Why You Should Recruit Veterans as Franchisees
Veterans understand and appreciate the ability to work hard to create their own financial success.
By Tim Davis, CFE
After seven years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, I gained an understanding of the rigor of military life and how that same discipline, training and drive can be an advantage for veterans who become franchisees. As the president of The UPS Store, a franchise operation with 4,400 locations in the United States, I’m more positive than ever that joining a nationally recognized brand, especially one that supports military servicemen and women, is a great opportunity for veterans to successfully transition into the business world.
Veterans who have had opportunities to manage and chances to practice have cut their teeth in the military environment. During my service in the Gulf War, we planned and practiced and then practiced some more. Stressful situations were not as uncomfortable since we had systematic approaches to problems. The culture in the military environment rewards initiative; success makes you more optimistic and confident. Veterans have had these experiences and are the type of driven people you want as franchisees.
Since partnering with VetFran in 2004, The UPS Store has awarded franchises to more than 150 first-time veteran franchisees through the program. VetFran offers opportunities to many individuals who would otherwise not be able to enter the franchising world without the help of the program’s initiatives. At The UPS Store, all qualifying veterans receive $10,000 off the franchise fee for a new The UPS Store location and 50 percent off the initial application fee.
Here are a few of the reasons I really appreciate working with those who have military training and why we recommend other franchising operations consider offering VetFran’s incentives to prospective franchisees:
- Discipline: Being in the military requires discipline. Being a successful franchisee requires discipline too, especially in the beginning when the work may be new and you are learning along the way. Signing up with a trusted franchise brand is the first step, as programs and training should be available to assure franchisees can be successful.
- Ability to Follow and Execute a Plan: Just like military orders, veterans understand that having a plan is the key to success. Being a franchisee comes with training, a plan and the support system to help position individuals and their teams for success.
- Appreciation for the System: Being a franchisee means you are not alone in your new business. A franchise comes with a system that will help you solve business concerns or issues. Veterans understand the benefits of being in an organization with procedures and policies, and realize how that can be helpful.
- Teamwork: A veteran knows what it is like to be part of a team; if members of the team aren’t succeeding, it affects the entire team. This is a great attribute to bring to any business. We’ve noted that when something isn’t working, veterans stop, examine the steps in the process and fix them, rather than continuing with something that isn’t functioning. They act as leaders and want to ensure the whole team is working, solving challenges and moving ahead.
- Drive: Having the ability to work harder and enjoy the results of their labor is often a reason people go into their own businesses. The ability to work hard to create financial success is something veterans understand and appreciate.
I strongly believe any franchising organization will benefit by drawing in veterans. The VetFran program is an important part of expanding The UPS Store’s growth and its ability to find the right franchisees.
Tim Davis, CFE, is president of The UPS Store. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org.
Veterans Achieve Small-Business Ownership
Johnny and Sherry Bernthold of Louisville, KY. entered the VetFran program when Johnny retired after 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy. The couple, who both served in the Navy, opened their first The UPS Store in 2004 through the VetFran program. The couple now owns five stores, one of which is located on the U.S. Army base in Fort Knox.
“Being in the military teaches you that you have to work hard for what you want. This is exactly the same equation in franchising,” said Sherry Bernthold. “In franchising, you want good people. Veterans are the people who were good enough to defend your country. They’ve proved themselves and they’ve worked hard. Someone who proved himself in the military by managing troops, operations and so on certainly has the discipline and skills necessary to run a successful franchise.”
Bernthold said she and her husband have hired several military spouses to work at their Fort Knox base store and highly endorse franchising to their employees and customers.
“We always recommend franchising. It’s something you can do for yourself.”
Wade Franklin, also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, opened his The UPS Store in the Washington, D.C. area as part of Operation Enduring Opportunity, an initiative launched by IFA to recruit and train 80,000 veterans to become franchise owners.
Franklin also credits his military training to his success as an owner of The UPS Store. “When I was in the Navy, I couldn’t tell my boss that I had a problem unless I could offer a solution. I still have that mentality and I’ve applied it to running my store,” said Franklin. “Now my customers are my boss; they’re who I have to answer to, and they’re the ones who keep me in business. I can’t let them walk out of my doors without finding them a solution to whatever issue they might be having. I think I have been successful because I know that I can’t say ‘no’ to a customer.”