If you are a military veteran running a small business, we have some good news for you. Americans want to purchase from a veteran-owned business. It’s true.
In fact, two-thirds of the respondents in a national poll revealed that they’d be more likely to buy from a veteran-owned business, according to the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA). They trust veterans, appreciate their skills and respect their work ethic.
Now that you know most people would prefer to do business with a veteran, how do you get the message out that you are a veteran-owned business? Try implementing these three strategies.
1. List your business in veteran-specific online directory listings. You can tap into several free online business directories specifically for veteran-owned businesses. Consider listing your business in:
- BuyVeteran.com, affiliated with NaVOBA, is one of the largest directories with over 43,500 listings.
- VeteranOwnedBusiness.com, another relatively large site with nearly 10,000 listings, provides a free basic listing, but premium plans are available.
- Veterans Business Directory, a smaller site, offers a free basic, no-frills listing plus enhanced membership options.
There’s no requirement that your business be an SBA-verified veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned business. The information you provide is considered sufficient proof.
2. Display your veteran-owned status proudly. Because a free directory listing will reach only those who know of and think to consult the business directory, you need to brand your business as one that is veteran-owned.
Make sure to place a sign or placard in an obvious location on your storefront. Then you can incorporate your veteran-owned status into all of the materials used in your business, from your letterhead, business cards and print ads to your company cars and delivery vans. And don’t forget to mention your veteran-owned status in your email signatures, Facebook page and website.
While you can take a do-it-yourself approach and design these logos yourself, your NaVOBA membership includes the right to use their “Veteran-Owned Business” badge and to download the logo for use on your website, letterhead and business cards. The Veterans Business Directory also offers logos to help with your branding efforts.
3. Develop your local network. While much business is conducted online, many small business owners do their best promotional work in person. Contact your local veterans’ groups to see if they have a directory or referral network for fellow veterans.
Try offering an exclusive discount to members of these organizations. And highlight your veteran-owned status when you attend local chamber of commerce events and job fairs. Hosting veteran-to-veteran appreciation promotions where you provide special limited discounts can help you attract even more business.
Remember, most of the people in your community would prefer to do business with a veteran. But it’s up to you to make sure they can find your business.
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