Page 65

attributes are generally characteristic of military service members and veterans. According to multiple studies commissioned by the SBA and others, military veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to pursue business ownership after leaving the service, and the five-year success rate of ventures owned by veterans is significantly higher than the national average.

Affinity for hard work: Successful franchisees have a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This attitude is shown in their every action – putting in long hours, handling multiple tasks, etc. Have you been through boot camp? Have you been deployed? Have you lived through the transition to civilian life? Start to finish, the military experience is all about hard work and accomplishing the mission, and this attitude directly correlates with success as a business owner.

Strong people skills: Successful franchisees have excellent interpersonal skills and can effectively interact with their employees and customers. They use these skills to create loyalty, value and trust. Women are known to have strong networking and communication skills, and research studies focused on both military personnel and veterans indicate that the military service experience engenders a strong propensity toward an inherent trust and faith in coworkers and organizational leadership. Coupling their networking abilities and the fact that veterans assume high levels of trust, these attributes provide women veterans with great people skills, which can be leveraged in launching and sustaining a successful franchise.

Adaptability: Considering the number of franchises owned by women, one can say that the franchise industry is still a “man’s world.” On the other hand, women veterans served in a military that is dominated by men, forcing them to develop the ability and skills to navigate through such a culture and advance in rank and achievement.

“Women veterans need access to basic entrepreneurship training, though many are unaware of resources and services available to them.” Resilience: Potential women franchisees must not be afraid of failure, because they learn through adversity. Resilient individuals can successfully adapt despite adversity, overcome hardships and trauma, achieve developmental competencies, and excel in the face of harsh environments. Multiple studies have found that military veterans exhibit high levels of resilient behavior; that is, as a consequence of the military experience, veterans (generally) develop an enhanced ability to bounce back from failed professional and/or personal experiences more quickly and more completely, as compared to those who have not served. In order to combat unemployment challenges faced by women veterans, we need to provide them with more opportunities like franchise ownership, particularly knowing that they have what it takes to be a successful franchisee. Women veterans need access to basic entrepreneurship training, though many are unaware of resources and services available to them. The same is true for franchise opportunities, as there is little done to highlight the fact that franchise ownership makes business sense for women veterans. For example, both the SBA and the IFA provide numerous opportunities for veterans, from financial support, franchise fee reduction/waivers, mentoring, and much more. Additionally, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families has developed a suite of entrepreneurship training programs, with one specifically designed for women veterans. This program, known as Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), was developed in cooperation with Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management and the SBA office of Veteran Business Development.

Mirza Tihic

V-WISE brings together 200 women veterans at a time for conference-style training geared towards those who wish to start a business or those who already own one, and has graduated nearly 1,000 veterans since its inception. As a nation, we need to do a better job educating our women veterans about their strengths and how these strengths can be leveraged through entrepreneurship, particularly in franchise ownership. We all – private sector, public sector, veteran service providers, government, and others – need to step up and push the case that women veterans have what it takes to be successful franchise owners. If we don’t educate our women veterans about existing opportunities, we as a nation are failing to serve those who have served this nation. Mirza Tihic is the director of program support services at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, where he administers a technical assistance program that connects veteran entrepreneurs with pro bono resources to help them launch and grow their ventures. For more information: Website: www.vets.syr.edu/

Franchising USA

v e t er a ns i n fr a nch isi ng

Page 65

Franchising USA - November 2013