10 Resolutions Veterans Should Consider Before Buying a Franchise in 2018
Happy Holidays to All Veteran Entrepreneurs Everywhere!
When putting together New Year’s resolutions for 2018, most people assess where they are now and make commitments to improve where possible. When the items on your list are personal like losing weight, stopping risky behaviors or improving your mental health you might have some reasonable control over the outcomes. If your resolution is to improve your financial future through self-employment or buying a franchise, then people, places and things beyond your current knowledge or maybe even your own understanding of your own personality may need detailed assessment and investigation.
10 resolutions a veteran should consider making before committing to buy a franchise in 2018:
- Resolve to assess whether “you” are compatible with your idea for acquisition of a franchise. Ask your family and friends what they honestly think about your personality and whether its suited for the rigors of daily operation or ownership for the franchise selected. Do they believe you can consistently manage that type of business? Will they support your decision given what think about your faults, personal history and people skills? And if your still have doubts, take a personality test to better understand how your traits might affect the success of a franchise.
- Resolve to only commit to an opportunity which will stoke your passion and will “get you out bed in morning” to face the tests of the day. Examine your strengths and weaknesses and commit to improve any general skills sets needed before you go forward with any challenge.
- Resolve to realistically examine your access to capital for a franchise before spending considerable due diligence time on the opportunity. Check out both debt and equity availability to you for the entire capitalization needed for the venture. Estimate how long it will take to get the cash available and assess how long it will last. What’s your backup to the backup for your financial plan.
- Resolve to research whether you qualify for subsidies provided by the Veterans Administration for VRE Self-Employment training benefits. Resolve to ask your potential franchisor whether they can itemize training costs that could be reimbursed to you for your franchise acquisition if you qualify.
- Resolve to read the entire Federal Disclosure Document (FDD) on any selected franchise before proceeding. Resolve to read it again and again and make notes on what you don’t understand. Resolve to talk to at least six of the franchises listed in the FDD to ask questions about locations, marketing, operations and training assistance.
- Resolve to explore the effectiveness of current technology used in the franchise and the future commitments by the franchisor to continually improve their competitive position in their select market.
- Resolve to ask for help to build a strong “mentoring team” for the beginning, middle and end of your business goal. Veterans have extraordinary access to mentors who can help you understand the requirements and nuances of your business plans. There are accountants, lawyers, franchisees, social media experts and other consultants who will commit to varying levels of upfront mentoring for Veteran entrepreneurs.
- Resolve to only develop a business relationship with a franchise consultant who will “partner” with you to help you find the best compatible opportunity. That relationship should spell out whether they will offer to compare similar opportunities even if they might not earn a fee if you select one of them. The arrangement should also spell out whether the consultant will share their financial benefits they receive from the franchisor. This is not always possible, but a Veteran should at least ask.
- Resolve to consider becoming an actual employee at one of your existing target franchise locations to get firsthand knowledge of the day-to-day operations.
- Resolve to reach out to support institutions like ACP-USA.org; SCORE (in your market), SBDC (in your market) VBOC (in your market), Patriot Bootcamp, Bunker Innovations and other Veteran focused incubators to customize your mentoring support. Check out VETToCEO and Boot to Business at EBV at Syracuse University.
Oh, and 11: Have fun and good luck in 2018!
VBS Founder and Managing Director, Jim Mingey, is a decorated Vietnam veteran raised from a proud military background. An entrepreneur for more than 35 years, Jim can relate on a personal level to the needs of the veteran small businessperson, and possesses the practical knowledge to implement his experience in today’s market. Jim participated in the EBV Program at Purdue University, has been a mentor at American Corporate Partners, developed the first approved franchise acquisition training program for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program at Veterans Administration, and was instrumental in forming the first equity fund in the United States exclusively for veteran owned small businesses and franchises. Jim and his wife, Nancy, live in Oregon City, Oregon.