A key element of growing and expanding any franchise brand starts with recruitment. And the right recruitment is about attracting top-quality individuals who are a right fit and have a burning desire to climb in and learn your franchise system. These must be individuals who want to build a business to accomplish their own personal missions and goals. Many veterans fit this description. If military personnel are right for your model, you should consider the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program.
Data points to consider
- One million men and women in all branches of the military will transition out of the Armed Forces during the next five years.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be “1099 workers” — those who receive nonemployee compensation such as independent contractors — by 2020. More people, including our military veterans, will have to consider and explore self-employment. It’s part of the new economy.
- 45 percent of transitioning veterans are serious about being their own bosses.
- 1 percent of the U.S. adult population wears a military uniform today.
- 6 percent of the U.S. population has worn the uniform and are still eligible for programs.
- According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 14 percent of business owners are veterans representing more than 2.5 million existing businesses.
- The SBA reports that the No. 1 common trait for successful veteran-owned businesses is “military training and experience.” Leadership, management, resourcefulness, teamwork, patience, critical thinking, following a system, doing what it takes to accomplish a goal and mission are all transferable skills and keys to success as a business owner.
- The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2012 is a program to assist transitioning veterans to establish a career track after military service. Entrepreneurship is one of the tracks (education and jobs are the other two). The entrepreneurship education program is called Boots to Business, administered by SBA at all transition service offices nationwide, creating potential franchise candidates with a solid start in understanding principles of business ownership.
Why is VetFran important to veteran-franchisee recruitment?
Participating in VetFran to add veteran recruitment to your development efforts might make sense. Here’s why:
- Offers access to best practices: the VetFran community of franchise brands and leaders is regularly communicating about what is working and what is not working with veteran recruitment.
- Saves time and money: The complexity of the federal government can be overwhelming. The SBA, Department of Defense and Department of Labor are just a few federal agencies that assist veterans but there are many others. Where do you start? VetFran. It makes things simple. By participating in VetFran and staying plugged in, you’ll learn the places to go, the events to participate in, the right contacts, and more. And it’s important to realize that the right “recipe” for veteran recruitment is not “one-size-fits-all.” Each franchise brand has to get involved to learn which programs and resources are right for their company. VetFran is where that journey should start and can guide you all along the way.
- Qualified group of potential candidates. As noted earlier, every brand wants to find candidates who have the best chance of becoming peak-performing franchisees. For many brands, veterans are a great fit. VetFran can help you connect with them.
How to measure your ROI
In today’s franchise environment, owners are appropriately challenging development leaders to show that each dollar being invested is delivering a return on investment. VetFran efforts and investment are not exempt and shouldn’t be. How can you measure your efforts and include in your reports to CEOs, boards, and brand ownership? Here are some ideas:
Total investment to signed franchise agreement. This is the metric. No development team or leader gets points or rewards simply for lead generation. The objective is the recruitment of new franchisees. If your total investment to a signed franchised agreement with veteran recruitment is lower than other channels, you may want to consider increasing it. If higher, then discuss why and maybe the veterans channel is not right for your brand. If you’re not clear and want to understand this further, contact the author of this article.
Compare performance data. Create two buckets for new franchisees over the past 36 months. One bucket is for the veteran franchisees and the other is for the non-veteran group. Run the numbers. How do the unit economics compare? Use data from sales, royalty generated, profit, EBITDA, however you measure unit economics. In the end, true brand growth is created through successful unit economics. It’s about franchisees winning. For franchise executives and leaders who want to create real value for all stakeholders, franchisee performance is where the rubber hits the road.
Is VetFran right for you and your brand’s recruitment efforts?
To find out if the program is a good fit for your franchise, the first step is exploring it. And if you find it’s worth getting involved, then sign up and get going. Remember that the program can only work for you if you work the program.
Results won’t magically appear because you simply join VetFran. You have to learn about the tools and apply them. You have to use the VetFran system with full spirit and attitude. But that shouldn’t surprise any of us in the franchising industry. Each day we say to potential franchisees that success in our franchise system is dependent on how well they apply their skills and talents and use the system that we’ve created.
Many before us have invested massive amounts of time and money to build the VetFran program that helps bring together thousands of our men and women veterans and the great franchise brand members of IFA. Contact VetFran today to learn if it’s the right fit for you.