How Do You Envision VetFran in the Program’s 30th Anniversary Year in 2021?
For the past three months, the VetFran team has been asking ourselves and our stakeholders this question almost every day. It’s a question that sparks us to think big, but also one that prompts us to define exactly what we need to do in the near future. Frankly, it’s an exciting question that makes each of us binge dream about the future.
For the past thirty years, VetFran has been the leading nonprofit in the veterans entrepreneur space. VetFran has worked to reduce the costs of entry for veterans who wish to open a franchise, specifically encouraging our member companies to give up to a 100% discount on their franchise fee to qualified service members. In total, VetFran has helped create over $1,000,000 in discounts in the franchising space for veterans.
Yet, the urgency of our 30th anniversary compels us to think bigger. In the franchising space, few organizations are so well positioned to continue to serve the veteran community. Today, we’d love to take the time to share what we see as the future of VetFran, new initiatives we’ve recently launched, and other parts of our program that we’re especially excited about.
If you haven’t visited vetfran.org in the last six months, you’ll be in for a big surprise. We’ve completely redefined our digital presence by focusing on making our resources the most accessible possible. For veterans, finding the next steps to actually purchasing their own franchise is as easy as going to the tab “For Veterans” and selecting either our opportunities portal or our resources page.
On our resources page, we’ve made finding the next steps in the process of purchasing a franchise easy. Our critically acclaimed guide to franchising, published by the International Franchise Association Foundation, helps anyone - veterans and nonveterans alike – understand the basics of the franchise industry. We’ve also pinpointed capital specifically available for veterans interested in entrepreneurship as well as specific government programs that can help veterans get a headstart in franchising. At the bottom of our resources page, we’ve also aggregated events for veterans interested in franchising - a perfect introduction or reintroduction into the franchising industry for veterans with any level of experience.
On our Opportunities Portal, veterans have the chance to browse careers at over 500 of our member companies. What’s fantastic for veterans specifically is that our Opportunities Portal can be sorted by star membership. Five Star Members have been vetted for peak profitability and offer 20% or more off of the initial franchise fee for veterans. Similarly, three star members offer a 1 5-20% discount, whereas one star members offer a 1 0-20% discount. With most franchise fees around $50,000, simply browsing VetFran’s opportunities portal can save veterans over $10,000.
Using Veteran Franchisees to Amplify Our Message
Last year, after we completed our website overall, when we reviewed our program, we recognized that while VetFran had created a vast network of resources for veterans, we could do more to amplify our message nationwide. It wasn’t enough that we were working with companies to reduce their franchising fees for veterans, we needed to put these discounts front-in-center of veterans themselves.
This led us to realize that the best communicator of our message wasn’t our member companies or even ourselves, but rather veteran franchisees who had previously taken advantage of the opportunities VetFran had worked to aggregate. Working with national partners ranging from private sector financial firms to government offices, we forged a new identity for VetFran.
Today, VetFran 2.0 has taken shape in multiple ways. For starters, we completely updated our website resources. We’ve also been working with veteran franchisees to host panels on then benefits of franchising at local VBOC offices of the SBA ,and we’ve begun coordinating a national op-ed campaign written by veteran franchisees on why franchising is the perfect fit for veterans.
Finally, VetFran has recently taken steps to expand our mission from not only veterans, but also to their families as well. Our new Caretakers Initiative is set to redefine the home care franchise space. VetFran is working with twenty of the largest home care providers who represent over 4,000 franchise locations to open a new opportunities portal for military family caregivers. We’re working to create a pipeline for employment, connecting current military caregivers individuals who already have extensive experience in the home care industry - with franchising and employment opportunities in the home care space. VetFran has long had a commitment to military veterans, and we’re excited to expand that mission to military families as well.
VetFran is working on these initiatives and so much more, but for the sake of clarity, you can find more about VetFran’s missions and goals on our website at VetFran.org. As we prepare to celebrate our 30th anniversary, our mission is as relevant as ever. There is no better time for VetFran to assert its considerable strengths, and to take our organization to the next level. We look forward to another year of high impact, veteran franchisee community building programming, and we especially look forward to celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2021.
Author: Zach Stahl