Since service members began to come home from their duties overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq, there has been a consistent push to help these individuals get jobs right when they arrive. Because the veteran community has struggled to find the right professions upon returning in the past, this has not been an easy task, but more groups are contributing to boost opportunities for military members. One of the more prominent and novel today is working to get veterans involved in entrepreneurship.
Leadership skills, problem-solving, the ability to thrive under extreme duress and other common characteristics of veterans make them incredibly well-suited to business ownership. Thanks to the efforts of government agencies and advocacy groups, there has been a notable uptick in the number of veteran-owned companies across the country, and it appears as though this trend will continue to intensify as time goes on.
"One entrepreneur applied military lessons to business strategy."
Construction company success
The New York Times recently reported that one veteran-owned and operated business, Rhumbix, has incorporated lessons and strategies learned in the military into its approach to management on several levels. According to the news provider, Rhumbix is one of many enterprises to be involved in the upswing of veteran-owned businesses, as half of World War II service members ran their own companies upon returning home compared to a fraction of that in 2014.
Interestingly the source pointed out that Rhumbix has used a tool leveraged during the Arab Spring by the military to monitor service member locations to enhance construction project management – especially in the field. Because construction projects need to be so carefully tracked at every stage, having a tool that can strengthen the transparency of reports related to productivity and workforce hours can be invaluable for a firm operating in the sector.
Rhumbix's co-founder Zachary Scheel, a retired U.S. Navy civil engineer and junior officer, explained that his experiences in the military have prepared him for the challenges of the private sector.
"Veterans are comfortable operating in high-pressure environments that are changing rapidly, where they're constantly forced to make decisions with incomplete information," Scheel told The New York Times.
At the end of the day, veterans will often need access to other types of support and professional development opportunities to make the transition back into civilian life. Luckily, there are many to choose from.
Veterans can turn to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a range of their needs when trying to begin their careers as entrepreneurs, including specialized lending programs and educational materials. When looking to get support for re-acclimation purposes in the context of applying for jobs and finding the right career path, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can be invaluable to service members.
Myriad local advocacy groups and special programs are available in most states and cities across the nation as well. Veterans should not hesitate to take advantage of these resources, as such support can pay dividends when launching a new company.