Entrepreneur and Veteran-Owned Business Advice from Supplier Diversity Experts

As a Veteran, your service has equipped you with exceptional skills and experiences that hold immense value in the business world. With an increasing appreciation for supplier diversity, companies are seeking to incorporate veteran-owned businesses into their corporate supply chains. To support you in effectively implementing supplier diversity within your organization, we have compiled a list of recommendations below to inspire and foster growth in this important aspect of your business. Embracing your unique background can lead to meaningful contributions to the business landscape while honoring your service and expertise.

Seek Out Supplier Diversity Certifications:

Certifications play a crucial role in accessing supplier diversity programs and opportunities. Supplier diversity experts advise veterans to pursue relevant certifications such as the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC), National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and the California Supplier Clearinghouse just to name a few.  If you are a disabled Veteran, contact the Department of General Services (DGS) for more information about their certification processes.  These certifications not only open doors to corporate partnerships but also demonstrate a commitment to excellence, further enhancing credibility in the market.

Embrace the Power of Networking:

Networking is a cornerstone of success in the business world. Engaging in networking events, both online via LinkedIn, and in-person via industry conferences and veteran-focused business associations can help establish connections with potential clients, mentors, and partners. Building a strong network can lead to valuable insights, business opportunities, and collaborations that propel your ventures forward. You’ll be surprised how many synergies appear when you begin surveying your key network contacts. 

Understand the Supplier Diversity Landscape:

To thrive in supplier diversity programs, it is important to familiarize yourself with the corporate landscape and the specific needs of potential clients. We recommend conducting thorough research on the companies you wish to partner with, understand their supplier diversity goals, and tailor your offerings to match those requirements. This understanding helps create meaningful connections and ensures that the partnership benefits both parties.

Mentorship and Capacity Building Programs:

Mentorship and capacity building programs are invaluable resources that can significantly enhance your chances of success. Transitioning from military service to entrepreneurship presents unique challenges, and having access to experienced mentors who understand the supplier diversity landscape can provide essential guidance. Mentors can offer firsthand knowledge on obtaining certifications, navigating corporate relationships, and tailoring business strategies to meet supplier diversity program requirements.

Education is Key:

Familiarize yourself and your team with the concepts of supplier diversity and small business best practices. Visit the Small Business Administration website and other reputable sources for your industry to learn as much as possible and make a list of best practices you find from those sources. Also, take some time to understand the terminology, benefits, and potential challenges associated with supplier diversity programs – attend workshops, webinars, and conferences focused on supplier diversity to gain insights and stay updated on best practices.

Showcase Your Unique Value Proposition:

To stand out in a crowded marketplace, it is important to showcase your unique value proposition. Supplier diversity experts recommend that veterans emphasize how their business offerings solve specific challenges and provide value to corporate partners. Crafting a compelling narrative that highlights your veteran-owned status and the competitive advantages you bring can set you apart in a positive light.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan 

One valuable piece of advice from a great mentor of ours was: “plan your work, work your plan, and your plan will work.” This wisdom holds true in both our professional and personal lives. It emphasizes the importance of having a well-thought-out plan, diligently executing it, constantly monitoring our progress, and being willing to adapt and adjust when necessary. By adhering to this philosophy, we can increase our chances of success and achieve our goals more effectively, making it a guiding principle for achieving success in all aspects of life.

The Diversity Advisors is Here to Help:

Veterans possess a wealth of skills and experiences that can drive success in the business world. We understand the tremendous potential veterans have in contributing to the corporate supply chain. As the business community continues to embrace supplier diversity, veterans play an essential role in driving innovation, fostering economic growth, and contributing to a more inclusive and thriving business landscape.

At The Diversity Advisors, we offer a range of services to help small diverse businesses prepare to do business with corporations, build relationships, secure contracts, and grow bottom-line revenue. Our services include business owners one-on-one and team coaching sessions with supplier diversity experts, virtual webinars on topics such as working with Fortune 500 companies, relationship building, responding to RFPs vs. RFIs, and tips to secure and keep contracts.

Implementing supplier diversity can be a transformative journey for your business, but it requires expertise and guidance. If you have questions, concerns, or need tailored advice on supplier diversity, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Diversity Advisors. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can help you navigate challenges and maximize the positive impact of supplier diversity on your business. 

Together, let’s build a more equitable and thriving business landscape. For more information and to access the expertise of our supplier diversity experts, visit our website or give us a call at 1-442-334-4357.

To learn more about building a supplier diversity ecosystem through partnering please check out this one-hour webinar made in cooperation with Hire Ground.