After You Serve: Using Military Skills for Franchising Success

At the end of their service, veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces face the prospect of reentering the private sector. It might seem challenging at first, but the skills gained during a military career can serve veterans well in the business world.

Opportunities for Success

First and foremost, separating from the military means a new chapter in your life. Don’t be held back by not having the corporate America experiences that you have missed out on by giving yourself to service. The majority of the skills you learned translate into the civilian sector, which gives you opportunities for business success.

The strengths instilled in you by a military career will serve you well in the business world. You learned perseverance, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. You learned teamwork and collaboration. There is a strong sense of accountability and responsibility in each member that serves.

The Importance of Flexibility

Another important skill is flexibility. Service members are very flexible and resourceful to meet changing requirements. You have to be able to shift gears quickly and be able to respond to changing circumstances. When you are in the military and are given a specific task, five minutes later the order might get rescinded, and you’re given a new task to bring to resolution.

Prior to purchasing a franchise, I was the manager of a contact center for a fleet leasing company. In that role, flexibility was the key because a weather event that happens in one part of the Unites States could dramatically change the outcome of your calls for that day. Success required being able to adapt to change quickly.

Benefits of Franchise Ownership

There are several benefits that owning a franchise can offer to veterans. The first is a lowered barrier to entry. Some networks offer veterans a substantial discount to the franchise fee. Successful franchise systems also offer better brand recognition and market reach than standalone businesses.

The best franchisors give their franchise owners a leg-up by offering thoroughly tested administrative and support processes, providing back-office systems for dealing with everything from human resources to finance, sales to marketing. Instead of having to reinvent those systems on their own, a new franchise owner has access to what is basically a turnkey business.

Success in a franchise involves being able to invest personally in the systems offered by the franchisor. You have to be able to trust the system, which is something that translates from what you see in the military as well. When you are provided a mission, you have to trust that the systems put in place to support that mission are going to get you to your end result. In a franchise world that means to be profitable. If you don’t have structure in your daily operations, franchises are going to be a little more difficult for you to be successful in.

Do Your Homework

When you separate from the military, do your homework and research the businesses that most interests you. Ask a lot of questions. When I was doing my due diligence, as I came across franchises that were intriguing to me, I reached out to those franchises for additional dialogue. I wanted to find out in my initial conversation about their leadership structure, their educational background, their experiences, and how they could make me more successful.

The more support and resources at the disposal of a service member who is ending their service, the better they can make good decisions about their career path or the next chapter of their life. Talk to people at local chambers of commerce. Take full advantage of free community resources for small business owners.

Summing it Up

Veterans need to understand that the skills they earned during a military career can offer them a path to success in the civilian business world. Don’t be intimidated. You’ve already faced many other challenges and overcome them. Starting a business career is just another challenge that you are capable of overcoming. Owning a franchise can also give you a head-start on achieving that success. Work hard. Do your homework. Succeed.

Tim Mackin retired from the US Army after 20 years of service as a highly decorated First Sergeant (aka ‘Top’), leading, guiding and mentoring more than 250 service men and women responsible for equipment maintenance and the readiness of heavy combat units (Armor and Infantry soldiers) in Texas, Kentucky, Maryland, Germany and Kuwait. He is currently the owner of FirstLight Home Care of Greater York, and Lancaster, PA. FirstLight Home Care is a top-rated non-medical home care provider with a network of offices that provides more than 100,000 hours per week in care for more than 4,800 clients in over 34 states.

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