Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in a program at Quantico Marine Base to educate Marines on the steps required to start a new business. The program, Boots to Business, is designed to assist Marines who are transitioning out of the Corps to evaluate whether entrepreneurship is right for them, and if so, to assess opportunities and write a business plan. Yesterday’s class was a 90-minute introduction to business ownership which I taught. Those Marines who want to explore business ownership further are able to take an 8-week online class which will culminate with them having written business plans.
My father served in the Marine Corps for 26 years and retired while I was in college, so Marines are near and dear to my heart. It was a privilege for me to be asked to be a part of this program. In my job as a business consultant with a Small Business Development center, I assist people daily to start or grow their businesses. I love helping people fulfill their dreams of owning a business. Since my office is located about 20 miles south of Quantico, many of my clients are veterans.
As we tell the Marines in this program, veterans make great business owners. Many of the skills, attitudes, and attributes they learned in the military are keys to success in business. These include teamwork, leadership, self-discipline, respect for rules and authority, respect for subordinates, patience, persistence, and making do with limited resources. Veterans make of 6 percent of the American population but 14 percent of business owners. Military service is a key factor in business ownership success.
Some of the Marines in yesterday’s class have already started businesses or are returning home to join family owned businesses. Others are just beginning to explore the idea of starting or buying a business. The government has provided for SBA resources partners, such as Small Business Development centers and SCORE offices, to assist them in exploring business ownership, starting a business, or growing an existing business. The Marines I met yesterday were intelligent, thoughtful, and enthusiastic. I am sure that each of them has the experience, abilities, and passions to be a successful business owner.