Service members make business ownership a post-military career
(Family Features) After they leave the military, veterans often look to start a second career. For many, owning a business is an attractive career path because they have honed many of the skills needed to be successful entrepreneurs, such as ambition and a drive to succeed, during their time in the military.
“There are many unique qualities veterans possess that simply aren’t found anywhere else and make them a great fit for business ownership,” said Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store, Inc., and former U.S. Marine Corps captain and Gulf War Veteran.
Skills that transfer
Veterans are uniquely suited for solving pressing challenges life can present, which is part of the reason they can make successful entrepreneurs and business owners. Franchising, in particular, can be a building block for veterans’ careers as they transition from military service.
“Franchising is an opportunity where veterans can empower and be empowered, adding value to the brands they represent,” Davis said. “I have seen firsthand how the drive and discipline gained in the military can be a great advantage for veterans looking to own their own businesses and open franchises.”
Leadership. Work ethic. Discipline. These qualities are exactly what help the more than 200 veteran The UPS Store franchisees succeed.
- Working as a team: Veterans often know the success of an organization relies on every member working together to build a team, or a business, that’s greater than the sum of its parts. In the case of a franchise, the franchisee must embrace teamwork at multiple levels, not only among the employees of the local franchise location, but also with the franchise’s leadership team on a national and regional basis.
- Executing a plan: A franchise business typically provides its owners with a proven business model and ongoing support. However, executing the plan is up to the franchisee. All of the pieces are provided, but putting them together and creating a working business plan requires a degree of entrepreneurship. It’s an approach that is similar to the training veterans experience in the military.
- Acquiring new skills: Franchisees typically complete a comprehensive training program to develop the knowledge and day-to-day operational skills needed to own and operate their own businesses. The training focuses on everything from marketing and operations to human resources and staff management.
- Thriving under pressure: Veterans know things don’t always go according to plan. The military provides service members the training and discipline needed to remain calm and thrive under the most pressure-filled situations. Particularly when it comes to navigating tricky situations like disgruntled customers or employees, a level-headed approach can earn more satisfying results.
- Working hard to accomplish a goal: Business owners typically dream of self-made lives, but not all have the commitment and work ethic needed to accomplish their goals. Service members are trained to understand the requirements of a mission and work tirelessly until they achieve them.
- Accepting responsibility: Operating a business is no small job and it requires a strong sense of responsibility akin to the role service members take in their chosen fields. Business owners assume a hefty burden to ensure the business and its employees grow and thrive.
Franchising vs. Starting a Business Solo
As a participant in the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran), a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association and the Franchise Education and Research Foundation, The UPS Store, Inc., allows veterans the opportunity to fulfill their desires for second careers.
The Mission: Veteran Entrepreneurship program offers significant financial incentives – valued at nearly $300,000 – for a select group of qualified U.S. military veterans to help open their own franchise locations. In addition, the first 10 eligible veterans to submit a complete buyer’s application packet and initial application fee by Nov. 11 will be awarded $29,950 in waived franchise fees.
For entrepreneurs exploring business ownership, there are a multitude of options to consider, but one of the first is to determine whether to invest in a franchise or start their own business. There are pros and cons to each path.
One of the biggest differences between investing in a franchise and starting a business from scratch is the initial startup process. When you start your own business, everything is on you. As a new business owner, you have to develop branding elements and positioning, your product and service offerings and logistics, such as a physical store layout.
With a franchise, those elements are captured as part of the franchising fee. If you’re attracted to the idea of a proven business model to help get your business positioned to grow quickly, having the support of a franchise brand can be helpful.
In the end, your decision depends on what business ownership style best fits your personality. Starting your own business can allow you the freedom to explore any venture you want, but it comes with the risks and responsibility of being completely on your own. Investing in a franchise provides the framework within an existing business model while still enabling you to be your own boss, expressing your creative side within the structure of a proven system.
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