Day 23: OPERATION: Create Your Own Path


day23-dailyadviceDay 23 of Operation: Create Your Own Path brings another great dose of business advice!


Today, our featured military spouse business owner offers some great advice to anyone who might be thinking about purchasing a franchise. With so many options out there, and many programs specificially designed to help veterans and military familes start franchises, it is a viable option for many.


If you want to start a business, and want something with a proven track record and an established brand, you might want to consider a franchise.


Alison Donnelly

Smallprint Texas


"Buying a franchise is a big business decision, but if someone is really wanting to be their own boss and run a business, a franchise is the perfect place to start. With a franchise, the business model is already established and set up and the franchisor is there to assist and train. It is up to the franchisee to establish it within their territory and grow it from there.


Most of the businesses in the US are franchises. There are many different types to include ones that you can work from home, this was what was appealing to me. After working  for a major company for 12 years, I was ready to work for myself and invest in myself, especially how the market has been lately.


Another  appealing thing about a franchise is the structure, which is so similar to military life and also why veterans are very successful with franchises.


My best piece of advice is to do your research and if you are serious about starting any business, franchise or not, complete a business plan to see if you are on the right path."




Steve Caldeira

International Franchise Association President & CEO


Franchising Seeks Veterans and Military Spouses


On November 10, 2011 the International Franchise Association (IFA) announced "Operation Enduring Opportunity (OEO)," a franchise industry wide campaign to hire and recruit as owners 80,000 veterans and military spouses through 2014. This effort builds on IFA's VetFran strategic initiative, founded in 1991. VetFran includes more than 580 IFA franchisor member companies offering financial incentives, training and mentoring to veterans interested in small business ownership and/or a career path in franchising. Since 2011, nearly 65,000 veterans have entered franchising, including 4,314 owners. On April 30th the White House Joining Forces initiative announced that 290,000 veterans and military spouses who have been hired or trained since the launch of the initiative in 2011. Franchising contributed almost a quarter of this total.

Veterans have a proven track record of success in franchising. With its rapid training opportunities, structure, and need for team leadership and operational excellence, franchising has proven a successful path for veterans to become leaders in our companies and in our economy. One out of every seven franchise businesses are owned and operated by veterans of the U.S. military, according to a recent study conducted for the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation based on 2007 U.S. Census data. More than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the U.S. provide jobs directly for 815,000 Americans, and generate more than $41 billion in GDP.

There are a number of reasons veterans thrive in franchising.


• Veterans emerge from service with strong leadership skills and a thorough understanding of teams. Military experience includes leading people, improving processes, and accomplishing the mission. Just like in the military, in franchising, the mission is accomplished by the team.


• Franchises run on systems. Implementing systems is a key responsibility in the military, and that aspect translates to the franchise world.


• Franchises provide training. Service members are trained and taught very specific skills to be used to carry out very specific tasks. Franchises have comprehensive training and support built into their opportunities. This means a veteran can enter into a completely new field, follow the franchisor's proven business model, and receive the training, guidance, and support a new business owner needs to succeed.


• Franchises offer support. Joining a franchise, a once "separated" veteran can feel connected again, surrounded by a support structure and part of a franchise "family" – a culture many franchisors work to cultivate among their franchisees. In franchising, you're in business "for" yourself, but not "by" yourself.


The best way to learn more about getting a franchise through VetFran is by visiting our websites. is a great starting point to learn about the program and our veteran's initiatives.

There you will find our VetFran Toolkit for veterans interested in franchising, which includes a Franchising 101 online course, a finance assessment, a workbook to help you evaluate franchise opportunities, the VetFran Mentor Network and the VetFran Directory. The VetFran Directory lists all VetFran member companies and their incentives. Member companies can be contacted directly through their pages in the directory to learn more about their opportunities.


The Franchise Opportunities section of IFA's main site can also be searched by investment, business category and keyword.

Franchising can't provide the entire solution to transitioning our veterans into leaders of the civilian economy, but we are committed to being part of the solution.

"When I came back from Vietnam, there was nothing for veterans," said IFA past chairman Jim Amos, now chairman and chief executive of Tasti D-Lite. "We can't let that happen again."

We won't. Find out more about opportunities in franchising by visiting


Stephen J. Caldeira is President & CEO of the International Franchise Association, the world’s oldest and largest organization representing the franchising industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., IFA works to protect, enhance and promote the U.S. franchise industry, which consists of 825,000 U.S. franchise businesses that create nearly 18 million jobs and $2.1 trillion of economic activity annually. IFA members include franchise companies operating across 300 business lines, including foodservice, hospitality, lodging, real estate, automotive, business and consumer services. IFA also represents individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in law, marketing and business development.

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