Why Military Veterans Make Great Franchisees
Military training and service prepare veterans to excel in a variety of jobs after their service is complete. While many service members receive specialized training to perform specific combat and non-combat roles, the common skills and mentality military training imparts on all service members apply to many life situations, particularly the emphasis on preparedness, leadership and discipline. When deployed in a franchised business, these skills set a veteran up for success.
“Prepare” is a key word; in the military, preparedness is paramount to the success of any mission. Whether that's the mental preparation to understand the mission and its purpose or preparing the tools needed to complete the mission, the majority of military life outside an active combat zone is spent in preparation. Throughout the process of becoming a franchise owner, preparedness plays out in a variety of ways. It means doing due diligence before deciding on the franchise they want to become a part of. One needs to dig into the economics of joining a particular franchise and what their capital requirements are. Researching locations and finding the one that provides the best opportunity is all a part of the preparation process. Franchisees need to create a talent acquisition strategy that will attract the best employees for their particular business and developing their team to best carry out the business's mission. They need to prepare a marketing plan that helps them attract the right customer and continually be prepared to adapt the marketing plan to respond to changing conditions for continued success.
The discipline one learns during military service is also crucial to success and another asset to a franchisee owner. A franchisee needs to have strong self discipline. They have to be ready to get up every morning and charge into the day, execute on their plan and ensure the mission succeeds. That discipline shows itself in how well a franchisee trains and develops their staff, how they ensure their product or service meets the customers' expectations and taking care of the behind-the-scenes aspects of keeping the business running smoothly. Military veterans are conditioned to prioritize the success of the mission over their own self interest and to use their discipline to see that mission through. The success of the business has to be the top priority, even when it means putting in extra hours to make sure it happens.
Discipline also shines through in a franchisee's ability to carry out the system established by the franchisor. The cultures of different branches of the U.S. military have been developed over the course of decades or even centuries. The weapons and some of the training techniques may change over time, but the culture and the system remain consistent. If you put anyone into that system and impart on them the discipline to follow the training and the orders of their officers, they're going to succeed. Success stems from carrying out the plan and service members learn that deviating from the plan leads to problems. Similarly, if a franchised system works, someone who has the discipline to stick to the system and follow tried-and-true processes is positioned to succeed.
Another key parallel between military experience and success as a franchisee is the leadership skills our veterans learn throughout their service. They learn from a very early stage to lead people of diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, religion and language. A platoon or squad leader learns how to communicate with and lead people from different age groups and different walks of life. Those leadership skills and ability communicate a plan are vital to success in leading a franchise. A service member may lead a group of 10 or 100 other people before they turn 20 years old, so by the time they complete their service and transition into a career as a civilian, taking the lead as the entrepreneur behind a franchised business comes more naturally than it might for someone who hasn't had that same experience.
Though military experience and a civilian career differ in terms of the stakes, the skills a veteran learns through their service transition naturally to the role of a franchisee. They have these built in advantages that can give them a leg up on someone who transitions into entrepreneurship from a corporate role. Many of the top performers in a franchised system are the owners who have that military background. It's a big reason why so many franchises, including UFC GYM, actively military veterans for to join their system as a franchisee.
Jim Rowley is a co-founder of UFC GYM and a USMC Veteran.