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  • 10 Resolutions to Consider in 2018

    10 Resolutions Veterans Should Consider Before Buying a Franchise in 2018

    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.

    10 resolutions a veteran should consider making before committing to buy a franchise in 2018:

    1. Resolve to 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 your still have doubts, take a personality test to better understand how your traits might affect the success of a franchise.
    2. Resolve to only commit to an opportunity which will stoke your passion and will “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. Resolve to realistically examine 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. Resolve to research whether you qualify for subsidies provided by the Veterans Administration for VRE Self-Employment training benefits. Resolve to ask your potential franchisor whether they can itemize training costs that could be reimbursed to you for your franchise acquisition if you qualify
    5. Resolve to 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. Resolve to talk to at least six of the franchises listed in the FDD to ask questions about locations, marketing, operations and training assistance.
    6. Resolve to 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. Resolve to ask for help to build 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. Resolve to only 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. Resolve to consider becoming an actual employee at one of your existing target franchise locations to get firsthand knowledge of the day-to-day operations.
    10. Resolve to reach out to support institutions like ACP-USA.org; SCORE (in your market), SBDC (in your market) VBOC (in your market), Patriot Bootcamp, Bunker Innovations and other Veteran focused incubators to customize your mentoring support. Check out VETToCEO and Boot to Business at EBV at Syracuse University.

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

    VBS Founder and Managing Director, Jim Mingey, is a decorated Vietnam veteran raised from a proud military background. An entrepreneur for more than 35 years, Jim can relate on a personal level to the needs of the veteransmall businessperson, and possesses the practical knowledge to implement his experience in today’s market. Jim participated in the EBV Program at Purdue University, has been a mentor at American Corporate Partners, developed the first approved franchise acquisition training program for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program at Veterans Administration, and was instrumental in forming the first equity fund in the United States exclusively for veteran owned small businesses and franchises. Jim and his wife, Nancy, live in Oregon City, Oregon.

  • 4th Annual Veteran Shark Tank

    Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network Hosts Veteran Shark Tank
    Local Non-Profit Supports Veteran-Owned Businesses in 4th Annual Event

    PRESS RELEASE NOV 21, 2016
    November 21, 2016 (Press Release) – PHILADELPHIA–Non-profit organization Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network (GPVN) is promoting and supporting area veteran entrepreneurs through its fourth Veteran Shark Tank.

    “GPVN is again excited again to offer this incredible opportunity to local aspiring veteran entrepreneurs. The competition will allow them to sharpen their business pitch, gain feedback from business leaders, and vie for a substantial cash prize and in-kind business support services as they launch their new venture.”
    Similar to the ABC network’s popular television show “Shark Tank,” five aspiring entrepreneurs, who are military veterans, will pitch their business plan to an audience and panel of “sharks” at the GPVN Veteran Shark Tank event. The winning pitch will receive a monetary prize and business services. This year, Colonel John C. Church, USMCR and president of Valley Forge Military Academy & College, will be the keynote speaker. Comcast will be the presenting sponsor. The event will take place Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m., at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ.

    Alex Archawski, Navy veteran and founder of Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network says, “GPVN is again excited again to offer this incredible opportunity to local aspiring veteran entrepreneurs. The competition will allow them to sharpen their business pitch, gain feedback from business leaders, and vie for a substantial cash prize and in-kind business support services as they launch their new venture.”

    One of the event’s previous contestants was JDog Junk Removal & Hauling. JDog is a national franchise dedicated to increasing post-military career opportunities for veterans. Franchises are offered exclusively to military veterans and their family members. Franchisees operate easily recognizable, camouflage vehicles and trailers and wear military-style uniforms. With more than 110 franchise territories awarded in 29 states, the company is experiencing rapid growth. This year, Major General USMC (ret) Douglas O’Dell, who also sits as a chairman on the JDog Joint Chiefs Advisory Board, will be a judge on the Veteran Shark Tank panel.

    “Organizations like the GPVN raise awareness for veteran issues and business ideas,” said Major General O’Dell. “This event in particular helps attract investors for veterans who are aspiring entrepreneurs, and inspires the community to attend in support of our veterans.”

    The event sold out last year. To purchase limited tickets still available, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/4th-veteran-shark-tank-tickets-27838444537. For information about JDog and its franchising opportunities, please visit www.jdog.com.

    About Greater Philadelphia Veteran Network

    The primary mission of the GPVN is three-fold: to assist veterans, National Guard and reservists to find work through career service, programs/incentives, mentorships, networking and job leads; to educate employers in the greater Philadelphia area on how to hire local veterans; and to offer veteran professional leadership and entrepreneurship programs.
    gpvn.org.

  • Tutor Doctor Franchisees Honored with IFA Franchisee of the Year Award

    We are pleased to announce that Tutor Doctor of  Panama City, Florida, franchisees Alison Parker and Lacey Frank are the recipients of the company’s Franchisee of the Year Award, presented by the International Franchise Association (IFA).

    The IFA Franchisee of the Year Award is an honor that recognizes franchise owners who make a significant impact on franchised operations and people within their communities.

    Parker and Frank, owners of Tutor Doctor Emerald Coast, garnered the award by exhibiting outstanding service to students in their local community and putting together campaigns for Tutor Doctor, including the wildly successful Stock the Fridge that was adapted by communities at the global level. In addition, 2017 Tutor Doctor Tutor of the Year, Cami Smith, works within the Emerald Coast system.

    “Alison and Lacey have made a tremendous impact on not only their students but also Tutor Doctor as a whole,” said Tutor Doctor President Frank Milner. “We cannot thank them enough for their dedication and hard work, and we are honored to have them on our team.”

    Parker and Frank came to Tutor Doctor in 2015 after a combined total of 25 years teaching second graders in Florida. Realizing the desperate need for a tutoring service in the area, Parker and Frank’s business quickly became a hot commodity for hundreds of families in Florida within months of opening. Now, Parker and Frank continue to help their local towns as well as teachers and students around the world.

    To learn more about the Tutor Doctor franchise please visit www.veteransbusinessservices.us/product-item/tutor-doctor/

  • Financial Support from LinkedIn Founder, Reid Hoffman, Accelerates Funding

    Financial support from LinkedIn Founder, Reid Hoffman, has accelerated the implementation of the Veteran Business Services business model for Service Disabled Veterans businesses.

    By providing dollar for dollar matching for the VBS capital campaign the financial goal was achieved in half the time. Thank you, Reid. Proceeds will be used to organize a State Community Public Offering (CPO) in Oregon, which will provide small business services, franchising and special consulting for Service Disabled Veterans developing Self-Employment plans.

    The CPO will be supported by Veteran entrepreneurs at both Clackamas Community College and Portland State University (PSU). The CPO concept is to incorporate the next generation of Veteran leaders and entrepreneurs to build expertise in capital formation. Access to capital is one the biggest missing elements for start-ups in today’s economy. By offering the next generation of Veterans the responsibility, capital raising capacity and decision-making power over local/regional business ideas, new leadership will grow in our communities.

    By using the same CPO to fund a self-supporting VBS help desk for Veteran small business formation, the CPO it will add a new tool and complement existing federal, state and local small business support systems. The Oregon SBDC network and HATCH ( https://hatchthefuture.org/ ) have provided critical support for the business model.

  • FASTSIGNS Named Top Franchise for Veterans

    FASTSIGNS® NAMED TOP FRANCHISE FOR VETERANS

    Leading Global Sign, Graphics and Visual Communications Franchisor Recognized for Exemplary Support of Veterans with Independent Survey from Franchise Owners

    FASTSIGNS International, Inc., the leader in signs, graphics and visual communications, was recently named a top franchise in a 2016 Top Franchise for Veterans Report. The brand ranked 11th overall, earning its designation as “The Best of the Best” Franchise for Veterans. FASTSIGNS celebrates our nation’s veterans by continuing to give them the tools that they need to build a successful business after their time in the Armed Forces. In addition, FASTSIGNS International was recently honored with the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the Department of Defense’s highest recognition presented to employers for their exemplary support of National Guard and Reserve members.

    FASTSIGNS International was among 158 franchise brands, representing over 22,000 franchise owners that participated in the research. Participating franchisees from a variety of industries were surveyed on 33 benchmark questions about their experience and satisfaction regarding critical areas of their franchise systems, including training and support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations and financial opportunity.

    Leaders in the veteran community, FASTSIGNS reports that over 10 percent of its franchisees are comprised of military veterans. Disciplined, driven and self-motivated, veterans possess a number of valued skills and a wealth of experience essential to successful franchise business ownership.

    “It’s truly an honor to be recognized by our veterans and business owners,” said Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International, Inc. “We remain committed to supporting our veterans and active duty servicemen and women by continuing to offer incentives and assistance for them and their families to achieve success. Our hope is that more companies and franchise brands will do the same.”

    As part of the commitment to veterans, FASTSIGNS International is also a proud participant of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program (Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative), which assists military veterans in accessing franchise opportunities through training, financial assistance and industry support. Veterans that join the FASTSIGNS U.S. network can take advantage of specific incentives including a reduced franchise fee of $22,250, a savings of 50 percent, in addition to reduced royalties and advertising fees for the first year. FASTSIGNS International has also been recognized as a top franchise for military veterans by leading publications including USA Today, G.I. Jobs magazine and Military Times magazine.

