From Military Service to Franchise Owner: Thriving in Business with Unique Skills


Transitioning from a career in the military to the civilian world can be daunting, but for many Veteran business owners, the unique skills and determination cultivated during their service pave the way for successful entrepreneurship. Military experiences provide Veterans with valuable skill sets, making them well-suited for the challenges of franchise ownership. Neighborly® is here to help potential Veteran business owners recognize that franchising can be an excellent opportunity and a valuable use of their unique skills.



Transferring Military Experiences to Small Business

Military experiences provide Veterans with a wealth of experiences they can transfer over as a small business owner. Leadership, both as a follower and a leader, plays a crucial role. Understanding how to follow someone's lead and appreciating the examples set by mentors in the military can be invaluable when managing personnel in a business.

This leadership foundation, coupled with a sense of discipline and grit developed through overcoming adversity, forms the bedrock of a Veteran business owner’s success in the small business world. Several common skill sets in particular stand out among Veterans, making them well-suited for small business ownership:

  • Teamwork: Veterans understand the importance of cohesive teamwork, a vital component for military and small business success.
  • Discipline: Military life instills a sense of discipline and routine, crucial for following the systems and processes integral to franchising.
  • Grit: Veterans bring resilience and the ability to overcome adversity, essential for navigating the challenges of running a small business.
  • Positive Mindset: Veterans, accustomed to facing challenges with contagious positivity, naturally contribute to fostering a resilient and optimistic environment within their teams.

Mary Kennedy Thompson, COO of Franchise Brands of Neighborly and U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, draws parallels between her military experience and the diverse yet unified environment of franchising with Neighborly by stating, “It was the closest thing I had ever seen since my time in the Marine Corps of a group of people from very diverse backgrounds working together, making sure that they were showing respect for all people, that they were acting with integrity in all dealings, serving our customers with enthusiasm, and having fun.”


Finding Franchising After Military Service

The opportunity to transition into a small business appeals to many Veterans, leveraging the skills acquired in the military, including leadership, team-building, and following a playbook.

Two significant adjustments aspiring Veteran business owners might find as they transition to small business ownership include human resources and budget management. Unlike the military, where personnel are assigned, small business owners in franchising must actively recruit, interview, and hire their teams. The shift from managing a large government budget to a small business budget can present a substantial change. However, beyond differences like these, the key focus remains on people.

Apart from offering a unique business opportunity, franchising also provides Veterans with a parallel sense of purpose as experienced in the military. It allows them to channel their dedication to a greater cause, fostering a feeling of being part of a larger mission. This transition from serving their country to serving their local communities through franchise ownership can be fulfilling and purpose driven.


Camaraderie in Franchising

Franchising offers Veterans a sense of camaraderie often missed after leaving military service. Neighborly, in particular, stands out for its robust support network, providing opportunities for Veteran business owners to connect, share knowledge, and leverage each other's experiences.

While Veterans comprise 7% of the country’s population, Veteran franchise owners account for 14% of all franchise owners, a statistic that reflects Neighborly's commitment to supporting Veterans. Neighborly understands that Veterans have a lot to offer as franchisees, which is why Don Dwyer Sr., Veteran and founder of Neighborly, also founded VetFran®, a voluntary group of International Franchise Association (IFA) member companies that encourages Veterans to participate in franchise ownership. The IFA’s VetFran program's mission is to facilitate Veterans' transition into franchising by helping them recognize the value of their skills and choose the best path forward.


Neighborly's Support for Veterans

Veterans bring a unique set of attributes—teamwork, discipline, and grit—that position them for success in franchising. With the support of initiatives like VetFran and companies like Neighborly, Veterans can find a business opportunity and a community that understands and values their contributions. As more aspiring Veteran business owners explore the world of franchising, their stories continue to inspire others to embark on entrepreneurship after military service.

Whether you're considering joining our family of franchises or seeking insights into the broader world of franchising, reach out to one of our franchise developers.

Related Blogs

Which Franchise Is Right For You?

Whether you want to achieve your professional goals by starting your first business or have the flexibility to be your own boss, Neighborly® is ready to help you build a legacy in the home services industry.