Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be a challenge for a lot of veterans. Fighting in wars, accomplishing life-risking missions and serving your country in a big way is a not an experience to take lightly. But how does a veteran continue to make this type of impact on his/her country and continue to use the skills they’ve built stateside? It might not be the same type of experience, but translating these skills and experiences from the military into owning a business such as a franchise could be a good option for many veterans. Like the military, franchises are stable businesses with support. Here are several reasons why owning a franchise is a good business model for former members of the military.
1. Systematic Thinking and Operations
The Military has created and built numerous systems for each branch to operate smoothly. When joining the military, everyone has to go through basic training. It doesn’t matter what level you’re entering the military or which branch. This is a required step to success in the military. Similarly, most franchises have specific training in place for its franchisees. They provide the support from the corporate offices and give you a ready-made, proven business plan. Their goal is create more locations to expand their business so they’re striving to help franchisees be successful, too. As Willie Smith, franchisee of Juice It Up and retired Marine said, “Being in the military, I like systems. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
2. Marketing and Growing Your Franchise
The support doesn’t stop at training. As a franchisee, you also have access to all of their branding and marketing assets. Corporate will also help develop marketing plans and budgets for the grand opening as well as ongoing support to market your business locally.
3. Putting Your Leadership Skills to Work
Veterans are used to working with people in all types of capacities. It might be in a calm office setting, on the battlefield completing difficult missions in loud, chaotic environments, or it may be in a training or recruiting capacity. The intense work that most veterans have gone through in the military, while working with others proves good leadership. Being able to stay calm in difficult situations and examining the overall goals and then being able to execute with specific tasks are leadership skills that many business owners have.
4. Mentoring Your Manpower
Building your ranks in the military can move a lot quicker than in civilian careers, which gives you even more leadership experience. It may be leading them through the trenches or directing them on intelligence operations. But there’s also a chance for mentorship. Mentoring other privates, officers or sergeants is another skill that veterans build while serving in the military that many civilians must wait to be able to use. These types of leadership skills are very valuable in the business world. As connecting with your employees and being able to mentor and retain them creates a positive environment for your business and your customers.
5. Selling the Service
Some former members of the military have worked in recruiting. Recruiting civilians to join a branch of the military is not easy. It can be difficult to encourage young men and women to volunteer to potentially go overseas and fight in wars. However, recruiting is also a means of selling. You’re learning sales skills that are essential to being a small business owner or franchisee. Entrepreneurs, business owners and franchisees alike must be able to sell their ideas, products and/or services to anyone.
6. Your Social Responsibility
After returning from being overseas in the military, it can especially be a hard transition. Knowing that you’re making a difference overseas and impacting small communities is a really rewarding feeling. You’re serving your country in a very unique way through other countries. Creating that feeling again may be difficult, but getting involved in your community at home is one way to feel socially responsible again. Many franchises have built programs that give back to the local community.
For example, the Joy in Childhood Foundation, formerly the Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation serves communities by helping kids—particularly those facing hunger and sickness—find joy in their daily lives. Juice It Up, a smoothie franchise in California, gets involved at local school events and from each smoothie that is sold, $1 goes to that local school. Firehouse Subs also has a foundation called Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. They’ve donated $20 million to improving life-saving capabilities of fire stations and firefighters in local communities.
7. Creating Jobs Locally
Creating jobs is another way to think about social responsibility. The military has created many jobs for communities overseas. And that’s exactly what opening a franchise does for a community. It creates jobs and careers for those around you. As a franchisee you’re directly impacting the U.S. economy in a positive way.
Better for Veterans
Owning a business is a great transition for veterans, but owning a franchise is an even better transition. Systems are in place. You have training and support. Marketing and branding is done for you. You’re able to use your leadership skills you’ve developed over the years. You’re also able to create the team you want to work with and be a team player at the same time. Getting involved in the community is easy and encouraged by many franchises. You’ve already done the hard part in the military. Owning a franchise, although a lot of work, is great for many veterans.
How StreetShares Can Help
There are many factors in maintaining and opening additional franchises. One of the most important factors is securing funding for everything from buying equipment to renovating. As small business funding experts, StreetShares is proud to work with franchisees from Dunkin’ Brands, Firehouse Subs, UPS, JDog and others with examples like replacing signage, undergoing renovation and even replacing the broken walk-in freezer on short notice. See what else veteran-owned businesses should think about when seeking financing for a business or franchise in "The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses."