Our U.S. military veterans have paid the price for our freedom. Much of the free market that we enjoy as entrepreneurs in America is only possible due to the brave soldiers that have protected the United States over many decades and conflicts (both foreign and domestic).
Many franchisors are realizing that military veterans make fantastic franchise owners. Vets are very good at following systems, which is foundational to most franchise opportunities. As I have said many times, the franchisees that follow the franchise system the closest tend to be the most successful. This reality makes veterans a very sought-after group for many franchisors.
I have worked with many vets over the years as they searched for the perfect franchise to start and grow and identified a few ”hot buttons” that most vets consider to be important as they shop franchise opportunities.
1. “Mission” work format
Many of my veteran clients have shared with me that they prefer a work style that is mission driven rather than a static environment. This model includes mobile business models that have daily project based assignments. Many franchise models today offer mobile options including repair and maintenance businesses that travel to the customer’s home or place of business.This model is becoming more popular as technology makes mobile dispatching more efficient. Vets that have been in a structured, mission-based environment while in the military can thrive working within a franchise system that has a similar work structure.
Most veterans make life-long bonds and friendships when they serve together. Some call the people they serve with their brothers and sisters. This family environment is important on the battlefield. The downside is the loss of this support system once they leave the military. Many vets have told me that losing their military family is the hardest part of returning to civilian life. Building a strong franchise community should be an intentional effort for all franchisors, but this is especially important for those that are seeking former military franchisees. Franchise organizations are a perfect business model for community building due to that fact that everyone in the group is working together for the good of all within their brand. This becomes the common “cause” that binds the community together and focuses them on the core values of the company. Franchise organizations that embrace a true commitment to building a family culture are a good fit for vet franchisees.
The military structure is very system-driven and is great at building leaders. Franchise organizations that offer leadership opportunities for those franchise owners that have been trained in the military have enjoyed the added benefit of recruiting incredible leaders. Franchise models tend to follow specific systems that the franchisor creates to increase the success potential of the franchise community. Veterans who choose leadership roles in a franchise organization will have a natural ability to run the systems “by the book,” which is beneficial for all. True commitment to building great leaders within a franchise organization is critical for veteran franchisees. They have trained in an environment where they depend on their leaders and strive to become leaders themselves. They need to see a strong team of leaders to build trust, follow and respect. It is advisable for emerging franchise brands to invest in the leadership of the company. This should include leadership development and coaching programs. Franchise executive coaching has become more popular over the years as the industry has grown.
There are huge opportunities for franchise organizations to recruit talented veterans to join their ranks. The United States is experiencing an influx of military servicemen and women returning to civilian life and looking for their next mission. Franchisors that are successful in recruiting vet franchisees have a clear marketing plan. There are many consulting organizations that specialize in franchise recruiting that can assist in the development of strategic plans that include military leadership programs.