    FASTSIGNS International is recruiting franchisees throughout the U.S. In addition to more than 400 U.S. and Canadian markets targeted for development, FASTSIGNS has 65+ international locations in nine countries open for continued expansion. As part of the brand’s development strategy, FASTSIGNS is also targeting Co Brand and conversion opportunities whereby print shop owners can expand their services by adding FASTSIGNS to their existing business or convert their business into a thriving FASTSIGNS center.

    About FASTSIGNS® FASTSIGNS International, Inc. is the largest sign and visual communications franchisor in North America, and is the worldwide franchisor of more than 640 independently owned and operated FASTSIGNS® centers in nine countries including the US, Canada, England, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Grand Cayman, Mexico and Australia (where centers operate as SIGNWAVE®). FASTSIGNS locations provide comprehensive sign and visual graphic solutions to help companies of all sizes and across all industries attract more attention, communicate their message, sell more products, help visitors find their way and extend their branding across all of their customer touch points including décor, events, wearables and marketing materials. Learn more about sign and visual graphic solutions or find a location at fastsigns.com. Follow the brand on Twitter @FASTSIGNS, Facebook at facebook.com/FASTSIGNS or LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/fastsigns.

    Franchise Research Institute has named FASTSIGNS a top sign and graphics franchise and has awarded the company certification as a 2015 World-Class Franchise for four consecutive years.

    For more information about how to start a FASTSIGNS franchise, please visit: www.veteransbusinessservices.us/product-item/fastsigns/

  • Tutor Doctor Supporting Veterans

    Marketing with VBS since the fall of 2014, Tutor Doctor is now offering veterans a chance to purchase a franchise with regional licensing rights for the price of a local license – a $5,000 discount. This regional license grants a veteran franchisee a protected territory, plus the ability to take on new customers across the state from non-licensed areas, essentially giving them free reign to grow his or her business.

    Spearheading Tutor Doctor’s push to drive veterans to the brand is Bob Rosedale, a 1984 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and Air Force veteran, and now Tutor Doctor Vice President of Operations. Rosedale is a former franchisee who brought the first Tutor Doctor business to the state of Idaho. With Mr. Rosedale’s transition to the corporate office, the Idaho Tutor Doctor is now a corporate-owned territory that will serve as a flagship operation to pilot new programs before rolling them out system-wide

    Mr. Rosedale came to Tutor Doctor in 2011 following a 26-year career in the military, retiring as a United States Air Force squadron commander around the same time. He served in a variety of assignments both in the United States and overseas, holding the rating of Command Pilot and serving from 2006-2008 as the United States Defense Attache at the United States Embassy in Riyadh, the capital and most populous city of Saudi Arabia.

    Following his stint in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Rosedale served a second diplomatic tour in the same position, assigned this time to the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain from 2008-2011.

    During his service in the United States, Mr. Rosedale was the Deputy Operations Group Commander (2002-03), Commander (2001-02) and Operations Officer (2000-01) of the 86th Flying Training Squadron at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas after working as the Chief of Operational Support of Airlift Operations and Training at the United States headquarters at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

    He earned an M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1989.

    Mr. Rosedale connected with Tutor Doctor in 2011 to continue his drive for managing, educating and learning, all passions that he developed throughout his military career. Now, he is leading a regional Tutor Doctor team to ensure United States veterans receive professional, high quality training and a chance to succeed in business endeavors after stints of active duty.

    Tutor Doctor is the only franchise that present the opportunity to provide services across the western regions of the United States, which features 13 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. The company partners with veterans administrations throughout the country and exemplifies passion, support for veterans and proper strategies to recruit, train and retain the highest qualified tutors and educators for proper business management.

    Mr. Rosedale and the Tutor Doctor team present enthusiasm and support for veterans all over the country, and provide them with special incentives and training.

    In addition to providing students with tutoring in various subjects, families choose Tutor Doctor to help students get ahead and prepare for advanced challenges, such as honors classes that can help them get into preferred universities. With the launch of its ACT/SAT Success Program, students have access to the best one-to-one, in-home test preparation and training in X-Skills, which Mr. Rosedale designed to help students build these organizational and “executive” skills to assist them in school and beyond.

    The company helps more than 200,000 people annually and covers more than 500 territories in 15 countries around the world.

    For more information on the Tutor Doctor franchise opportunity for veterans and to hear directly from Mr. Rosedale, please complete the following form:

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  • How could a Trump Presidency help Veterans in franchising?

