For veteran business-owners, most basic assistance needs are free. Business startup, business-plan writing, basic contracting, marketing, networking, business development, growth, and similar types of help can all be found at no cost.
More detailed assistance ranges in cost from free to thousands of dollars, and the cost isn't always a qualifier of substance or quality. Services you should expect to eventually pay for might include advanced state or federal contracting assistance, on-site consulting assistance, in-depth turnaround assistance, employee background and security-clearance investigations, legal assistance and accounting.
Veterans programs continue to multiply, and a few free and low-cost programs include:
-Veterans Business Outreach Centers, http://1.usa.gov/vetcenter-SBA Office of Veterans Business Development, http://www.sba.gov/vets-Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, http://whitman.syr.edu/ebv-Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, http://whitman.syr.edu/vwise-National Center for the Veteran Institute for Procurement, nationalvip.org-Center for Veterans Enterprise, http://www.vetbiz.gov-Southwest Veterans' Business Resource Center, http://www.wherecommunitiesserveveterans.org -Inc./Joining Forces Military Entrepreneurs, http://www.inc.com/militaryentrepreneurs-Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, vamboa.org-Veterans Business Network, http://www.veteransbusinessnetwork.com-Veteran Franchises, http://www.veteranfranchises.com-Military.com, http://military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-in-business
Also, every government agency has an office specifically established to help small businesses get work with their agency. These are usually called the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization - www.osdbu.gov/members.html - or simply the Office of Small Business Programs. All have veteran-business programs; some have more robust programs than others, but they all offer valuable information and host free or inexpensive veterans-outreach events.
Louis J. Celli is CEO of the Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center. Readers can send questions for "On Point" to email@example.com.