If you are a veteran or a service-disabled veteran and you are already running your own business, there are many reasons to consider becoming a Certified Veteran Owned Business. However, the process may seem somewhat overwhelming. There is plenty of help available if you know where to look.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has many resources for veteran owned businesses to help you get certified to qualify for benefits, as well as advice on how to start and grow your business. Detailed information can be found in the following areas
- Starting up: from writing a plan to preparing taxes
- Growing: from hiring employees to marketing
- Financing: from estimating costs to preparing for financing
- Mentoring and training
- Returning to business after active service
- Selling to the government
The Vets First Verification Program helps Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSBs) to gain priority and qualify for contracts from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The application guide explains each step to make sure the process is fully understood. The most important qualifications are:
- Proof of veteran status through a Department of Defense Form 214
- Ownership and management of at least 51 percent of the company
If the official VA certification process seems a little overwhelming, there are many large organizations willing to hire veteran owned businesses that are not certified through the VA. These corporations have their own certification process. Many accept the Department of Defense Form 214 as adequate proof.
There are several angles to take into consideration when it comes to special loans also. Among the loans available is the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL), which provides funds to eligible small businesses to help meet operating expenses that are hard to meet because essential employees may have been called to active duty in their role as a military reservist. This is a helpful loan provided by SBA, but there are still certain collateral and credit requirements.
Once you have qualified for official certification, and have access to set-aside government contracts, consider the best way to keep your cash flow stable. One option is to factor your invoices. Obtaining the cash now for invoices that the government may not pay for a month or more means you will not have to compromise your cash flow and potentially prohibit prompt payment to suppliers. Even if your business is not supplying goods or services to the government, factoring your accounts receivable is an excellent way to keep up with all your financial responsibilities. There are solutions for many different industries, with experts who can help you decide what is best for your business.