Some of the most successful franchise owners in the United States are veterans. Based on the most recent U.S. Census data available, veterans own in excess of 66,000 franchises in the U.S., employing an additional 815,000 people. In addition to the knowledge gained from their military service, veterans are accustomed to distance learning and have normally participated in some online education prior to separation. With some online business courses such as online management certificates that can be completed during their transition assistance program, veterans are ready and have the skills needed to successfully run a franchise the minute they transition out of the service.
There are many reasons that running a franchise is a prime position for a veteran, including:
- Veterans have been well trained in leadership skills, problem solving and adapting to high-stress environments. All of these skills are critical in starting, developing and maintaining any kind of business and are especially helpful in franchises where leadership skills are necessary to quickly bring a business online and to a prominent place in the community.
- Veterans bring their knowledge of effective teams to the table. The military environment is one in which the mission-driven nature of the team is the complete focus of their work. Translated to a business environment, developing effective teams fits in well with the franchise needs. For franchises, quickly building a team that has the same goals and values is what guarantees that a similar product or service is offered at every location. The military operates on a similar team principle, which makes veterans ideal for franchise ownership.
- Franchises run on well-honed systems, just like the military. The reason that franchises are successful over and over again is because they replicate the same service or product with precision in multiple markets. The military operates the same way, guaranteeing the protection and freedom of American citizens. Veterans who are used to replicating the same level of effort and precision have an edge over other franchisees who don't have that mission-focused training.
- Veterans receive extensive support in the franchise market. Because of the success that veterans have had in running franchises, the franchise market is extremely welcoming to veterans and their families who want to take a leadership role. In addition, organizations such as the International Franchise Association (IFA) have started initiatives such as “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” which is focused on recruiting and training veterans into franchise ownership, offering them a stable and challenging work environment. Given their extensive leadership training, many franchises give preference to veterans who apply for a license.
America was built on small business. Nowhere in the United States are the values and paradigm more similar to military life than in a small business franchise where team building, problem solving and leadership are key characteristics. Franchise life can be very rewarding to veterans as their past successes have set the stage for their transition into the civilian work force. Veterans can play an important role in the small business economy by starting and running their own franchise. While veterans may change their military uniform for one from their successful franchise, their specialized leadership skills, drive and team-building skills provide a distinct advantage in continuing their record of success.