The Making of an American Franchisee: Why Franchisors Should Focus on Veterans

Lynne Shelton

Franchisors looking for a laser focused method of growing their systems through choosing the right franchisees, who also have the correct cultural fit for their brand, would benefit by looking to the veteran pool of potential business owners.

Veterans have instilled in them the teamwork diversity and ethical make up that all Franchisors are looking for.

Teamwork

The United States military instills teamwork like no other institution in the world. For hours, days and weeks veterans practiced at doing life together as one unit, as one body, and as one mind. Ask any veteran about their favorite teamwork building story and you will undoubtedly also hear about the pain they received when some other member of their unit made a mistake, and the entire unit suffered. This realization ensures that franchisees will not choose to wander away from the system rules for fear that it will hurt the entire system.The predisposition to work together, follow orders and help fellow teammates are the qualities that should make Veterans a first choice among Franchisors.

While speaking at the International Franchise Expo in New York City in June, I had the privilege of having two Veteran couples on my panel while speaking to spouses about The Pros and Cons of Buying a Franchise. Both couples volunteered their time speaking to other potential franchisees, their potential future teammates, to help them make the best decision about franchising. Additionally during the discussion it was shared that both veteran couples commonly assist and communicate with fellow franchisees within their franchise system to help them and communicate best practices so both franchises become more profitable.

You see these franchisees, because they were predisposed to work together, actually do work together to help improve the entire franchise team. When speaking with a franchisor, he stated, “Yes it takes the old saying of “No Man left behind” to an all new level of understanding and towards raising franchisee profitability and unit economics when properly implemented and supported”. (Tom Tipps of Camille’s Hand-Dipped Ice Cream Bars)

Diversity

Having diversity within the franchise system allows for many things, including collecting different viewpoints, accurately depicting the franchise brand to the community, and advertising to the masses. The U.S. military also sees the advantages of diversity and has in the last few decades targeted the increase of diversity within the Armed Forces. They have specifically created “recruitment tours” towards building diversity.

According to an Army web site, the goal of the “Hispanic H2 Tour” was to “Build confidence, trust, and preference of the Army within the Hispanic community” and the “Takin’ it to the Streets Tour” was designed to accelerate recruitment in the African-American community where recruiters were particularly hard-pressed and faced with declining interest in the military as a career.

Having diversity amongst your franchisees will allow prospective franchisees the advantage of different viewpoints, and racial connections. Your consumers will obtain community and social involvement with your franchise brand through diverse franchisees.

Ethical Makeup

Altruism, the predisposition to want to make a difference, in themselves and for the communities is a natural attribute of all Veterans. In addition, the work ethics for veterans are undeniable. They are not afraid to work hard. There is no better training ground for instilling the art of following orders while staying on the same page as all others than within the military.

Many Veterans are also used to having to work to get what they want, having come from challenged home lives. Economic pressure is an undeniable motivation. Many veterans are determined to obtain what they want, no matter how hard they have to work for it.

Although they may be “plenty smart,” financial hardship drives many to view the military’s promise of money for college as their only hope to study beyond high school. Many have dubbed this the “poverty draft” in today’s volunteer military. Recruiters may not explicitly target “the poor,” but there is mounting evidence that they target those whose career options are severely limited. According to a 2007 Associated Press analysis, “nearly threefourths of [U.S. troops] killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average.”

When working-class youth make it to their local community college, they often encounter military recruiters working hard to discourage them. “You’re not going anywhere here,” recruiters say. “This place is a dead end. I can offer you more.”

Pentagon-sponsored studies — such as the RAND Corporation’s “Recruiting Youth in the College Market: Current Practices and Future Policy Options” — speak openly about college as the recruiter’s number one competitor for the youth market. These veterans have a burning desire to make more out of their life, to break through barriers, and achieve their dreams. Good franchisors want the exact same thing for their franchisees: for them to have a better life (however the franchisee defines that), to breakthrough market share barriers for the franchise system and for the franchisees to achieve their dreams while doing so.

Franchisors should laser focus their marketing efforts in alignment with recruiting U.S. Armed Forces’ Veterans while awarding franchises. The Veterans contain unquestioned work ethics, provide diversity across the system and will support and even build teamwork foundations within the franchise brand.

Lynne Shelton in a previous life was a franchisor of a large franchise system, and is currently a Senior Partner at Shelton & Power franchise law firm. Shelton & Power Attorneys have 25+ years’ of business consulting, franchise and trademark experience. Our knowledge facilitates an understanding of a large variety of businesses, services and technologies. We help businesses protect their brands through Trademark, Copyright, and Business contractual transactions. These services allow us to “Expand their Brand” through Franchising. For existing Franchisors, we provide full outsourced in house counsel.

For more information or to schedule a customized consultation for your business you can write to franchising@sheltonpower.com or call (866) 99-FRANCHISE.