raccoon family in the attic, you need some experience trapping animals.

You'll need to do more than get rid of the pests. You'll also need to make sure that you're sealing up the ways they are getting into people's houses. In many states, you'll find that you need a license to deal with wildlife in any way (meaning any raccoons, bats, or squirrels that have moved into a client's home.

8. Home Repair Services

Home repair is a lucrative business. Even with all of the DIY videos and tutorials online, there are still plenty of smart people that hire out the work they need to licensed professionals that can do the work better and in a shorter time than they can do on their own.

You need to have some kind of skills in repairing things in the home. You can have a specific niche, like HVAC work, or be a general contractor on home repair services.

9. Vehicle Repair Services

If you're at home tinkering under the hood of a vehicle, start your own vehicle repair service. You will need licensing, but if you have the credentials, you can be sure people will bring their cars to you.

If you don't have the chops to get all the credentials you need to open a shop, consider doing window repair or even tire repair and replacement. These require less money to get going as well.

10. Travel Agent

If you've spent a lot of time traveling with the military, you probably know some great places to visit all over the world. Why not start a travel business. You can launch this type of business with little to no startup funds.

State laws tend to vary on all business types, so you'll need to find out if you need a license. You'll want to do some brushing upon all the most popular tourist destinations in the world too.

11. Locksmithing

If you're good at picking locks, replacing locks, and fixing locks, locksmithing is an easy field to break into. If you're good at picking and fixing locks, you may be able to get contracts with local businesses and police departments, so you're the first one that they call when someone locks themselves out of their home or car.

People want a locksmith that isn't going to cause damage to their home or car. It's important that you get lots of practice before you launch your business.

12. Restaurant Owner

If you're an avid cook or a foodie, or if you worked as a chef while deployed, restaurant businesses can be lucrative options for first-time business owners. There are plenty of franchise restaurant options, with different startup costs. The bonus of franchise businesses is that you get a business that's already made a name for itself.

13. Retail Store Owner

Everybody shops for stuff – clothing, books, games, toys, groceries, and more. While many people shop online now, there are still lots of people that love the old-fashioned shopping experience of strolling through a store. Consider a retail franchise business.

Pick a business that fits your interests. You just have to have business ownership and managerial skills to be a good retail business owner.

14. Government Contractor

Many former military personnel go into government contract work once they retire from the military. You'll be able to continue traveling, and you'll be able to work alongside the military. It will feel like old times.

You may be distributing products or supplying services. Sometimes you might be doing both.

15. Firearms Instructor

As a military veteran, you have plenty of firearm experience. In fact, you're probably one of the best people out there to teach others how to safely use and shoot a gun. You could be a niche instructor, like helping people get their concealed weapons permits.

You could also get into gun sales. Both of these lines of work take background checks, licensing, and more. Consider your commitment before attempting to go into this line of business.

16. Journalism or Photography

The military is part of a worldly experience, and you could put that knowledge and experience into a career in journalism. Whether you were in a journalistic field in the military or not, anyone can write well with some practice and good editing skills. Write online, get a gig with a local paper, or publish a book about your travels.

You could get into photography as well. Wedding photographers make a lot of money, as do photographers that do baby photos, family photos, and senior portraits.

Tips for Starting Your Business 

Before you drop everything to launch a business venture and throw all of your hard-earned dollars at it, there are some things you'll want to do. You want to do what you can to make sure you get a quick return on your investment. Here are some of the things to do in order to launch a successful business –

  • Have a Successful Business Plan – All businesses need a business plan to get started. It's the key to starting on the path to success.
  • Save Up the Funds – Make sure you have all the money you need before you launch. You don't want to hit any snags during your launch.
  • Get Your Licensing – Don't launch your business until you have all of the proper credentials. You could actually lose your business, and you may even face fines if you launch prematurely.

Do Your Research

The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program isn't the only program set in place that might be able to help you with your business. Look into loans and grants for veterans and people on disability. If you're a female veteran, you will also be eligible for assistance geared toward women business owners.

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