Are Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Recovering Faster?


While COVID continues to devastate the small business landscape, based on this week’s Alignable Pulse Poll, veterans who own small businesses appear to be making more progress towards recovery than their peers.

Conducted among 8,092 small business owners from Oct. 24-27, 2020, the latest Alignable Pulse Poll shows greater optimism, resilience and recovered revenue among the women and men who left the battlefield to embark upon the American Dream.

This is certainly welcome news as the U.S. Small Business Administration prepares to honor this courageous and diligent group during Veterans Small Business Week, which starts Nov. 2.

Why Veterans Excel

When Alignable asked veterans how they’re getting through the COVID crisis, Ted Rejman of King Ferry Bottling Co. identified a unifying theme among veterans: “There is an ingrained sense of always looking for the good to come from what may look not so good. There is a sense of never giving up, always looking forward to a better situation.”

Jerry Bowden, a disabled veteran and president of Revealio Software and Media Solutions, added, “Veteran business owners are battle-tested and accustomed to overcoming adversity and difficult circumstances. They’re trained to survive in the worst of situations. When COVID first began threatening the way we conduct business, veteran business owners started analyzing and strategizing how they were going to navigate through the changes and come out on top. Strategy plus action equals success.”

While 65% of the veterans say COVID continues to negatively affect their businesses, the survey shows veteran-owned businesses are making strides despite their challenges.

  • 75% of veteran-owned businesses will pay their rent in full and on time in November, compared to only 68% of their peers.
  • 69% of veteran-owned businesses are fully open vs. 62% of others nationally.
  • 61% of veteran-owned businesses report having cash reserves to cover at least  three months, while only 50% of other businesses have that kind of cash on hand.
  • 38% of veterans say they’ve matched or exceeded their pre-COVID monthly revenue, in contrast to 31% of other SMBs.

Inspiring, Optimistic Business Warriors

“Many business owners continue to fight hard to keep their operations going despite countless COVID issues,” said Alignable CEO and Co-Founder Eric Groves. “But amid this unparalleled struggle, it’s inspiring to see these determined,  optimistic warriors forge what appears to be a stronger path toward recovery, leading the way for their local economies.”

Another poll finding highlights the positivity that propels many veterans. When asked, “What aspect of your financial recovery gives you the most concern?” veterans were 35% more likely to answer, “Nothing, everything is good,” compared to other business owners.

That said, veterans and non-veterans alike agreed that the No. 1 concern looking ahead is that governments might enforce new SMB shutdowns due to increasing outbreaks.

While a new wave of closures would lead to yet another round of battles for small businesses, this advice from Alignable member and veteran Bryan Tuggle of The Butler Did It could help everyone maintain the right mindset.

“Adapt And Overcome”

“I constantly remind myself that, ‘You are what you think, what you think, you believe, and what you believe, you become!’ I choose success. I adapt and overcome.”

On the eve of Veterans Small Business Week, it’s important to realize that “adapt and overcome” is a lesson everyone can learn from veterans. And small business owners, as well as the general public, should not only thank veterans for their military service, but also for the leadership values they bring to our small business communities.

“It’s a patriotic act to support local businesses that are veteran-owned,” added C. J. Niehoff, president of Skills After Service, a company that prepares veterans for the civilian workforce. “Veterans typically run their businesses with honor and integrity. They’re often the best of what our society has to offer and during Veterans Small Business Week, we’re reminded to purchase goods and services from small, veteran-run businesses. They want to get things done and they want to get them done right.”

Alignable is the largest online referral network for small businesses with over 5.5 million members across North America.

Alignable established its research center in early March 2020, to track and report the impact of the Coronavirus on small businesses, and to monitor recovery efforts, informing the media, policymakers, and our members. To see past polls, go here.

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