In a sense, my journey is not exceptional – I grew up in Central California, did well in high school, played sports, and went on to the US Naval Academy. My motivations were pretty standard for a boy in my day – I saw Star Wars, felt a kinship with Luke, and decided my best option was to move on from Tatooine (er, Fresno) and engage the ‘Evil Empire’ after graduating from The Academy.
Following my service, I made the transition from the Navy into High Tech. The saying “you can certainly do ‘OK’ working for others” applied well in my case – and I found several jobs in succession, doing OK, but not really ‘hitting it out of the ball park’, either.
During the Great Recession, and with the enthusiastic support of my family and friends, I purchased a business (floor coverings retail). It was my experience as a business owner that convinced me that a) this was a GREAT option for ‘corporate refugees’ like me and b) military experience was AWESOME preparation for business ownership.
Three years ago, I decided it was time to focus on the areas of business ownership that most appealed to me. Specifically, I found that working with business owners and potential business owners was both very rewarding and fulfilling experiences. And so, within 6 months, I sold my business and started reaching out to those interested in learning more about the benefits of business ownership.
So what? Well, my experience informs my approach, attitude, and perspective . . . and credibility. And when my clients ask questions, I want them to know the context of my answers.
What kind of questions are you asked? Well …
I am a veteran, what is so great about business ownership for me?
- YOU own the good, bad and ugly. Ultimate accountability.
- YOU can change lives – as an owner, I have never been more empowered.
- It doesn’t “feel” like “work” because I genuinely enjoy(ed) what I do. (It is for myself and my family).
- Flexibility – I choose to work when and where I want and who my clients are.
- Finally, veterans bring an unmatched ability to EXECUTE and IMPROVISE. We are used to running toward the sound of gunfire. “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” (Mike Tyson – famous philosopher and noted boxer). I don’t think most veterans understand how rare these skills are.
So why franchising and not independent ownership – aren’t you just giving away money to the franchisor?
- Peer group – There is a great group of people you can rely on to give you honest (and realistic) advice – fellow owners.
- Ability to validate the franchisor claims – prior to owning the biz!
- The cost of big systems and support is amortized.
- Replicate successes and identify root causes, again across many businesses.
Are their programs and support ($) for veterans?
- Absolutely. Some offer a cash discount as high as 50% off the initial franchise fee, others, discount royalties over a period of time. Still, others offer financing options (up to 100%).
- 97% of Franchisors think Veterans make GREAT Franchisees – so they are actively recruiting more veteran owners. https://openforopportunity.com/category/veterans/
Isn’t this just for former officers?
- Absolutely not – the only limitations are your interests and goals. Most former E-6 have more significant leadership experience than managers in the corporate world.
What do franchises cost? Or the better question is, what is the range of investments?
- At the low end, around $50K. Most franchises are in the $250-350K per unit range.
- If you are financing (and this is very common), expect to need about 15-30% down plus 6-12 months of living expenses on hand. And yes, if you are receiving retirement pay or your spouse works – that will be taken into account. (I refer my clients to an expert in business financing)
Would you do this again?
- Absolutely, although my search criteria would be different.
What is your favorite concept?
- That depends on you. What are your goals, objectives, geography?
What is your ‘value proposition’
- I save you money and time by identifying the RIGHT concepts for YOU, making introductions, and then providing the tools (and knowledge) necessary to make a high confidence decision. I ask the “hard” questions upfront, so you don’t spend your time chasing false leads. And then you will study multiple options in parallel.
What do you cost me?
- Nothing – you will never see a bill from me. I am paid by the seller when YOU decide to make an investment.
What criteria do you use when selecting new clients?
- I am looking for those interested, focused, and qualified to look at new opportunities. If you have the interest (and at least 15 minutes) I am happy to jump on call to discuss in more detail.