Franchising for Veterans

Veterans leave the military armed with many valuable professional skills, from people management, to working effectively under pressure, to dealing with rapidly changing situations—they’ve done it all.

Since 2013, the Army has been working to reduce more than 80,000 active-duty troops over the span of five years. As the military continues to downsize, the number of unemployed veterans is on the rise. Now that more veterans are on the hunt for job opportunities, they must consider what careers would best align with the skills they’ve developed during their service. Veterans could leverage these skills in a number of different industries, but franchising—an opportunity that allows veterans to rapidly grow their own business— is a business endeavor that is particularly well-suited for them. Here’s why:

A Familiar Structure and Commitment

Franchises offer veterans the structure and commitment that they’ve grown accustomed to in the military. Emotionally, franchise owners have a strong sense of loyalty to their brand and to their fellow franchisees. There’s also a sense of comradery among franchisees, as they understand the importance of creating and maintaining relationships. While the day-to-day role of a franchisee and veterans are incomparable, the mindset of joining something bigger than oneself, feeling a sense of belonging, and being part of a team, ties the two together.
The business model of a franchise also mirrors that of the military. Because of the immense amount of training and time spent in the field, military personnel understand the value of a regulated system.
Likewise, having to simultaneously operate independently and report to someone else (i.e. the franchisor) is a nonissue for a veteran, as it’s a key component of the military culture. Veterans also don’t see authority as a threat but as a resource, which is a critical part of running a successful business. The ability to make decisions and execute on them, while following the example of those who’ve done it before makes veterans great potential franchisee candidates.

Financial Incentives and Economic Stability

Franchises offer a number of financial benefits specifically designed for veterans. For example, the VetFran Program (sponsored by the International Franchise Association IFA) includes more than 500 franchise systems that offer financial incentives to veterans who want to own small businesses. Unlike the standard investor, veterans receive a discount on initial fees and special financing options.
A veteran should have no problem finding a franchise opportunity that interests him or her, as the opportunities range from owning your own restaurant chain to environmental service company. VetFran has helped more than 6,300 veterans to create and run their own businesses.
On another financial note, a veteran’s pension allows them the freedom to become a franchise investor. Because they have a paycheck coming in every month, it helps to offset living expenses,
and the opportunity to explore a new business venture. This isn’t to say that a veteran couldn’t start their own business from the ground-up, but with the amount of resources franchises offer veterans (discounting rates, proven business model, and professional guidance) there’s no reason not to explore the opportunity.

Leadership Capabilities

Because of their vast leadership experience in the military, veterans are natural entrepreneurs. When running a business and working with others, it’s critical to have experience mentoring, training, and motivating your employees. Veterans know how to lead a team toward success by setting clear goals, prioritizing collaboration, and rewarding good performance.
Veterans are also skilled at handling adversity and staying positive during challenging times. Although the franchisor equips their franchisees with the necessary tools for success, they can’t protect them from the highs and lows of the market.
A business’s first year, in particular, can be emotional roller coaster for new entrepreneurs. One day starting a franchise can seem like the best decision they’ve ever made, and the next it seems like the worst. But veterans (who have experienced high risk situations) know how to stay focused and positive, keeping the bigger picture in mind.

On a management level, veterans make great franchisees because they have worked with many different people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and experience levels. The military has given veterans an opportunity to be fully exposed to diversity, so they understand how to communicate effectively with nearly everyone they meet. This is a highly valuable skill to have because a large contributor of your success as a franchise owner is dependent on your employee’s career development.
For most veterans, the thought of reentering the workforce unexpectedly and finding a job they actually like seems unlikely, but franchising is a viable, exciting option. And while franchising is by no means comparable to the experiences a veteran had during their time in the military, it offers a type of creative outlet for those who are ready to start a new chapter of their lives and put their entrepreneurial skills to the test.

Brandon Moxam joined U.S. Lawns as Director of Franchise Recruiting in 2007 and is now Director of Brand Development. He has been instrumental in the U.S. Lawns branding development
since 2012. He manages the franchise recruiting department at U.S. Lawns and works closely with potential new franchisees to fully educate them on our U.S. Lawns systems and processes that are in place to guide them to build a successful business. In addition, Brandon is a Certified Franchise Executive and is active within the International Franchise Association.

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