With small business ownership increasing for veterans around the country, the franchising industry is no exception. One in seven franchises in the U.S. are owned by veterans, according to a study done by the International Franchise Association. And there’s a reason for its popularity among those who have served our country–the skills acquired during training and while on duty give veterans the experience they need to be successful in the franchising environment. Despite the industry, franchisors are seeing veterans achieve great results when they believe in the system, are able to lead a team and are willing to take on every new challenge thrown their way.
As every business owner knows, each day will present itself with new challenges that you cannot plan for in advance. Drew Daly, General Manager of Network Engagement & Performance of Dream Vacations, explains, “When you are in the military, you have to think fast. The same is true in owning a business or a franchise. You need to quickly come up with solutions to unanticipated problems – whether they are business or client-related.”
For the franchising model in particular, the ability to follow a system directly correlates with a franchise owner’s potential for success. Veterans are used to wearing a uniform, taking orders and learning a system before perfecting it, so following a proven business model is no problem.
“A franchise system requires franchisees to follow a process. Not only are veterans good at following one, they also understand the importance of the system and the discipline needed to follow it,” said Workout Anytime COO Mark de Gorter.
In Terry Bruns’ case, a franchisee with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK in Boise, Idaho, following systems and the training that the brand provides is what he feels his experience in the U.S. Air Force has helped him become a successful franchise owner. He explains how the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK brand has created systems that set them apart from other moving companies, which attracted him to sign on.
“I was good at sales and logistics and I’ve always enjoyed hard work, so I decided to join TWO MEN AND A TRUCK. There are a lot of things that we do as a franchise to stand out from our competitors. We systemize the way we protect the furniture, our customer service experience and how we gather information for our estimates.”
These systems allow for franchise owners to focus on the operations running smoothly, marketing to new customers and training and hiring new employees as they build out their team. They must be able to be a leader and create a positive environment around them for optimal results.
“Veterans are very well-trained and manage adversity well. They also take advantage of team building, which is important in particular for our business at Workout Anytime,” said de Gorter. The 24-hour, seven-day-a-week fitness concept with locations across the country provides members with quality fitness facilities at a low cost, while delivering a profitable and affordable business model to franchisees. The sense of community each location develops with its members aligns well with veterans’ experience of being a part of a team and supporting one another.
To be able to create that atmosphere within a franchise location among employees, a franchise owner must show leadership qualities, which veterans often are experienced in. A leader can bring together a diverse team with skills outside of their own and be able to build strong relationships with people.
Daly discusses that importance to the Dream Vacations brand, “Veterans are natural leaders and and thrive in a family atmosphere, among others. At Dream Vacations, we pride ourselves on our familial atmosphere and the support you see among franchisees is unlike any other in the industry. Our franchisees don’t view each other as competitors, but rely on each other as resources of information to help them complete the mission of building the best dream vacation for their clients.”
Although the franchisor is there to help guide franchisees to success, owners need to exhibit their own motivation to succeed. Veterans have proven to have that drive and have most likely dealt with tougher situations than running a business. The problem is, once they are done serving, veterans often do not know what comes next is for their career and their life. Becoming a franchise owner is a great next step.
“Currently more than 30% of our network are veterans or active-duty spouses – this includes franchise owners and associates. We do target veterans in our recruitment efforts, but our support for them continues once they become part of our network,” said Daly.
While different industries can benefit from the unique experiences of veterans in different ways, all franchise systems can benefit from those that buy-in to the system, know how to overcome adversity and place an emphasis on the team’s success.