    Written by James F. Mingey, VBS Founder and Managing Director

    Although almost all surveys were wrong in the recent election, they did predict that over 60% of Veterans would vote for Mr. Trump believing he would do a better job of handling Veterans issues.

    So how will he deliver for Veterans? According to his website he’ll begin by:

    1. Appointing a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans. Under a Trump Administration, the needs of D.C. bureaucrats will no longer be placed above those of our veterans.

    2. Use the powers of the presidency to remove and discipline the federal employees and managers who have violated the public’s trust and failed to carry out the duties on behalf of our veterans.

    Idea #1 for President-elect Trump:

    After selecting his new Secretary he could immediately issue an Executive Order that would insure that he/she makes their VA senior staff encourage qualified Veterans to seek self-employment benefits as authorized by Congress.
    According the most recent VA report to Congress on the status of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE) in 2014 over 100,000 Veterans are enrolled in the program. These are some of the most deserving Veterans who have definitely borne the burden of battle. Under existing legislation they are entitled to resources to help develop individual self-employment plans, including acquiring franchises. Unfortunately less than ½ of 1% of these Veterans actually get the chance. This is despite that fact that the VA has over 1000 Rehabilitation Counselors who are ready, willing and committed to helping these same Veterans. These Counselors would go any extra mile to do so. An Executive Order would help emphasize to VA senior managers to direct the Counselors to help Veterans start businesses, which in turn would help their local communities by creating some jobs.

    Idea #2 for President-Elect Trump:

    The electorate also believed President-elect Trump could do a better job running the economy. To accomplish this improvement he has tax reform high on his agenda. There’s the Trump Tax Plan which, also according to his website “will lower the business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, and eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax. This rate is available to all businesses, both small and large, that want to retain the profits within the business”.

    Although these proposed rates will surely be favorable to existing profitable franchisors and franchisees, how about creating some direct new tax benefits for the new Veteran entrepreneurs trying acquiring a franchise? The most difficult problems for start-ups, franchises or otherwise, typically is access to capital. This problem could be mitigated by something like the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) which now provides a 39% tax credit and can be sold to generate equity for investment or to lower interest rates, helping sustain a small business in its early years. Proponents of the existing NMTC say that for every dollar provided by the government for NMTC, $8 dollars in private capital will be committed to small business and community development projects. But none of the billions of NMTC allocated so far have been specifically targeted to Veterans.

    Mr. President-Elect, when you implement your tax reform, why not include a specific category of NMTC for Veterans acquiring franchises? Or maybe at least provide a NMTC for Veterans in VA Vocational Rehabilitation trying to start or acquire a franchise. There are many Veterans who would help you get the economy going with franchising. So why not give them a NMTC to start one?

    Idea #3 for President-elect Trump:

    Mr. President-elect has already indicated he will install a 24 Hr. Hotline for Veterans at the White House. I suggest you educate a special cadre of operators who understand small business issues for Veterans. Please make sure your telephone operators understand that it’s not just about Veteran entitlements when they call about starting a business or a franchise, it’s about letting Veterans lead their economies forward as well. The franchise industry helping Veterans can be a powerful resource for jobs.

    Will he stay or will he go?

    Idea #4 for President-elect Trump:

    At the time of this writing we don’t know who will be the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. It seems that the major Veteran Service Organizations (American Legion, DAV, VFW and IAVA) and many other Veteran advocates are solidly behind keeping Secretary McDonald. “Bob” has had a few good ideas, not the least of which is his MyVA initiative which has the potential to really connect Veterans back to their local communities.. It appears Bob now has completed the setup of this MyVA initiative, linking the VA to private local and regional partnerships. Why not give him a chance to take MyVA down the ‘last mile” to as many Veterans as possible?

  • Walmart Foundation supports FDU’s veteran program

    Above: On October 6, 2016, representatives of the Walmart Foundation, presented a check for $48,000 to support Fairleigh Dickinson University’s entrepreneurship program for veterans: Veterans Launching Ventures. From left to right: Brenda Marquez, Walmart; Andrew Rosman, dean of FDU’s Silberman College, Kelly Jensen, Walmart field administrative assistant; Mahmoud El Hamamsy, VLV faculty member; Timur Pakay, executive director of FDU’s Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and Alan Levitan, VLV mentor.

    Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship received a check from the Walmart Foundation for $48,000 to support the 2016-2017 Veterans Launching Ventures (VLV) program. This donation is the largest in the VLV’s history.

    In its sixth year, the VLV program is designed to provide the skills and support veterans need to seize entrepreneurial opportunities and launch small businesses. The VLV program is offered as part of FDU’s commitment to improving the lives of veterans.

    “If not for Walmart’s support, the Veterans Launching Veterans program would not be as successful as it is today. We are grateful to Walmart for providing the educational resources to support veterans at FDU,” said Andrew Rosman, dean of FDU’s Silberman College of Business.

