Successful franchises run on structured systems with procedures that help strive for operational excellence. It is no surprise franchising is a perfect match for veterans – as members of the military, they are used to following a plan of action and responding quickly. Those characteristics are important when running a franchise business in the IT industry because data breaches can happen unexpectedly requiring a swift reaction.
Another skill veterans bring to the table that many do not initially think about is an understanding of technology. While serving, they spend much of their time with some of the most advanced technology in the world. This allows them to easily adapt to new technologies and gives them a heightened awareness of tech trends.
Currently, 15 percent of CMIT Solutions’ franchisees are veterans and all of these skillsets have allowed them to run successful veteran-owned businesses.
Here are four reasons why veterans continue to excel in the tech and IT space:
1. Work Ethic
With their many years of training and service, veterans have learned to develop a strong work ethic. You can count on them to take charge of the task at hand and deliver results.
Beyond being precise and trustworthy technological advisors for their clients, they are always thinking a few steps ahead. Many times, they will try to catch and solve a problem before it even happens by spending the time embedding themselves in their clients’ businesses and paying attention to what is going on in the field of IT.
Even in the moments where they are not able to prevent a problem before it happens, they are quick to respond in a crisis. Their military training has prepared them to be ready for anything at any time, but also not rushing to react without thinking about the dilemma at hand. When it comes to helping a client dealing with, for example, a data breach, they know to take a moment and ask themselves: what’s going on?, what’s wrong? and what can I do to help?
2. Servant Leadership
Leadership is an important aspect of the training veterans go through. They learn how to delegate while also taking orders from others. This is key when working in the IT field because they are responsible for running their own business, but are simultaneously receiving requests from their clients.
At CMIT, the focus has always been on the philosophy of servant leadership by placing the clients first. Everything about the business of IT comes back to the client – you are there to help make sure their business operations do not get interrupted and their confidential data is being protected.
3. Being Decisive/Quick Thinkers
Veterans have learned to not crack under pressure. While in the military, they have to do their jobs under the most stressful environments and be able to think on their feet. It is an important characteristic to have as an IT professional and as a business owner. Even under the most stressful situations or those days where the work seems to keep piling on, veterans have the ability to remain level-headed.
Having this skill is key when clients are in a crisis and are facing a major IT issue like being hacked or their data being compromised. In moments such as these, they need to be able to make quick decisions with the facts at hand. By having the ability to remain calm in high pressure situations, it gives them a clear head to ease the clients worries while also coming up with a solution to the problem.
A crucial component of being in the military is learning how to work with others. In the many years veterans spend in service, they tend to work alongside the same team members. When it comes to the IT space and being a business owner, teamwork may look a little different, however, at the core the goals are the same.
For example, with CMIT franchisees, the teamwork happens between them and the client. In order to establish a relationship with their clients, they have to dedicate the time to listen, learn and understand them. To be able to help clients with IT issues, they need to work with clients to understand their businesses and listen to their concerns to ensure they feel supported.
Lisa Montanio is the senior franchise development manager of CMIT Solutions (CMIT), a leading provider of information technology (IT) professional services and products to small and mid-market businesses.