Eight Questions for Veterans to Ask About Franchising

Tim Mackin.jpgAfter careers spent serving their country, veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces can be at a loss looking for a career beyond the military. Opportunities exist in the franchise industry, but there are questions that need to be asked to determine if a franchisor is the best fit for you.

How do they treat veterans?

You’ve found what looks like a good business opportunity, but as a veteran entering the business world, it’s important to find an organization that truly values those who serve. How does the franchise treat veterans? Does the corporate leadership of the franchise recognize service? Is there a franchise fee discount?

Does their leadership walk the talk?

Does the franchise leadership believe in what they stand for? More importantly, do they put their words into action? The leaders have to walk the talk. They need to understand their industry and be committed to the greater good for their franchise partners and customers. You need to look for corporate leaders who are supportive and will be there every time you need them.

What is their culture?

What is the corporate culture of the franchise? What are the values of the leadership? Getting a new franchise business up to speed isn’t easy. It will take up much of your time and finding out after the fact that you’ve locked yourself into a toxic corporate culture is a recipe for burnout and failure. Be patient and find a franchise with corporate values that are compatible with your own. In my own case, it was the deeply ingrained culture of care at FirstLight Home Care that made me decide to invest.

What does Google say?

When looking for a franchise opportunity, there are three very important words to remember: Research, research, and, research. The internet should be the first stop for informing yourself about the reputation and financial well-being of a franchise. Do your homework. Start out by avoiding the sales pitches and reading up on franchises at the Small Business Administration and Federal Trade Commission websites.

Does the corporate leadership communicate well?

Effective leaders are effective communicators. It’s a principle just as valid in the business world as the military. Are there clear lines of communication with the franchise leadership? Are they engaged and proactive? Do they answer all your questions?

When I was researching business opportunities, the executive director of franchise development for FirstLight Home Care took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions and walk me through its policies and procedures. The other franchisors didn’t do that. They weren’t really forthcoming enough to help me make a good business decision.

Do they have discovery days?

When it comes to learning about a franchise, face time with the leadership is invaluable. Attending a franchise discovery day will give you a chance to get to know the people in charge of a franchise and experience the culture of the business firsthand.

When I entered the franchise industry, it was a discovery day that was the game-changer for me. It made me feel comfortable with investing in a FirstLight Home Care opportunity. Getting to know the leadership of my franchise was the driving factor of my decision-making process. I also met the leadership of two other home care franchises during their discovery days but did not have the same comfort level with them.

Are veterans part of their client base?

As a veteran, it’s important to support other veterans. It’s good to look for a franchise that serves veterans as part of its client base. If you can make a living while making a difference in the lives of your brother and sister veterans, you’ll be succeeding at much more than business.

Are franchise businesses a good choice for veterans?

The answer to that question is yes – if you find the right franchise opportunity. The skills you learn in the military are beneficial when it comes to running your own business. Understanding logistics and being used to working with people of very diverse backgrounds makes it easy to transition into the ownership of a company.  I see a franchise as a good investment. If you follow the business model and business plan, you will succeed.

The bottom line

Veterans should know there are good opportunities in the franchise industry to be the owners of their own businesses. Don’t allow yourselves to get caught up by the belief that you don’t have all  the needed experience to succeed. Business is not brain surgery or rocket science. You have all the skills you need to accomplish anything you want to do. With a successful franchise system as blueprint for your business, the sky is the limit.

Tim Mackin is the owner of FirstLight Home Care, York. The FirstLight network is an award-winning provider of non-medical home care, providing more than 85,000 hours of service each week and caring for clients right where they live.