    This gift is far from the only support that Walmart has given to FDU and its veterans programs. Since 2009, Walmart has donated $270,000 to FDU and since 2009, Walmart has donated $163,000 to support the VLV program.

    “Walmart strives to make a positive impact to the communities it serves and we’re grateful for the sacrifices veterans have made,” said Jennifer Hoehn, Senior Manager of Public Affairs at Walmart. “This is why Walmart is committed to support FDU in assisting vets with employment, job training and education. Investment in our nation’s veterans is imperative in making our country better.”

    The VLV program offers a combination of online education and in-person instruction to teach students the fundamental entrepreneurial skills required in today’s business environment, as well as the competencies needed to launch a new business. Particular emphasis is placed on developing a robust marketing plan as well as a realistic business plan to help veterans make informed decisions to start a business or assist and prepare the student for the general business environment.

    A team of experienced faculty and successful entrepreneurs work with the veterans, providing an interactive and informative experience. Over a 10-week period, VLV introduces entrepreneurship ideas and concepts, and demonstrations on how to apply those concepts to potential business opportunities. The VLV students are each matched with a mentor who will assist and guide them for 10 months following the completion of the course.

  • SCORE mentors Veterans in the St. Joe’s VEJ Program

    SCORE mentors Veterans in the St. Joseph’s University Veterans Entrepreneurial Jumpstart (VEJ) program

    WEST CHESTER, PA, November 27, 2016 – Twenty three Veterans with dreams of starting their own business began the St. Joseph’s University 2016 Veterans Entrepreneurial Jumpstart (VEJ) program. These Veterans ranged in age from 28 to 52 and represent five branches of the United States military and many years of service to our country. VEJ offers an intensive three-part program that begins with an online course of study to provide veterans with a foundation in business fundamentals and guidance in developing a business plan. The second phase is a week-long residency that included classroom instruction, guest lectures, panels, workshops, networking and mentoring. In the third phase, the entrepreneurs are partnered with business leaders in a year-long mentorship and are given access to complimentary support services including legal, accounting and tax services, web design and hosting, to kick start their venture.

    Chester and Delaware County SCORE volunteers were invited to provide mentorship to these Veterans during the program and to help them plan and present their business idea in the “Venture Pitch Competition” at the end of the program. Birgit Williams, a Veteran and a SCORE client was a winner of the Venture Pitch Competition with her business startup called “75 Fox Trot Construction LLC.” Having worked as a project manager in a family-owned construction business and then completing a Construction Management Certificate Program at Temple University, Williams plans to bid for government construction projects. Winning the Venture Pitch Competition has given her $5,000 in seed money and free in-kind services from a web site developer as well as exposure to training and networking opportunities. “The Veteran Entrepreneur Jumpstart Program was a very enlightening and rewarding experience. I found the speakers very relatable and particularly enjoyed the stories of former graduates and local businessmen. They were very candid and shared obstacles they faced and how they conquered them,” said Williams.

    About Chester and Delaware County SCORE

    Chester and Delaware County SCORE is a non-profit organization that provides free counseling to entrepreneurs and small business. They have more than 100 experienced counselors with expertise in almost every facet of business. Of the more than 300 SCORE chapters across the nation, the Chester and Delaware County SCORE chapter was named “Best Chapter in America” in 2015. The chapter also teaches more than 50 seminars and workshops. Their recently introduced Advisory Boards were created to help existing businesses to grow. Call today to schedule a personal session with a counselor at any one of our 13 counseling locations, or to learn more about our small business education programs. Call us at 610-344-6910 or click here to visit us online Chester and Delaware County Score

  • Eric Kropiwnicki Goes from Classroom to CEO

    “I’m calling from Afghanistan…can you hear me OK?” So began a great conversation with Marine Corps and Army veteran, Eric Kropiwnicki approximately a year ago.  At that time, he was a “short-timer,” overseas with the government, and about to leave the military following 23 years of service.

    He mentioned that he would be home in time for Thanksgiving.  I actually got emotional hearing that news – it’s a huge deal, HUGE DEAL, to be on American soil, celebrating the most American of holidays, and doing so with your own family.  It immediately took me back 19 years to the first Thanksgiving I spent without my immediate and extended family.  Hosting “single sailors,” as I quickly learned was the norm for any Navy couples with extra chairs around their table, helped take my mind off of what I was missing 6,000 miles away.

    Eric brought me back to the present as he went on to say that he had heard about the Rutgers Mini-MBA: Business Management for Military and Veterans through his research on entrepreneurship following military service and the online publication “Veterans Business Services.”  He wanted to earn his Mini-MBA and learn all he could about running a business. He loved that he would learn from veterans who had themselves made successful transitions from military to business careers.

