Choose Veteran-Owned Businesses as the Economy Normalizes
Veteran-Owned Businesses a Good Choice for Post-Covid Economic Recovery
In 2018, the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) conducted research that resulted in the finding that 95% of Americans feel overwhelmingly grateful to those who’ve served. But with the world-altering pandemic that is COVID-19, how we live, how we interact, and the choices we make as consumers has drastically shifted; that also means how we support our Veterans has also shifted. But as the economy begins to re-adjust, and we all try and return to (new) normal, making changes to where we choose to shop can be an easy way to give back to those who gave so much for the American people.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there are roughly 2.4 million Veteran-owned companies in the United States, and those companies employ an estimated 5.8 million people. The SBA also states that 45% of veterans are self-starters that own their own businesses. With a driven mindset, and the learned ability to thrive under pressure, veteran business-owners are more than prepared to stimulate and help repair our economy.
The pandemic has renewed many veterans’ honed abilities to survive and lead, encouraging some to create new or add more jobs for other veterans struggling during this time. Retired Col. Kathleen Ford and CEO of scDataCom said, “The military trains leaders to be very adaptable and find solutions as sudden crises arise… I realized early on I had to pivot quickly to deal with market changes.” And tactically pivoting is what many veteran-owned businesses are doing, opting to provide resources and services in response to the crisis; considering that the majority 17% of all veteran-owned businesses is made up of scientific and technical services, this also makes them vital in our fight to remain safe and healthy.
According to Forbes, there are a number of veteran-owned companies who’ve adapted their procedures and processes for a COVID world. Longhorn Vaccines & Diagnostics increased their production of biotechnology to accommodate for high-volume testing of the virus. The workout equipment supplier Rouge Fitness began producing masks, gowns, shields, and other medical supplies. Desert Door Distillery changed from production of drinkable alcohol to hand sanitizer for first responders. CNBC reported a number of changes made by other veteran-owned businesses. Battle Sight Technologies was already making products for military and first responders, but shifted its production to more essential items like hand sanitizer. scDataCom offered to hang security surveillance equipment outside of small businesses for free for easy monitoring during lockdown. PuroClean, with its expertise in proper bio-hazard disposal, uploaded videos explaining how to properly put on and take off PPE.
These veteran-owned businesses, and many others like them, are leading the way in adjusting their business models, while also finding ways to serve the communities most in need. And if they are thriving while others may not be, it opens the door for them to hire those who’ve been forced out of work. Not only should we support them by choosing to shop with or utilize their services, but businesses, nonprofits, and the American people can also do other things:
- Promote veteran-owned businesses! Whether that be on your social media, a sticker on your car, or a sign in your own place of business, use your platform to spread awareness and show your support of veteran businesses for others to follow suit.
- Leave reviews! Use your voice to speak up for the little guys. By word of mouth or on websites, share your personal experience and knowledge of the business with those who may be considering utilizing their services or products.
- Practice what you preach! If you’re in the position to do so, hire veterans in your place of business or choose to use vendors that are veteran-owned.
If you are curious about the local veteran-owned businesses in your community, you can visit sites like AVOSBA (with a state-by-state locator) or Veteran Owned Business Directory. You can also reach out to those in the military community and find businesses closer to home. Veterans are primed to help rebuild and improve our economy in ways we can’t even fully grasp yet. And if choosing to shop with a small, veteran-owned business over a larger chain will help get us back to some semblance of normal, why not make the change?