Learn about the startup resources available for veterans who want to buy a franchise or start their own business.
For veterans just returning from active duty or even those who have been acclimated back into civilian life for some time, choosing a new career can be daunting. Starting their own business may seem like an impossible feat if they lack the training or capital to get a brand-new company up and running.
Buying a franchise business can be a great opportunity for veterans. In fact, veterans account for 14 percent of all franchisees in America. The valuable skills and aptitude attained through military service allows veterans to hit the ground running, adhere to franchisor guidelines and manage and guide employees.
Why Veterans Thrive as Franchise Owners
Veterans know how to focus and multitask without letting anything fall off track, an essential skill for running a successful business. Business leaders are the first ones in and last ones to leave, and a veteran has the discipline needed to thrive.
Any business has guidelines to be followed, but with a franchise, policies and procedures must fit within the franchisor’s model. Veterans are accustomed to following a plan.
Veterans have experience leading a team through important missions while always accounting for their safety. The strict regimen that has been imparted on them by their service is a great advantage for cultivating and leading staff.
Working Under Pressure
Franchisees are accountable to customers, employees and the franchisor, which can be stressful. High pressure situations from past military training can be helpful for veterans transitioning to a role as an effective, level-headed business owner.
Startup Resources for Veterans
There are many resources available for learning how to buy a franchise, exploring franchise information and available opportunities as well as tools to find the best fit based on skill sets and goals. Veterans also have access to multiple organizations and networking channels to help them obtain funding, business training and certifications. Veteran status is an asset to obtaining the assistance needed to make the dream of small business ownership a reality.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Entrepreneur Portal
The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal provides convenient access to federal services from a variety of sources to help guide veteran entrepreneurs along the path to business ownership. It includes step-by-step guides for verification processes required by the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization as well as helpful information on everything from starting a business and securing financing to tips for successful expansion and networking opportunities. The VA also runs the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E). Designed for disabled vets, the VR&E provides services to help veterans obtain employment. It also funds grants to help cover start-up expenses for veterans opening their own business.
Vets First Verification Program
The Vets First Verification Program provides a unique opportunity for veteran or service-disabled veteran owned businesses to compete for VA set-aside and sole source contracts. To qualify, a business must first complete a verification process. Once verified, the business will be listed in the Vets First Directory giving them the opportunity to win certain government contract processes and qualify for special financing programs.
Veterans Business Resource Center
Similar to the portal provided by the VA, the Veterans Business Resource Center is a hub that provides access to a variety of tools and resources that provide training, funding, assistance with government contracting and more. It also provides individualized consulting to help veterans achieve their dreams of business ownership.
SBA Veterans Business Outreach Centers
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers multiple programs including counseling, training and funding to provide support for veterans opening their own business. Services are offered through 15 participating organizations across the United States. Training programs like Boots to Business, IVMF – Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) and Dog Tag Inc. feature customized curriculums to teach the principals of business ownership. The SBA also offers Express Loans that feature an expedited approval process, tools like Lender Match and other programs to aid veterans with securing funding to cover a variety of business needs.
A strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association (IFA), VetFran houses a plethora of articles, reports and videos packed with franchise information as well as additional resources for veteran entrepreneurs. The site also provides assistance to match veterans with the franchise that best suits their aptitude and interests. Many businesses within the VetFran network also offer special discounts and incentives to facilitate the transition of veterans to franchise ownership.
Whether searching for tips on how to buy a franchise or starting your own business, there is no shortage of tools and resources available for entrepreneurial veterans. Franchising is a great fit for many veterans and is a mutually beneficial partnership. Veterans get the help and assistance they need to start and run their own business, and franchisors acquire a partner dedicated to furthering their business model of success. It’s a win for all parties involved.