Tips for Veterans Considering Franchise Ownership
Franchise organizations offer unique opportunities for military veterans to tap into the skills they honed during their service. As part of the franchise development team at Office Pride, I field inquiries about franchise ownership from prospects, many of whom are veterans.
In this role, I am basically a tour guide and relationship builder for candidates. I lead them through a discovery process, asking them questions about themselves and their families, and I answer their questions about Office Pride and franchising in general. More often than not, veterans have more than half the qualities we are looking for. I know that before the conversation even begins.
I understand the value that veterans bring because I am one, in my case a veteran of the U.S. Marines. I spent 5 years on active duty in Miramar, California, as a helicopter crewman and quality assurance representative. As Sgt. Coleman, I did one tour in Afghanistan and two noncombat tours, one in South Korea and one in Japan and the Philippines.
According to the IFA’s VetFran program, 14% of U.S. franchise owners are veterans. That’s one in seven. VetFran focuses on educatiing veterans and facilitating their entry into franchising. (Office Pride is a five-star member of VetFran.)
Here are just a few of the qualities that make veterans well-qualified for franchise ownership. Veterans are leaders. They have discipline. They have team-building skills and loyalty. They know how to delegate. They understand the importance of culture. They have character.
And they have grit. When you’re a business owner, sometimes you have to put your head down and grind. But you know if you lean into the process, it will pay off. If you made it through basic training, or any military training, you have grit.
These traits, along with veterans’ ingrained appreciation for systems and processes, make them ideally suited for franchising.
A lot of people join the military because they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to serve others and work for the greater good. Franchising offers the chance to be part of something bigger – and provides support and resources so you don’t have to do it alone. At Office Pride, our mission is to make a positive impact on people’s lives. For us, it’s about more than just being a good business owner, although, of course, it is important to make a living.
Earning a regular paycheck is something many veterans worry about when they make the leap into business ownership. Service members get paid twice every month, no matter what, and uncertainty can be nerve-wracking.
Ownership is different, but I try to remind veterans that they are built for this and equipped to succeed. And to draw another parallel with the military, in a franchise system you always have people in your corner. Franchising brings with it a support system of people who will push you to be better and hold you accountable. Veterans appreciate that.
For veterans interested in exploring opportunities in franchising, I suggest starting with these resources:
- VetFran.org, the IFA program for veterans interested in franchising. In addition to training videos, articles and downloadable resources, the website features a directory of brands that discount their franchise fees for veterans. For example, Office Pride offers 25% off the franchise fee.
- Orion Talent, a recruiting firm that specializes in veterans and military personnel.
- Franchise consulting companies, which work with veterans and others to recommend franchises they might qualify for. =
- Local veterans groups, which offer support and advice.
In my work with veterans, I ask, “Do you want to own a business? Do you want to start a business through a franchise?” I believe franchising is a great fit for veterans, but it’s certainly not the only route to business success.
I encourage veterans to consider what kind of culture they want to be part of so they can find the right fit. I have been so grateful for the grace and empathy and prayers that I’ve received from my Office Pride family. It’s good for vets to know what they bring to the table, but also to know what kind of support they can count on from their organization.
Tifton Coleman is a member of the franchise development team at Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services. Founded in 1992 and based in Palm Harbor, Florida, the company has almost 150 locations in 25 states.
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