    In the classroom that following January, Eric joined a group of veterans, active-duty, military-affiliated, and civilians who were all anxious to build their business acumen and understand how military training and experience could be used in civilian organizations.  In the weeklong program, they experienced topics such as: strategy, leadership, supply chain, and economics.

    One memorable moment was during the communications module, when instructor Michelle Lederman (author of Heroes Get Hired), a petite 4’10” woman, demonstrated techniques that a tall and broadly shouldered Eric, and others of similar build, could use to be less physically intimidating to people they would encounter in interviews or business meetings.

    Fast forward to October 2016 when Eric reaches out to again share good news – he is now the CEO of Broken Gear Inc., a service-disabled veteran owned athletic apparel company.  Broken Gear is the official outfitter of the 2016 America’s Parades in New York and Los Angeles.  They’re also the outfitter of the Philadelphia Veteran’s Parade.

    Broken Gear is dedicated to helping service-disabled veterans and disabled athletes, their motto being “Broken, Not Beaten.”  This time next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to tell you that Broken Gear plays a large role in the Invictus Games.  Prince Harry might have to write next year’s blog.

  • Veterans Day 2016

    Here come those discounts again from all of America’s patriotic merchants. Whether it’s free coffee, a breakfast, admission to a theme park, a good night sleep at a hotel or a free haircut this year’s Veteran discounts offer something for everyone.

    Are all these merchants really patriotic or could this just be good business through making an annual discount gesture to the 23,000,000 Veterans in America?

    In fairness, for many merchants both of those goals are compatible and many major companies like Home Depot offer year round discounts and many other non-commercial community programs for Veterans. Discounts seem to come from everywhere. Veterans can even get a $25 coupon for completing a personalized and confidential behavior survey from VetsPrevail where Veterans earn rewards for helping each other to discover issues and overcome their challenges with PTSD.

    Franchise Industry Discounts

    Within the franchise industry it hasn’t escaped Franchisors that offering discounts to Veterans is very good for business. At VetFran, an initiative of the International Franchise Association, over 700 of their franchise members compete for Veterans attention and the VetFran discount deals they list are even star rated for value and vetted for viability. Even though VetFran offers valuable opportunities, the Franchisors still wouldn’t make their offers without a very good prospect of getting their upfront discount (which might be viewed as their investment) back from the Veteran franchisee over the life of the franchise. Of course the discount can hopefully be a win/win.

    Ask your own franchise consultant what cash discount they can provide on your franchise idea?

    Any reputable consultant will spend hours with a Veteran, asking questions and listening to your needs and goals, before ever recommending a franchise. Any consultant who starts mentioning companies after a few minutes of conversation is simply trying to steer the Veteran to an opportunity that probably benefits the consultant without considering what really benefits the Veteran.

    Nevertheless, even reputable consultants have a limited number of pre-screened opportunities. And if the Veteran isn’t interested in one of those “pre-screened” opportunities, how can he/she really know if they are truly getting unbiased advice. Of course that same consultant can adapt to other potential choices and whatever is most important to the Veteran looking for a franchise. But at the end of the day, the consultant will typically recommend a franchise they represent and that pays that consultant a fee. So often franchise consultants will say their services are “free”. Maybe Veterans should ask their franchise consultant if they will share a percentage of their “free” fee from your selected franchisor. Ask if they will guarantee the greatest possible rebate on your transaction. Or maybe Veterans should ask if the consultant will continue to represent them and even provide a 100% discount on the consultant’s fee if the Veteran eventually chooses an opportunity that is not one on their list.

    We believe there will be many new disruptive “discount” ideas for Veterans coming from franchise consultants in 2017. In the spirit of Veterans Day “discounts”, all Veterans should have a conversation with their franchise consultants about possible discounts and fee rebates long before they go into the discovery process on any franchise opportunity.

    Enjoy your Veterans Day!

    Click below to see some Veterans Day deals*

    http://militarybenefits.info/miscellaneous-discounts-veterans-day-deals-veterans/

    *Keep in mind that most businesses require proof of military service and not all franchise locations participate in their national chain’s Veterans Day programs — be sure contact your nearest establishment to make sure they are participating.

  • Soaring to New Heights With Franchising

    By Fred Morache, COO of Postal Connections

    Choosing to pursue a career in the military is an admirable investment in both the country and a person’s future. Of the more than one million men and women that make up our country’s Armed Forces, each has his or her own reason for choosing to enlist.

