By Chris Mandia
Posted in Articles
Finding a civilian job after you’ve served is often tough, but actually starting your own business can be an especially intimidating task. Luckily, there’s a solution that can reduce the financial risk and increase the opportunity for success: Franchising. If you are willing to work long hours, can follow a system, afford to buy and operate a business, are eager to manage people and are passionate about achieving success, a veteran-friendly franchise is a great choice.
It’s been said to be a good leader, one must be a good follower. This adage rings especially true when in regards to the military and its service-members. As a young Marine, I learned the principles of leadership and management from my senior non-commissioned officers. Observing habits, memorizing routines–along with many hours of study via USMC handbooks, I eventually understood what it took to be a leader.
When it was my time to step up, quarterback the troops, I followed a script written by the Marines ages ago. And my experience is not at all unique–millions of service-persons before and after me have been imbued with these endemic qualities of leadership and management. For many in their post-military career, these characteristics are something they’d like to capitalize on. For these people, helming their own business can be an especially satisfying career move.
In addition to numerous web-based resources available to veterans seeking information regarding business ownership, the Small Business Administration operates www.sba.org. There, you’ll be able to find everything you need to know about owning and operating a small business or franchise.
From getting that first loan, to organizing a payroll, to establishing a health care program for your employees, the SBA provides an invaluable service to entrepreneurs. Recently, the Small Business Administration has announced the SBA’s Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative.
Those eligible for the Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative include veterans, service-disabled veterans, active-duty service members in the Transition Assistance Program, reservists and National Guard members and widowed spouses of the aforementioned groups.
Including covering start-up cost, the Patriot Express loan covers equipment purchases, inventory, infusion of working capital and a host of other essential expenditures required for operating a small business. Loan interest rates vary from 2.25 percent to 4.75 percent over prime, featuring some of the SBA’s lowest interest rates for business loans.
Below, you’ll find several top-rated veteran friendly franchises according to the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program. Many provide military discounts and incentives for prospective franchisees.
Ultimately, staring your own business, be it a franchise or an independent venture, takes hard work and lots of determination. Fortunately for active-duty service members and veterans, the Small Business Administration and the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program are there to assist you in achieving the success you seek.