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Franchising: A Perfect Fit for Veterans

by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: MBM Food Service

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Alexandra Myers was craving smoothies.

Rich Anthony had too many mosquitos in his back yard.

The light dawned: If those things were important to them, other people probably felt the same way, too.

Both now have flourishing veteran owned franchises that have grown so exponentially, even they didn’t foresee their resounding success. Myers, of New Orleans, is a former Navy LT who is currently the owner of 10 Smoothie King locations, which are either on or near military installations nationwide. And Anthony, of Oklahoma City, was an Army SPC who spent eight years as a nuclear biological chemical specialist. He opened his first Mosquito Joe franchise in 2014 and immediately grew the business to 650 customers. He started with two Mosquito Joe vans and this year has six; by next year he expects to operate 12, plus expand his geographic outreach to customers.

Myers and Anthony say franchising is a great fit for veterans seeking to be their own bosses. For one thing, its systems are similar to those of the military’s. And for another, veterans have a can-do, self-starting attitude that propels their franchise ownership even further.

”The reason franchises are successful business operations is that they’ve already failed and tried and have learned what it takes to be successful,” Anthony says. “For a military person, it’s structure that you need that’s not out of control.”

It seems many other veterans would agree. They own more than 66,000 franchises in the United States, which equates to one in seven, or 14 percent of all franchise owners, says George Eldridge of the International Franchise Association in Washington, D.C. Eldridge coordinates IFA’s VetFran Program,which provides funding, training and mentoring to veteran-owned franchisees.

“Why franchises are appealing is that, unlike a startup, you have help. In the military, we’re all used to SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) — instructions with vague guidance on how to do the job. This is just the same thing, except the instructions aren’t vague,” Eldridge says.

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