Franchise industry advocates, franchise company executives, and business publications, both online and offline, have been engaged in some serious target marketing as of late. The focus of this seemingly industry-wide lead-generation effort is on the thousands upon thousands of our military men and women who are returning from two wars.
As you’ll see, this isn’t the first time that franchising as an industry has done this. Check out the Top Franchise Trends For 2012 .
It all started in 1991, when a strategic initiative called VetFran was launched. It was led by Don Dwyer, Sr. (USAF, Ret.), Founder of The Dwyer Group, to support veterans returning from the Gulf War transition to the civilian economy.
Since then, more than 2000 military men and women have become franchise business owners, which is a pretty impressive number. But, that number is being challenged…to increase even more.
Operation Enduring Opportunity
In November of last year, First Lady Michelle Obama, as part of the White House Joining Forces Initiative, announced the Operation Enduring Opportunity campaign . This program has some pretty lofty goals; the hiring and recruiting of 75,000 veterans and 5,000 wounded warriors by the year 2014. All 825,000 franchise businesses in the U.S. have been asked to help reach this goal, which happens to be the largest franchise industry hiring and recruiting commitment ever.
A Heavy Duty Effort
I’ve never seen this many franchisors get into the (marketing to potential military veteran franchise owners) mix than I have during the past year or so. Today’s veterans have some great opportunities available, if they have the financial capabilities along with the desire to be their own franchise business owners.
Here are some examples:
TeamLogicIt: This technology-related franchise is waiving their $40k initial franchise fee for up to 10 qualified U.S. military veterans through December 31, 2012.
7-Eleven: This huge retail franchise system is offering military veterans 10% off the franchise fee – a savings of up to $35,000 – and up to 65% financing.
ValPak: This Florida-based direct mail franchise  is waiving its start-up fees, (up to $32k) for veterans that become franchisees until December of 2013.
The UPS Store: This packing and shipping franchise offers veterans a $10,000 franchise fee discount.
Maaco: This established auto body repair and painting franchise  is discounting its $40k franchisee fee 25% for all eligible military veterans
CiCi’s Pizza : They’re waiving the entire franchise fee for the first restaurant and also offer a 50 percent royalty fee reduction for the first full year in operation for all qualified, honorably discharged U.S. veterans.
Instant Imprints: This embroidery franchise  is discounting their franchise fee by $10,000 along with a 0%, 48-month loan for the balance of the fee.
Kahala Franchising : This 12-brand strong franchise company is offering a 50% discount on franchise fees for all of its brands which include Cold Stone Creamery, Blimpie, and Cereality.
CruiseOne: This home-based travel franchise has a contest going on, (until September 14th, 2012) that eligible military veterans can enter. Up to 5 winners will have their franchise fee waived. Details can be found on this website.
Snap-on Tools: This military-friendly franchise  offers a $20,000 discount on the initial franchise inventory purchase for honorably discharged veterans.
The franchises listed above are only a sampling. There are over 400 different franchisors participating in VetFran.
Today’s military veterans — especially the ones who are starting to return home from overseas — are faced with many choices, with their choice of career being top of mind. Most veterans will choose the more traditional career route; they’ll get a job. Others will focus their efforts on more entrepreneurial endeavors.
For those that do choose to explore opportunities in small business ownership, and are leaning towards franchise business ownership, they’re certainly going to feel the current push by the franchise industry to become franchisees.
Just like anyone else who’s looking into franchise ownership, they’ll need to assess their budget, and do their homework on the opportunities they’re interested in.
Our military men and women are used to being pushed. They can handle it.
Military  Photo via Shutterstock