Jeremy Weber relies on team-building skills he honed during his tenure in the armed forces to run a successful mobile leather and vinyl repair franchise with Creative Colors International.
As the nation prepares to honor our brave heroes for their patriotism, bravery, service and sacrifice on Veterans Day this November, it is important to recognize the impact veterans have on the business community. There are 2.52 million businesses owned by veterans in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Veteran-owned small businesses employ more than 5 million people in the United States and generate revenue of $1.14 trillion, according to a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Veteran-owned businesses represent nearly 10 percent of all U.S. businesses.
“When you are in the military, everything has a standard operating procedure. Everything has been done before, and you just need to follow the path, which is your key to success,” said Weber. “I was looking for a franchise, so I had that playbook and an established team already in place from a franchise network to help me be successful.”
It is not uncommon for veterans to turn to franchising as a way to pursue entrepreneurship. Veterans account for seven percent of the U.S. population, but at least 14 percent of franchisees served in the military, reported FranVet, a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association designed to provide franchising information to veterans.
Military experience requires strong leadership and motivational skills. Members of the military constantly work to improve processes to accomplish their mission. Similarly, successful franchisees lead their employees to accomplish the business mission as a team. The military has extensive training and teaches unique skills used to carry out very specific tasks.
Franchising also has comprehensive training and support built into the franchise process. A veteran can enter a completely new field and be likely to succeed by following the franchisor’s proven business model and completing the training program. Executing systems and following procedures with precision is emphasized in military training and leads to success in franchising.
Franchising gave Weber the opportunity to be part of a team, which he finds essential for success when it comes to operating his Creative Colors of West Michigan franchise. “What gives me the most passion is building a team and directing them, setting boundaries and clear roadblocks and setting people up for success as a team, not as an individual,” he said. “We are here for a common objective, and as long as we are all focused on the team’s goals before the individual, then we will all succeed,” he added.
Weber joined the United States Marine Corps in 1993 directly out of high school. He primarily served as a mortarman, which is a crew server weapon system. Mortarmen rely on a team for communication, as they often cannot see their target. Weber would typically operate on the gunline or at a command center with a group of people coordinating and directing the activity on the battlefield.
Weber was stationed at Camp Pendleton and did two tours aboard the USS Essex, which was primarily in the Persian Gulf and the Western Pacific theatre of operations, before he left the military in 1997. Following his time in the military, Weber was in charge of information technology for Farmers Insurance and operated a consulting business. In 2015 he opted to pursue entrepreneurship as a franchisee for Creative Colors International Inc.
“Creative Colors was the right fit for me,” Weber said. “I think there is a sense of belonging and being part of a larger unit in franchising that is familiar to those who have served in the military. There is some individuality in being able to own your own franchise, but you are also part of something larger than that, similar to my experience in the military.”
CCI can repair, restore or replace damaged vinyl, leather, fabric or plastic goods. The Mokena, Illinois-based company’s restoration services can salvage some of the most damaged items, saving customers up to 90 percent in expenses. Franchisees with CCI operate a home-based business requiring low overhead and offering high profit potential. CCI provides intensive training for new business owners and ongoing consultation by hosting conferences and being available to solve problems on a day-to-day basis online or via telephone.