3 Ways the Army Prepared Me for Entrepreneurship

Veterans embody the courage and commitment it takes to begin this journey of entrepreneurship.
3 Ways the Army Prepared Me for Entrepreneurship
Image credit: dangutsu | Getty Images

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
President of Richard Group LLC
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a combat platoon leader and operations officer in the U.S. Army, beyond securing villages, most of the time deployed I found myself providing aid and governance to the people of Afghanistan -- conducting civil and well water assessments, as well as building schools, medical clinics and government headquarters. I enjoyed the tangible connectivity and coordination of building, while providing a safer more secure environment for the war-torn locals. This experience combined with my love of construction and architectural design inspired me to venture out on my own as an entrepreneur.

As a business owner, I work just as hard as I did in the military, but I have the freedom to create my own opportunities and pave my own path, which allows me to dictate my priorities: family, health and employees. Here are three things I learned in the armed forces that prepared me for success as an entrepreneur:

1. Lead with a clear vision and plan.

Strong leaders have the right assets and tools in place to build trust and confidence in any situation.

Related: 5 Tips for Veterans Thinking About Starting a Business

Clients and employees in particular, need a leader with a vision and plan they can believe in. When you are the face of an organization, every action is noticed and evaluated. Employees want sound business leaders whose ethics and morals can be emulated, while providing a project that is safe, quality driven, on-time and on-budget to the customer. This is key in advancing your company from good to great.

Most importantly, strong leaders are humble enough to be realistic about the feasibility of their vision within the context of their company’s capabilities. The marking of true leadership is knowing when to walk away from projects or assignments that aren’t the best fit for your business.

2. Your team is your lifeline.

Much like in the military, your entire team is the lifeline of your business and plays a critical role in its success. Therefore, it is important to lean on your employees, invest time and money into their experience shortfalls and then empower them to use their strengths to help your company get to the next level. This shows them that they are not only respected, but also trusted partners on your path to entrepreneurship. Moreover, you’ll need this sense of camaraderie to get you through the difficult times that are sure to pop up along the journey as well as to give you candid feedback on what’s working and what needs to be fixed.

Related: Veterans Are Natural Born Entrepreneurs

3. Plan your financial future.

Mostly everyone who seriously considers starting a business has the drive, the technical experience and vision to do so.While these attributes will help a company during its growth phase, how you plan your financial future will have a major impact on how successful you will be.

It begins with a detailed start-up business plan and overhead costs for two years to serve as a cushion. Then you need to think about cash flow projections and continued revenue growth. With limited financial management experience during my time it the Army, it was clear I needed to turn to a trusted partner such as Chase for Business to help me get my business off the ground so that I could focus my attention on daily operations.

Related: Veteran Franchisees, We Salute You (Infographic)

It’s no easy feat navigating the road to entrepreneurship. But if you’re a veteran considering this path, you already embody the courage and commitment it takes to begin this journey. It may not happen overnight and certainly not without a little grit, but the end reward will be well worth it.

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors are here to help you throughout the entire process of building your franchise organization!
  1. Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Choose one of our programs that matches your needs, budget, and timeline
  3. Launch your new franchise organization
Make sure you’re covered if an employee gets injured at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business
Try a risk-free trial of Entrepreneur’s BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan for 60 days:
  • Get step-by-step guidance for writing your plan
  • Gain inspiration from 500+ sample plans
  • Utilize business and legal templates
  • And much more

Latest on Entrepreneur