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How One Army Veteran Made a Smooth Career Transition to Franchising

Snap-on Tools franchisee Greg Welch puts training into action.

This story appears in the July 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Becoming a Snap-on Tools franchisee was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Greg Welch. He grew up watching his father run a successful construction company and always wanted to follow in his footsteps. The path he chose to take to that destination wasn't business school, though--it was the U.S. Army. And that led him to Iraq, where an IED left him with a traumatic brain injury and a leg held together with nine pins. But that wasn't about to stop Welch.

"The doctor said it would be difficult to walk again," he says. "Five days later, I was walking." Three weeks post-injury, he was awarded the Purple Heart. And as soon as he could go, Welch was right back in Iraq. Once his military service ended in 2007, he turned his sights back to his entrepreneurial dreams: Last May, he joined Snap-on Tools in Painesville, Ohio.

Why join the military if you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
At 18 years old you don't just jump into a business. It takes a lot of discipline--and I knew the military would teach me that discipline. My customers often comment on my professionalism, too, and that's definitely something I learned in the Army.

Why did you choose to return to duty after being injured?
I couldn't stand staying in the hospital while my buddies, my team, were still over there in Iraq. That's why I like the Snap-on franchise, too--because we all work as a big team. The corporate office and the franchisees, we all have to work together to make everything roll.

How does Snap-on work with you to make your business successful?
Before you ever buy the franchise, they have you ride along with three franchisees to make sure this is something you really want to do. Then when you do sign up, they give you lots of training, especially on how to sell, which is fantastic, since I didn't have sales experience. And for your first three weeks in business, a sales developer rides along with you to show you the ropes. It's just like the military: They do an awesome job of training you, but you've still got to go out yourself and put that training into action.

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