Veterans have edge in franchising efforts

…soldiers returning from war and retired veterans are targeted by franchisee operators for employment and by franchisors as prospective franchise buyers.

Herald Tribune
July 7, 2008

Veterans have edge in franchising efforts
Jerry Chautin

Jumping out of airplanes or searching along roadsides for improvised explosive devices in Iraq are not among the prerequisite skills for starting a small business. Yet soldiers returning from war and retired veterans are targeted by franchisee operators for employment and by franchisors as prospective franchise buyers.

In part it is because military discipline is a good match-up for "successful franchises that operate via set processes and procedures," Ethan Grefe says.

He is a spokesman for Sarasota-based Military Stars, a company that helps veterans find jobs. They host networking career expositions to help veterans meet prospective employers. Grefe says that franchises such as Snap-On Tools, Glass Doctor, Stratus Building Solutions and Domino's Pizza are regularly represented at his company's networking events.

Unlike traditional small businesses, franchises operate within a prescribed system. Success depends upon franchisees and their staff following a detailed manual and not innovating ways around the proven formula. Consequently, maverick entrepreneurs who prefer to do things their own way may not be suitable for franchising.

Chad Moutray, chief economist with the U.S. Small Business Administration's office of advocacy, says that training in self-sufficiency and organization are reasons that veterans are suitable for entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, SBA's research finds that veterans have up to an 11 percent greater chance of becoming entrepreneurs than people who were never in the armed forces.

In fact, the research says that the military experience for becoming an entrepreneur is more relevant than higher education. You can read a summary of SBA's research online at

Meanwhile, more than 300 franchisor members of the International Franchise Association are offering discounted franchise fees to veterans through the VetFran program. Additionally, PepsiCo Foundation has established a fund to provide financial grants for business development, education, training, and technical assistance of up to $10,000 to veterans who have acquired a franchise through the VetFran program.

You can learn about the IFA online at "Opportunities for Veterans" can be found at the site under the "Find your Franchise Here" button.

To blog about your specific situation and get input from other veterans and franchisees, check out

Buying a franchise does not assure success. Notably, SBA's loan failure rate for franchises is greater than for nonfranchised businesses. In 2007 franchises failed at a 9 percent rate, compared with 7 percent for its overall portfolio.

So choose a franchise on its merits and do not let discounted fees and grants dissuade you from doing impeccable research before buying.

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