It’s not always wise to give away the punchline in an article at the very beginning but for the purposes of this particular one it works. The simple truth is that you ever found yourself running a Platoon, Company or Battalion you are more than equipped to operate a fleet of franchises bringing you unprecedented business success today. For many military units they might refer to it as a Battery, Squadron or Detachment but the truth remains the same. Military units consist of a hierarchical structure designed to empower small unit leaders to make an impact for the greater mission. This requires multiple levels of command staffed with top notch personnel and leadership willing to be accountable for it all. So yes, Company Commander you can run a Subway franchise but why not 5. Yes, Battalion Commander you can run a fleet of Starbucks chains but why not add McDonald’s, Quiznos and Taco Bell to your new empire. Too often, veterans with significant leadership experience forgo the opportunity to pursue a franchise because they deem the task too small. I suppose a Subway restaurant might pale in comparison to leading a Company across the line of departure into a war zone, but don’t give up so easily. For the same reasons you view an individual franchise a “small” matter are the same reasons you are primed to turn that “small” matter into unprecedented multi-franchise success.
One Step at a Time
General Colin Powell in a speech to university students once mused about his career progression. He joined the military in 1958 and was at some point stationed in Germany as a young officer. He quipped that he was given a small section of the wall and was told don’t let anybody in and don’t let anybody out, protect your wall at all costs. Some years later in his career after a tour in Vietnam he found himself back in Europe a few ranks higher. He said he was given a slightly larger section of the border and was told don’t let anyone in and don’t let anyone out, protect your border at all costs. Many years later after an esteemed career he was again back in Europe. Now he was given the entire front, but the mission remained the same. Don’t let anyone in and don’t let anyone out, protect your front at all costs.
While the nuance and detail of the famed General’s career is slightly more complicated than that, he was remarkably able to sum it up in a simplistic manner. Guarding a small section of the wall might not seem like a spectacular duty it was the first step in a career that would soon take that young officer to the point he was in charge of the entire military as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Military veterans understand the hierarchical structure of rank and promotion along with the increased responsibilities that come with it. With that in mind, the veteran is primed to take charge of a career in franchising if they are but willing to take the first step.
Learning Through Experience
The average veteran comes to the world of franchising with a host of useful experiences and skills from day one. The ability to lead and manage others, the ability to be resilient in the face of crisis and the ability to stay the course when others would quit. What the veteran might be lacking is practical hands on experience running a business. Profit and loss sheets are most certainly going to read a little different than battle plans and a learning curve is sure to exist. Franchises offer the easiest way to gain this valuable business experience in a structured manner the veteran would likely find familiar.
Any franchise from restaurants to clothing and retail simply don’t pass of their name and reputation to anyone wishing them luck and hoping they make the best of it. For the franchise, they thrive if you succeed and if you fail you harm their brand and reputation. Consequently, the veteran concerned they might not have enough business experience to make this work would be pleasantly surprised with the amount of support they receive from the franchise. Most franchises come with a laid out business model, set of standards and much to the joy of the veteran even required uniforms for employees to wear. This structured format eases the veteran into the business world and helps ensure their first franchise is a success. However, it’s what comes next that should really excite the veteran.
From One Small Section of Wall to the Entire Front
So you’ve done it. You’ve mastered your first franchise, learned first hand from mistakes along the way and you have a predictable stream of revenue. What now? One idea might be to take that institutional knowledge you now have and use it to expand your franchise empire. Major franchises already offer veterans steep incentives and perks to get into the franchise game. When franchises realize that the veteran has already successfully operated one franchise they often jump at the opportunity to work again with a proven winner.
This can be expanding your current franchise brand to multiple stores or breaking into new chains and niches to diversity your portfolio. For many new business owners, the responsibility of managing multiple locations might seem daunting, but not for the experience veteran. The veteran is used managing multiple squads, multiple platoons and multiple companies depending on their rank and billet.
They understand how to empower and supervise small unit leaders to accomplish the task. The experience leader and veteran doesn’t try to make sure every pizza in multiple locations has the same number of pepperoni. Rather, they manage the small unit leaders and hold them accountable for their results. What works in warfare works here in managing multiple franchise locations. The benefit to the aggressive vetrepreneur a steady stream of revenue from multiple locations and a new career managing and leading others towards success.
The Time is Now
Opening a single franchise is not thinking small, rather it is taking the first step towards unprecedented success. One can consider each new franchise as a promotion of sorts in the ranks and before you know it you could easily find yourself as Colin Powell once did going from one small section of wall to being responsible for the entire European front. It takes time, due diligence and research to identify the right franchise for you. So the time to start that process is now. Examine what franchises offer perks to veterans and find the one for which you have the greatest passion. Remember, these perks are not charity towards veterans as franchisees have a vested interest in bringing on board those with prior military experiences. Your time is now and it might start small, but with a little imagination you can be a multi-franchise rockstar in no time.