Veterans Day has gone through several changes since politicians first introduced it. Originally known as Armistice Day, the holiday was first used as a celebration of the end of World War I. Since then, it has come to encompass all veterans of the armed forces. And then, for much of its existence the holiday was observed on a Monday, which allowed retailers to plan out three-day sales. However, it now falls on Nov. 11 regardless of which day of the week this date occurs. Although it might be more difficult for retailers to make substantial promotional and sales plans because of the annually alternating date, there is still plenty that small businesses can do to show their appreciation on Veterans Day.
Veteran entrepreneurship training
Once they finish their service, veterans overwhelming turn to starting or running their own business. According to Entrepreneur, when compared to individuals with no active-duty military experience, veterans are roughly 45 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs.
In honor of this year’s Veterans Day, the U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced its partnership with several public enterprises to launch a new training initiative geared toward helping veterans become more business savvy. Named Boots to Business: Reboot Entrepreneurship Training, the partnership plans to host more than 100 entrepreneurship training workshops over the next year aimed at introducing veterans of all ages, and their spouses, to business-ownership fundamentals such as developing a business plan and other techniques and tips for being successful.
“Military veterans represent a vast pool of talent and tested skills that makes them natural business leaders,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “This private-public partnership will make it possible for more veterans to gain the tools necessary to start their own successful businesses and create good jobs in their communities.” One of the major tools that has been difficult for civilian and veteran business owners to acquire is adequate business financing. Because of this, many lenders, including banks, the SBA, and alternative lenders, have created specialized small business loans for veterans.
Supporting the troops
Unlike Memorial Day, which honors fallen soldiers, Veterans Day is about celebrating those individuals who valiantly served their country and are still with us today. Because of the nature of this holiday, there are many ways small businesses can show their support for this cherished holiday.
Offering discounts or free items for individuals who show their military or veterans ID is a good way to demonstrate support. While providing these promotions might cost a bit extra in overhead and short-term expenses, the long-term benefits of gaining loyal customers can ultimately pay for itself several times over.
Despite usually having stellar career trajectories while serving in the armed forces, many veterans are unable to find a job. As Military Times contributor Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., noted, 70 percent of veterans say finding a job after leaving the service is their biggest challenge. Although the unemployment rate for veterans is at an all-time low, it can be difficult for these individuals to assimilate back into civilian society. While small business owners shouldn’t necessarily give special privileges to veterans, neither should they be quick to dismiss these potential hires.