Veterans and franchising are a perfect match. Returning service members or those veterans who are simply seeking to grow their income and take charge of their life at any point can benefit from working with a franchisor, which helps eliminate some of the risk to business ownership without sacrificing autonomy and success.
Though the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act prevents discrimination against veterans and future servicemembers in the workplace, there are still hurdles to overcome.
Many workplaces don’t understand the skills servicemembers accrue and assume that they work best in only certain fields, like aviation or government. In fact, veterans have a wide variety of skills that make them perfectly suited for success in many different career paths.
That’s part of what makes business ownership and franchising so appealing for veterans—instead of having to rely on existing structures to understand your skills and potential, you’re able to forge your own path.
In this article, we’ll be discussing why franchising is a good option for veterans, including some statistics on veteran employment and what resources exist for helping you make the jump into franchising.
Veterans May Face Difficulty When Job Hunting
October 2019 was the 14th month in a row where the veteran unemployment rate—3.2 percent—was lower than the non-veteran unemployment rate. However, that doesn’t mean that the job market is especially friendly to veterans; there are still numerous obstacles, most of them coming from a lack of understanding about the skills that veterans have.
Many non-veterans have preconceived notions about what work veterans are suited for. Veterans’ skills often include a strong sense of self-reliance, discipline, and loyalty, which may go unappreciated by corporations. Further, one crucial skill—self-promotion—is one that may not be learned in military service. This combination can lead to not just a misunderstanding of veteran skills, but also underemployment.
In fact, veterans are 34 percent more likely to be underemployed, resulting in jobs below their education and skill level. That means that, despite the lower unemployment rate, many veterans are not earning at their true potential.
This has other effects, too. Since so many first jobs come from referrals, a lack of veterans in high-ranking positions means fewer veterans are being hired because they don’t have those personal connections.
Unfortunately, even earning a degree doesn’t necessarily correlate to more job offers. In fact, data from a LinkedIn report suggests that in some industries, veterans with a degree may actually have a disadvantage in the job market.
Though veterans receive 26 percent more messages from recruiters on LinkedIn, top companies employ them at lower rates than nonveterans.
This all translates to a workforce that is woefully devoid of veterans, which in turn makes it harder for veterans to get hired without referrals. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s one that business ownership and franchising can address.
Why Veterans and Franchising are a Perfect Pair
Despite misunderstanding from the corporate world, veterans make great workers. Military service often instills a strong sense of teamwork and leadership in people, both of which make veterans wonderful workers. In fact, almost half of World War II veterans went on to own or operate a business, though that number has been declining since.
However, the number of veterans becoming franchise owners is promising. 14 percent of franchisees are veterans, but veterans represent just 8 percent of the American population.
Franchising allows veterans to escape the potential hurdles of the traditional workforce and be their own bosses. Instead of relying on the corporate world to hire you, you’re able to use your leadership skills to further your own business interests. Further, though franchising is not without risks, the guidance of a franchisor can help you avoid some of the startup pitfalls that plague new businesses.
Veterans tend to have a better understanding of the importance of routine than non-veterans, which proves invaluable in running a successful franchise. Since a franchise uses an established model, people who can follow that model and understand its importance tend to be more successful.
But being personally successful isn’t the only reason why veteran franchise opportunities are so important. Having control of your own business gives you the ability to shape how you’ll run it. With veterans running franchises, there are more people with the knowledge of military service to hire veterans. Instead of having people without intimate knowledge of veterans’ skills in charge of hiring, there are more businesses that not only understand veterans, but actually seek to hire them.
Resources for Veterans in the Job Market
Franchising is a big step, and it’s one that is not without risk. However, both the US government and many franchisors understand that veterans are uniquely suited to succeed in franchising, and there are a lot of resources out there to help connect veterans with quality franchise opportunities.
One of the biggest resources is VetFran, which helps connect franchisors with veterans and vice versa. Many franchisors, such as Transblue, offer discounts on the typical franchise fee for veterans, giving them an extra leg-up in starting their own business. VetFran has a long list of businesses that are known to work well with veterans, which is a great place to start searching for franchise opportunities.
Special financing and loans are often available for veterans, which can help cover the franchising fee or other associated costs. These financing options include loans from the Small Business Administration and Patriot Express Loans, which are specifically created for veterans and other military community members.