    For Jim Bowe, the path that led him to the Air Force was a natural one – and one that provided him the dedication, strength and willpower necessary to later follow a path to embrace his entrepreneurial side and open his own franchise.

    Taking Flight

    Jim joined the Air Force ROTC at Brigham Young University in 1979. Following his graduation in 1985, he went on to pilot training and then became an instructor at the Air Force Undergraduate Navigator Training School in California. In 1989, Jim became an AC-130H Aircraft Commander for the 16th Special Operations Squadron in Florida, flying Spectre gunships for various missions across the world.

    After separating from the Air Force in 1999, Jim continued flying commercially for Continental Express and then American Airlines. Although flying for commercial airlines meant Jim had more time to spend with family – compared to the 270 days he spent overseas each year on average when he was an Air Force pilot – Jim saw many of his colleagues being furloughed and worried that it could happen to him, too.

    Following a New Path

    In 2003, Jim’s brother approached him with the idea of going into business together. For Jim and his wife, Elizabeth, it was a thought that would not only provide them with a financial backup plan, but one that also gave them the opportunity to realize a lifelong dream. Jim and Elizabeth had discussed wanting to start their own business for years – even during Jim’s tenure in the Air Force – but held back out of concern that their respective backgrounds would not support their passion for business ownership.

    This time, Jim and Elizabeth decided to take a leap of faith and became owners of their very own Postal Connections franchise in 2003.

    Finding Support and Success

    By franchising with Postal Connections, Jim and Elizabeth found a network of support not unlike the camaraderie Jim was so accustomed to from his time in the military. When medical issues challenged this husband and wife team only a few years after opening their first Postal Connections store and right before the busiest season of the year, the entire Postal Connections franchise family was there in support, offering to help in any way they could.

    Coming from a world with procedures and checklists in place for everything he did, Jim’s experience from the Air Force and commercial airline industry provided him the ability to approach his Postal Connections business strategically. From employee training to marketing best practices and everything in between, the systems and processes that Postal Connections has in place for its franchisees are what Jim credits for the success of his stores. Above all else, Jim strives to take care of his employees and customers first – much like he was trained as an officer in the Air Force to make his troops his first priority.

    Today, Jim and Elizabeth own and operate three Postal Connections stores in Red Lion, Lancaster and Ephrata, Pennsylvania, which opened earlier this year. Elizabeth and their son-in-law now oversee the day-to-day operations of both businesses, and Jim and Elizabeth have realized their most important goal with their Postal Connections stores – a family business and lasting legacy.

    Fred Morache is the COO of Postal Connections, a business services franchise connecting consumers with convenient access to postal products, shipping, printing, creative services, copying, faxing, passport services, notary and shredding in more than 15 states, and CEO of iSOLD It, which provides consumer support for selling on eBay, Amazon and Craigslist. Visit Postal Connections online at www.postalconnections.com and iSOLD It at www.isoldit.com.

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  • Postal Connections Rallies Communities to “Share Your Story” for Veterans Day

    Brand Launches Book Donation Drive for Military Men and Women

    FRISCO, Texas – In honor of Veterans Day, Postal Connections is rallying communities across the country to “Share Your Story” in a month-long, nation-wide book donation drive.

    postalstore10_5_16From Tuesday, October 11 through Friday, November 11, Postal Connections is partnering with Operation Paperback to gather gently used paperback books to donate to active troops and veterans in need. Postal Connections stores across the country will be accepting donations from local residents, businesses and community members to send to troops serving overseas and on U.S. soil. Books must be gently used paperbacks that are in good condition (i.e., no books that are old, musty, yellow with bent spines or ripped covers). Suggested book genres include action, bestsellers, biographies and memoirs, fantasy, history, horror, mysteries, science fiction, true crime and children’s books for military families. Educational and homeschool materials are also welcome.

    “The men and women who have served and continue to serve our country are making one of the greatest sacrifices there is,” said Fred Morache, COO of Postal Connections. “We are proud to be teaming up with Operation Paperback to provide veterans and active duty troops with books donated by the people back home who truly appreciate the work they do to protect us all.”

    In addition to overseas locations, Operation Paperback provides books to wounded warrior programs and veterans hospitals located across the U.S., as well as USO centers at U.S. airport transit points. The organization has more than 19,000 volunteers from all 50 states, forming a network of shippers that send upwards of 15,000 books every month to troops.

    About Postal Cpostalconnectionslogoonnections

    Founded in 1995, Postal Connections is a growing franchise chain of postal, shipping and business service stores, with 40 locations nationwide aimed at providing convenience for its customers. Standard Postal Connections stores operate by offering consumers and small businesses needed services and products that include shipping alternatives, packaging, freight, offset printing, creative services, copying, mail receiving, inkjet, toner and laser cartridges, notary, fax, office and shipping supplies and much more.

