Mr. Robert Addie grew up in Winchester, MA. Following high school, Robert enlisted in the Army reserve and attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he studied business. Robert left the Army Reserve in 1989 as an E-5.
Robert is both a franchisee and a corporate master (supports franchisees under him in a specific geographic area) for Action Coach – a global business coaching franchise that offers businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals personalized one-on-one mentorship.
Interviewer (Steve): Robert – thank you for speaking with me about veterans and business ownership.
Robert: You bet. I think we share a passion for a business model that has proved very successful for many but especially for veterans.
Steve: Let’s start near the beginning. When we first met, you shared a great story about family, college and the military and how they reinforced each other.
Robert: My parents were hard working, blue-collar folks. They wanted me to have more opportunities than they had. To them, this meant college. Additionally, there was a tradition of military service in our family. So . . . when I left high school, I enlisted in the Army. And in Massachusetts, that equaled zero tuition at state schools. BINGO!
Steve: You went to Basic at Ft Benning?
Robert: Yes – the barracks were called “Harmony Church” – They should have been condemned long before I got there and no longer exist. Maybe some of the older readers will remember them. I got qualified as a 11 Bravo infantry soldier, MOUNT (Military operations in urban terrain), demolition expert and motor pool (drove ambulances).
Steve: What else have you done professionally, since?
Robert: I have had a diverse career, but some type of relation to franchising is a constant. For example, I helped develop theme restaurants for a hotel group that eventually became franchises.
Steve: And Action Coach?
Robert: A longtime friend of mine started the business and offered me the United States master(!). One morning (I was living in New Zealand at the time), I came into the office and saw a pile of thermal paper 3 FEET HIGH in front of the fax. My friend had fax’d the master agreement contract and asked me to consider the purchase. My (stunned) response was “I am in New Zealand, I have a young family, were are in the middle of a move back to the USA so at this time, sadly, . . . no thank you”.
Fast forward 20 years and I was given another opportunity by Action Coach. And this time, I grabbed it and am very glad that I did.
Steve: Why does Action Coach make especially good sense for veterans?
Robert: The great thing about Action Coach is that 80-90% of what we do comes from a framework. Now EVERYBODY has to adapt to unique and changing circumstances – but veterans are uniquely well qualified to stay focused on the MISSION in the midst of adaptation. Add to that a strong aptitude for accountability . . . and you have a very good Action Coach.
Steve: Thoughts about transitioning directly from the military to franchising?
Robert: I suggest it. Easier to transition immediately – and not be distracted.
Steve: Would a former senior enlisted member be a good candidate?
Robert: Absolutely. The typical senior enlisted person today has much of the same focus on mission accomplishment, leadership, and adaptability as any officer.
Steve: How much does an Action Coach cost?
Robert: $100K plus 4-6 months living expenses. For example – if you got an SBA loan you would need $10K plus the living expenses.
Steve: The hallmark of a great franchise is the quality of the support. What kind of support can Franchisee’s expect?
Robert: 50-60% of our staff are veterans which says a lot by itself. Each one shares a passion for creating successful franchisees.
Steve: You said you are moving to be closer to your parents. How does that impact your business?
Robert: Not at all. I can move wherever I need to be as long as I have internet and airport access. It is one of the unique things about my current role at Action Coach – the portability of opportunity. Let me add – there is a HUGE demand around the world (Action Coach is in 87 countries) for business coaching and skills – and there are opportunities to move internationally within Action Coach. A strong economy fosters a high functioning society and I sincerely believe we are agents of change and improvement.
Steve: Sounds like you have a Mission! Any parting thoughts?
Robert: Franchising for veterans is an ideal path to apply leadership and execution skills to an established business – it is your clearest path to success. Learning the role of an Action Coach is no different than learning an MOS and executing on a mission. Successful veterans = successful Action Coaches!
Steve Taylor is a former naval officer and Naval Academy graduate with over 30 years experience in the Military, High Tech and Franchising industries. He may be reached at SteveTaylor@TheFranchiseConsultingCompany.com or 925-344-5981.