For many military veterans, adjusting to civilian life is hard. Part of the difficulty lies in finding a purpose outside of a military routine. For any veteran, starting your own business is an excellent way of taking back control of your life, as long as you approach it the right way, of course.
Consider What You Have to Offer
Everyone has something to offer the world of work, and those who have experience in the armed forces have more to offer than most other people, even if they don’t realize it. In the course of your basic training alone, you will learn a variety of skills that can easily be transferred to a regular job. For example, things like self-discipline and communication, which are integral to the work of a soldier, are qualities that employers will value in just about any industry you can think of.
Many of us feel as if we only have a very narrow range of skills to offer the world. If the life of a soldier is all you know, then it can be hard to envisage yourself doing anything different. If you have worked other jobs in your life or previously earned a formal college degree, you might want to look to these for inspiration when you’re deciding what to do next.
Remember that you don’t have to pursue a role that is directly related to your military experience. You don’t have to shy away from your experience, either, but you should consider whether there is a different way that you can employ the skills that you called on while in the armed forces.
Do You Need to Prepare First?
Depending on what you want to do and what your prior experience is like, there may be a good deal of preparatory work that you need to undertake before you can launch your own business venture. Even the simplest of businesses will require some degree of preparation on your part. If nothing else, you will need to ensure that all your admin is in place before you begin – you don’t want to start a business only to discover that you’ve incurred a bunch of fines for not doing it properly.
Many veterans leaving Canada’s armed forces are looking to take their lives in an entirely new direction. Canada offers support in a number of different ways for veterans looking to start businesses, so if there is something you have always dreamed of or even just been curious about, this could be the perfect time to make it a reality.
If there are any degrees, qualifications, or other training programs that you think you would benefit from before you start your business, you can study for these online. Studying online is a great choice for anyone who isn’t ready for the full-on student lifestyle but who wants to further their education. For example, the MBA degree is ideal for anyone starting their own business, regardless of their background. You can study an M.B.A. in Canada through a number of leading universities, and there are few other degrees that can prepare you for running a business as well.
Write a Business Plan
Every business needs to have a business plan. It seems like an obvious thing, but you might be surprised by just how often people are convinced that they don’t need a formal plan for their business. However, even if you have a very clear map in your head for how you are going to launch and grow your business, there are still a number of reasons why you should also have a proper business plan.
First and foremost, no matter how clearly you can visualize your business and your new work premises, it’s still all too easy to overlook something of vital importance. Putting your plans down in a formal document makes it easier for you to check them and identify any omissions before you launch your business in earnest.
Another important reason for putting together a business plan is that, despite its name, your business plan is not just there for when you are planning your business launch. Your business plan should be an evolving document that you regularly update and review as your circumstances change. At any given moment in time, your business plan should provide you with a roadmap for the immediate future, showing how you will achieve your most immediate and pressing goals.
If you are unable to meet the targets that you set for yourself, you can update your plans accordingly. This isn’t about labelling yourself as a success or failure depending on your ability to meet self-imposed targets. It’s about ensuring that you always have a workable plan to turn to. You don’t have to stick religiously to your business plan – it’s your business after all. But when you need some guidance or help to make an important decision, an informed and refined business plan is an invaluable tool.
Define Your Niche
No matter what kind of business you are going to be launching, you need to be able to identify and define the niche that you are going to be operating in. You need to know what niche you are going to be competing in before you will be able to accurately define your target audience. For example, let’s say that you want to start your own business selling model trains. In this case, retail would be the industry that you are going to be working in, while your niche would be model train enthusiasts.
You can then simply research the model train market, paying particular attention to data about the demographics of the niche, in order to gain insights into the audience that you will be targeting. The more you know about your niche, the more you can prepare yourself to hit the ground running.
Whether your career in the armed forces came to an end out of choice or because of circumstances beyond your control, the end of one career can lead to the birth of another. Regardless of your specific role, working in the armed forces will equip you with a host of highly-transferrable skills that will give you an advantage over other entrepreneurs. As long as you prepare properly, launching a new business should be a fulfilling experience for you.