Any franchisor will tell you that passion, discipline, leadership, and commitment to hard work are characteristics that define their strongest franchisees. They are also qualities found in those who have served in the military. That is why Signarama, the world’s largest full-service sign company, is so committed to providing opportunity and support for military veterans interested in owning their own Signarama franchise.
“We try to target veterans as potential franchisee candidates,” says “JT” Jim Tatem, President of Signarama. “Veterans have already demonstrated the ability to follow a system and defined structure. They are used to working hard on a specific task or mission, and they come home with strong leadership skills and an exceptional sense of working as a team. These are all attributes that make for a successful franchise owner.”
Tatem says Signarama has the utmost respect for veterans, valuing the dedication and service they have provided to their country. They know the sacrifices they’ve made and know that moving on from a military career is more complicated than simply putting on civilian clothes and finding a job.
“It’s not just a matter of providing purchasing incentives,” he says. “We also provide extensive training and ongoing support. We know that the same person who served their country will also work hard to serve their community and help local businesses to grow. In return, we are dedicated to providing them with any and all support and training they need to help them succeed.”
Tatem emphasizes that franchisees need not know anything about signs to become a Signarama franchise owner. Signarama provides an extensive training program to new franchisees at their world headquarters in West Palm Beach, and then provides ongoing in-store support as locations open. There is also a structured mentor program to help owners in their first year of business.
“Veterans are particularly able to take what they learn in training and apply it successfully in the moment,” he says. “They also benefit greatly from the franchise ‘family’ they gain when they become a Signarama owner. Those who have served our country with heroism and honor are exactly the kind of people who make excellent franchisees.”
Military Times has ranked Signarama, the world’s largest full-service sign company with nearly 900 locations in more than 50 countries, as one of the best franchises for vets. Tatem is particularly proud of this distinction and the veterans who are part of his company.
“As of May 2013, we had 56 franchise owners who are veterans,” he says proudly. “But we don’t just have veteran owners; there are former military members represented at all levels of Signarama, from our executive team all the way down to the newest franchisees who have just entered the system.”
“We have attended Recruit Military career fairs as a means to connect with transitioning veterans,” he continues, “and we worked closely with the International Franchise Association during their VetFran initiative by hosting a press conference in Washington D.C. last year. Through our website we also offer a custom discount program to help veterans open a new Signarama.”
Signarama’s VetFran program is structured to offer different discounts off their franchise fee based on the number of years veterans have spent in military service. Veterans who have served for less than 11 years receive a 10 percent discount, those who have served for 11-20 years receive a 24 percent discount and veterans who have served for 20 or more years receive a 50 percent discount.
“As tens of thousands of service men and women return from deployment in Afghanistan and Southwest Asia, we need more opportunities to ensure that veterans and their families can transition into the civilian economy,” Tatem explains. “This has been especially important during the economic recovery, in which franchise ownership can provide a more stable career than the average job market. We want veterans to have access to a business opportunity they can maintain for the rest of their lives.”
As part of the $30 billion-plus worldwide sign market, Signarama has been at the forefront of the sign industry for more than 20 years, providing cost-effective advertising and branding solutions for companies of all sizes. The franchise giant is a part of the United Franchise Group, a global leader consisting of award-winning business-to-business brands and franchise development services.
Signarama has been ranked 53rd on Franchise Direct’s Top 100 Global Franchises. This is the company’s third consecutive year on the list, which is a definitive and exclusive detailing of franchises that are performing best internationally.
Tatem hopes the number of veterans he can also call Signarama owners continues to grow each year.
“We believe our service men and women have already demonstrated passion, dedication and a depth of knowledge that brings real value to our system. That’s why we embrace the former soldiers, marines and sailors who have been part of our armed forces. We know they will be a great part of the Signarama team as well.”
Signarama expects to open 100 more locations nationwide through the end of 2014 and have more than 1,200 locations worldwide by the end of 2016.
“JT” Jim Tatum is the President of Signarama, Inc. and one of its first employees. In 1986 he ran the pilot Signarama store and was instrumental in creating and running Signarama’s franchisee training programs. He served as Director of Training and Support for 19 years before rising to the position of President.
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