Small town Main Street with storefronts, trees, and American flags.
Ninety percent of military community members have utilized military discount programs at least once. Offering a military discount can help create long-term customer relationships. — Getty Images/ 2ndLookGraphics

While Veterans Day rolls around once a year to honor those who have served in the military — encompassing roughly 18.4 million people — many don’t believe a single day is sufficient in celebrating heroes who made sacrifices for our country. As a result, some businesses have implemented additional ways to honor veterans all year long, from supporting those on their payroll to celebrating each member of the military community who walks through the door.

Discover five ways your business can show its support for veterans.

Recognize the veterans in your office

To honor veterans in the workplace, consider hosting special learning and social opportunities, such as coffee hours, a mentoring program designed to help veterans who are transitioning to civilian life, or dedicated lunch-and-learns. By hosting events and programs dedicated to veterans, those in the office can bond over their experiences and feel supported.

Over 8.8 million veterans are currently working in the civilian labor force, but many of them go unnoticed at work by intentionally concealing their military status. Before hosting any events, ensure that the veterans in your office would like to participate and receive recognition — some may prefer not to share. In this instance, consider more subtle forms of recognition, such as posting a plaque in the office or hanging a flag.

[Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Veteran Entrepreneurship]

Create care packages

Assembling care packages is a fun and interactive way to demonstrate your appreciation for the veterans in your workplace. You can personalize these packages to each individual, including anything from branded company merchandise to sweets and goodies to tickets for local events. Be sure to include a note in each package, preferably handwritten by a higher-up, such as the CEO or the employee’s supervisor, recognizing them for their service.

If a veteran in the workplace does not wish to receive a care package, host a company-wide event where employees can create care packages for veterans in your community or active service members. Through various organizations, such as Support Our Troops, employees can come together to collect, package, and ship items to those who need them.

Highlight veteran-owned businesses on social media and look for partnership opportunities that could enable your businesses to work side-by-side.

Offer year-round perks and discounts for veterans

With a military discount program, you can show your support for veterans while strengthening your brand and establishing it as a strong competitor. Of the 39 million members currently in the military community, 90% have taken advantage of a military discount at some point in their consumer history. These programs can range from a discount of a certain percentage per purchase — with many companies offering between 10–50% off — to exclusive in-store events and promotions.

Through these programs, businesses can create a strong emotional connection with their customers in the military community, as well as veteran employees, which can translate into long-term relationships with loyal customers.

Show your support for veteran-owned businesses

One of the easiest ways to show support for veterans is by patronizing veteran-owned businesses and spreading awareness through word-of-mouth and social media. By shopping at veteran-owned businesses and sharing your experience with others, you can help to boost their revenue and support their employees.

Highlight veteran-owned businesses on social media and look for partnership opportunities that could enable your businesses to work side-by-side. The U.S. Small Business Administration is a helpful resource for entrepreneurs to find and connect with certified veteran-owned businesses. The organization helps veterans make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality through opportunities for funding and contracts, training programs, business planning, and other services.

[Read more: 6 Veteran-Owned Business Directories for Small Businesses]

Initiate a thank-you note campaign

A thank-you note campaign is an effective strategy to encourage both customers and employees to share their support for veterans year-round. To establish a campaign, ask employees and customers to draft letters to share with veterans. Then, deliver the notes to veterans in your office, a place such as a local VFW Hall or senior center where veterans are present, or any letter distribution initiative for veterans, such as A Million Thanks or Operation Gratitude.

By encouraging your staff and patrons to participate, you can actively show your appreciation for the sacrifices veterans have made while inspiring others at your business to do the same.

[Read more: How This Veteran-Owned Shop Incorporated Personal Branding Into Its Business]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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