    To learn more about Postal Connections’ services, visit www.postalconnections.com or call (619) 294-7550. For more information on Postal Connections franchise opportunities, visit www.postalconnections.com/franchise-opportunities/ or call 1-800-POSTALS (767-8257).

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  • TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the perfect fit for veterans, ask Veteran Joey Hale

    joeyhaleTWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the perfect fit for veterans, giving them an opportunity to grow their professional lives and move their careers forward. Franchisee Joey Hale is one of many vets in the system who has leveraged the opportunities TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® gives.

    “Prior to joining TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, I served as an intelligence officer for the United States Air Force,” said Joey. “I enlisted while in college. My dad flew in the Air Force, and I had tunnel vision to follow in his footsteps.”

    Soon after returning to Birmingham Ala., Joey’s family members, Jess Langley, Jason Langley, and Marty Langley, had recently became TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisees in Knoxville, Tenn.

    “They asked me if I was interested in helping, so I commuted for close to a year working as a mover/driver before I worked with Jess to open a location in Chattanooga, Tenn. I moved my family to Chattanooga in 1999 and have been there ever since.”

    Like many veterans, Joey believes his military background was perfect for the type of work TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® does.

    “Owning a small business has many unexpected challenges, and in the military, you have to be ready for any situation or mission,” said Joey. “I learned how to work in a disciplined environment and it helped me create a business with structure and rules to help keep people motivated but also focused on excellence. Lastly, it taught me how to be a leader and a follower. In business, employees will look to you for answers, but there are other times that you must recognize the talents of others and let them shine.”

    Today, Joey has seven franchises in three states: California, Maryland, and Tennessee. He employs more than 100 people and has over 50 trucks in his fleet. He credits much of his success to his military background which has been a staple in his business structure and strategies.

    “Being a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee has allowed me to achieve personal goals, become financially independent, and has given me the flexibility to enjoy life and family,” said Joey. “I still wake up every day and want to go to work and be around the wonderful group of people at our company.”

    TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us move your career forward. We are proud to be part of the VetFran network! If you are interested in learning more about franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® visit, franchise.twomenandatruck.com for franchise opportunities available in your area!

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  • Veterans Launching Ventures

    The Veterans Launching Ventures program put on by the Rothman Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a ten-week entrepreneurship course for veterans to prepare “vetrepreneurs” in the art of business planning, and is fully funded by the Walmart Foundation, TD Charitable Foundation, and Bank of America.

    The course teaches key business planning skills and helps veterans with financial forecasting, marketing, and how to raise capital for a startup. Part of the Silberman College of Business since 1989, the mission of the Rothman Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to teach and support entrepreneurship and innovation in the academic, business, and nonprofit communities. An outstanding entrepreneurship curriculum taught by an excellent faculty has helped make the academic program among the top 20 in the nation (as ranked by the Princeton Review).

    An example of one of the graduates who completed the course, a Marine Veteran, Tom Wicklow, shows how successful the educational experience was. Tom is a graduate of the Spring 2016, 10-week Veterans Launching Ventures (VLV) program offered by Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.

    Tom was planning on buying a franchise called “Let Mommy Sleep”, which provides overnight newborn care and other support to new parents. The franchisor is a Bristow, VA based company that currently has one other franchisee in Philadelphia. Tom, a resident of New Jersey, plans to address the northern New Jersey market, but needed more guidance about the entrepreneurial process of starting a franchise.

    As Tom expressed ,he has benefited in many way by taking the course,

    “Taking the program made a huge difference in my understanding of what needs to be done to successfully launch my business. I realized that I was not as prepared as I thought I was, prior to taking the program. It forced me to do the due diligence and work required before launching the business. In particular, the program helped me develop a business plan, including a marketing strategy and a financial plan. It also helped me with my presentation skills.”

    The FDU’s mentor program also benefited Tom by finding the right mentor,

    “Charlie Faure, SCORE Mentor, was instrumental in helping me evaluate the franchise agreement. His 30+ years of franchise experience left no doubt that his recommendations held water. And during the evaluation process, his guidance helped me further understand the potential of the business. I have every intention of keeping Charlie on my team for as long as he is willing, as I’m sure I will rely on his advice in the future. By utilizing a wealth of educational information you get from working with SCORE, I would say the value of this course was incredible.”

    Thanks to the support of Walmart Foundation, TD Charitable Foundation, and Bank of America, Veterans can take this course for free and benefit from the resource partnerships that have been established to support the participants of “Veterans Launching Ventures” program.

    The next course begins on October 6th. For more information, please visit www.fdu.edu/vlv or call 973-443-8842.

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