Four questions military veterans should consider asking
More than 5,000 veterans and military spouses have become franchise business owners in the past two years, according to the International Franchise Association. In addition, the IFA reports that about one million veterans will be returning from Iraq and Afghanistan over the next three to four years and returning to the workforce.
One brand, Maid Simple House Cleaning - the home-based cleaning franchise from Maid Brigade - asked its veteran franchisees to reveal what makes them successful franchise owners. And the four questions veterans should answer before making the move to franchising.
1. Am I a natural leader?
Running a successful business requires hard work, dedication, and superior leadership skills. Whether you manage a team of two or 20, the ability to inspire your staff, stay organized, and function well under pressure is crucial.
2. Do I like following systems and procedures?
The beauty of a franchise business is that there are proven procedures and systems already in place. Are you comfortable following the guidelines set by franchisors? Utilizing centralized resources and support? If the answer is yes, franchising might be the right fit for you.
"After my career in the military ended, I looked at franchising because I am skilled at completing tasks and following instructions," says Tai Jeffries, a former airman/soldier and owner of Maid Simple House Cleaning of Fort Wayne, Ind. "Maid Simple House Cleaning lays out the steps for success in advance - all I need to do is follow them."
3. Can I juggle different business roles?
Any business owner will tell you that running a successful operation requires wearing a lot of hats. This includes paying attention to things like finances, operations, staffing, quality assurance, customer service, and marketing. Despite support by your franchisor and fellow franchisee network, common business sense and the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities will give you a leg up on the competition.
4. Am I a people person?
Customers are the heart of any business. No matter which business or industry you're in, your customers will always by your number one priority. Ask yourself if you have what it takes to deal with customers on a regular basis - listening to their wants, needs, comments, and concerns, and giving them the respect and appreciation they deserve.
"One of the biggest reasons we are successful is because we take a hands-on approach with our customers," says Rachelle Elias, military wife and owner of Maid Simple House Cleaning of North Metro Orlando.
Numerous franchise brands are dedicated to helping veterans access special franchise opportunities through training, financial assistance, and industry support. Many offer discounts on franchise fees and other incentives to help bring military veterans into the franchise world.