If I were the Director of Franchise Development for a franchise company, and I wanted to find new franchise owners for my concept, one group of people I might want to target is the large number of war veterans that will eventually be returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Here’s why:
1. The Patriot Express Loan Program
Veterans have access to this Small Business Administration Loan program that streamlines and expedites loans for them, and their spouses, if they are eligible. The program also includes extra assistance from the SBA, and its partners, including help writing the business plan.
2. The Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran)
This program, promoted by The International Franchise Association, and The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is designed to help Veterans transition back to civilian life, and explore opportunities in franchise ownership. Over 800 franchise companies participate in the program, and they discount their franchise fees to eligible Veterans.
These two reasons are certainly good ones. It is great to know that there are real live U.S. government programs out there to assist Veterans interested in small business ownership. I have first-hand knowledge of these programs, because I have been able to provide assistance to Veterans, who have ended up using them.
There are some other reasons why a Director of Franchise Development may want to tap into this demographic.
The military is obviously very regimented. Everything is in writing. Everything is “by the book.” There is a plan for everything.
“Men and women leaving the armed forces have the leadership skills, discipline, and high-tech training to succeed in the 21st century marketplace. With veterans so strong in number, they are very attractive to franchisors. Successful franchisors have proven operating systems in place, and in turn, look for franchisees to carry them out. Because of their training and discipline, countless military veterans have found franchised businesses to be a perfect fit for their skills,” according to the folks at The Daily Franchise News Blog.
On the surface, the business model of franchising, and the skill sets that Veterans bring to the table look like the perfect match. However, not all Veterans are prepared to the take the risk that investing in one’s own business entails.
Not only is there an upfront financial risk, but producing any meaningful income during the 1st year in a start-up franchise can be tough. I always suggest that potential franchise owners have 9-12 months of household expenses put away. If that option is not a viable one, then having enough income from a working spouse to support the household expenses can work, also.
The training that our military men and women get is the best in the world. The Veterans that are returning now are well equipped to become small business/franchise owners, and some will.
The VetFran program mentioned above, has helped over 1,000 veterans invest in franchises of their own. Over 250 franchise companies have joined the VetFran program since its original inception back in 1991.
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About the Author: Joel Libava is President and Life Changer of Franchise Selection Specialists. He blogs at The Franchise King Blog.