From Military Mechanic to Franchise Architect
Putting my military-funded college degree and access to the U.S. Military Surplus to use, I founded an entirely new franchise concept. I went through many ups and downs, years of preparation and even experienced a failing franchise before I realized what I needed to do to be a successful franchisor – use my military resources to create a process I believed in.
Finding the Right Process
I was always attracted to the process of franchising. Seeing a designated formula for success and a method that makes sense is so important to me and to most veterans. That’s why I believe veterans do well in franchising; we’re used to a definitive process. Everything in the military is a process and no soldier deviates from it. As a franchisor, I see the differences between veterans and civilians. Civilians will question everything and at times won’t follow the plan, where veterans follow the plan just as it’s laid out.
Veterans contemplating franchising need to consider all of their options. There are so many franchises out there that there’s almost always a proper fit. First thing to do is to evaluate the people behind the franchise. Determine their business plan, goals and their motivation to seeing the franchise succeed. You’ll also want to find a business that makes sense to you, something you can easily understand and execute. Perhaps most importantly though, select a process you believe in.
I originally went into a franchise that I thought I could stand behind. However, I wasn’t seeing the returns I had hoped for and quickly noticed the absenteeism of the corporate team. That’s where I originally started what would later become my own franchise. Looking for extra revenue and having to think of new ways to profit, I started selling ice cream using liquid nitrogen.
It took me almost five years to figure out how to find the best process to create never before seen ice cream. Thanks to my military background where no matter how good you are, you quickly learn to take your time to get the job done right. Once I figured out a profitable and efficient way to execute the process, I began franchising my own brand.
Using the Military as a Resource
Most vets don’t have the capital to start a new business or buy into an existing franchise. That’s why we must be resourceful in finding funding. Luckily, the military offers many options. I used the U.S. Military Surplus as my main resource to buy the necessary equipment for my franchise.
I was so excited to combine my chemistry degree and love for ice cream to start an ice cream franchise, but I couldn’t afford a liquid nitrogen tank to experiment on my own. I found the best way to experiment with the creation process was to use the equipment found at the U.S. Military Surplus. I knew the military would help me in life but I’d never think that I’d be using the military’s equipment to operate a business!
One of the other ways the military can assist is through networking options. Finding the right business partner with the same morals and goals or highlighting veteran friendly franchises are useful tools when launching a business. The military offers you a lot of connections, networks and resources –use them!
The military gave me the patience, the understanding and the leadership abilities to become a successful franchisor and I’m forever grateful for my experience.
Jerry Hancock enlisted in the Air Force Reserve in 1985 and trained as a mechanic for the F-16 ejection seat, and in 1992 he was deployed to Alaska. While serving, he attended Brigham Young University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. After a short hiatus from the Reserves, he re-enlisted in the Air National Guard in 2003 and served as a Network Communications Specialist with a Top Secret clearance in the 151st Air Refueling Wing. While serving in the National Guard, he was deployed to Guam to assist in setting up their unit communications. Jerry founded Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream in 2004.