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Your veteran niche in a recovering economy

Let's face it, not even Midas could have turned the past couple of years into gold. But things are getting better and spending is on the rise. So how do veteran business owners stand out from the rest of the pack? Identify your company as a veteran-owned business.

There are several ways to do this depending on your industry, business model and customer base. If you are selling to the government, bold and brassy is the way to go. All federal and some state contracting agencies are rated on the amount of money they spend in certain socioeconomic categories, and veteran and/or service-disabled veteran businesses are high priorities.

For commercial sales, you might be more subtle, maybe incorporating a small picture of you in uniform, a tribute to your old unit or a themed slogan. Some examples include "Remembering our friends of the 182nd Airborne" or "This company is field-tested, Marine-tough."Treat your business as you would any mission. Field and tech manuals are your employee handbooks and operational procedures. Policy letters are your OSHA, IRS, and other state and federal compliance postings. Your operations order is your project work-flow schematic.

None of these alone will guarantee that you win that next customer, but having an edge that your competition doesn't might convince them to buy from you. Remember, your honorable service doesn't define your business, it just enhances it.

Louis J. Celli Jr. is CEO of the Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center. Readers can send questions for "On Point" to