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AdvisorNet

10 Things a Veteran Should Consider Before Committing to Buy a Franchise in 2018

Small Business

When putting together New Year’s resolutions for 2018, most people assess where they are now and make commitments to improve where possible. When the items on your list are personal like losing weight, stopping risky behaviors or improving your mental health you might have some reasonable control over the outcomes. If your resolution is to improve your financial future through self-employment or buying a franchise, then people, places and things beyond your current knowledge or maybe even your own understanding of your own personality may need detailed assessment and investigation.

Here are 10 Steps a Veteran should consider making before
committing to buy a franchise in 2018:

  1. Assess whether “you” are compatible with your idea for acquisition of a franchise. Ask your family and friends what they honestly think about your personality and whether its suited for the rigors of daily operation or ownership for the franchise selected. Do they believe you can consistently manage that type of business? Will they support your decision given what think about your faults, personal history and people skills? And if you still have doubts, take a personality test to better understand how your traits might affect the success of a franchise.

  2. Will this opportunity stoke your passion and “get you out bed in morning” to face the tests of the day? Examine your strengths and weaknesses and commit to improve any general skills sets needed before you go forward with any challenge.

  3. How realistic is your access to capital for a franchise before spending considerable due diligence time on the opportunity? Check out both debt and equity availability to you for the entire capitalization needed for the venture. Estimate how long it will take to get the cash available and assess how long it will last. What’s your backup to the backup for your financial plan?

  4. Research whether you qualify for subsidies provided by the Veterans Administration for VRE Self-Employment training benefits. Ask your potential franchisor whether they can itemize training costs that could be reimbursed to you for your franchise acquisition if you qualify.

  5. Have you read the entire Federal Disclosure Document (FDD) on any selected franchise before proceeding? Resolve to read it again and again and make notes on what you don’t understand. Talk to at least six of the franchises listed in the FDD to ask questions about locations, marketing, operations and training assistance.

  6. Explore the effectiveness of current technology used in the franchise and the future commitments by the franchisor to continually improve their competitive position in their select market.

  7. Have you built a strong “mentoring team” for the beginning, middle and end of your business goal? Veterans have extraordinary access to mentors who can help you understand the requirements and nuances of your business plans. There are accountants, lawyers, franchisees, social media experts and other consultants who will commit to varying levels of upfront mentoring for Veteran entrepreneurs.

  8. Develop a business relationship with a franchise consultant who will “partner” with you to help you find the best compatible opportunity. That relationship should spell out whether they will offer to compare similar opportunities even if they might not earn a fee if you select one of them. The arrangement should also spell out whether the consultant will share their financial benefits they receive from the franchisor. This is not always possible, but a Veteran should at least ask.

  9. Consider becoming an actual employee at one of your existing target franchise locations to get firsthand knowledge of the day-to-day operations.

  10. Reach out to supporting institutions like ACP, SCORE (in your market), SBDC (in your market) VBOC (in your market), Patriot Bootcamp, Bunker Labs, VETToCEO, Boot to Business, EBV at Syracuse University, and other Veteran focused incubators to customize your mentoring support.

Oh, 11. Have fun and good luck in 2018!

If you have comments or feedback about any article, please email your thoughts to info@acp-advisornet.org.

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