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From Battleground to Business

With a stop at White House

            ….for a little “TAP” along the way

Over 150 soldiers and marines were the first group to experience the BOOTS to BUSINESS REBOOT at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House .  Although the President didn’t make an appearance (apparently he had other business to attend to) he did send representatives from his Council of Economic Advisors. Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) delivered the keynote and a variety of small business experts provided quality presentations and advice for small business opportunities, including franchising.

The BOOTS to BUSINESS REBOOT has now been presented to Veterans in other major cities across the nation. So what is this TAP? It stands for Transitional Assistance Program which is made available to service members who are making the transition to civilian life. Now Veterans who already have gone through TAP can still choose the TAP entrepreneurial track and get access to BOOTS to BUSINESS REBOOT and many other small business resources. For instance, the REBOOT is administered by SBA so its networks of SCORE mentors and Small Business Development Center professions are made available. Veterans also have access to Veteran Business Outreach Centers to hone their business plans and network in local/regional markets. The Veterans Administration also offers an Entrepreneurial Portal with a section on Franchising that has special services just for Veterans. Although the Veterans were encouraged to find the right business idea, it was noted that first you have to know “WHO YOU ARE “because without a passion for your idea it could be experience rough waters ahead.

If the idea is a franchise concept, Veterans were advised they should drill down on five key aspects before they purchase:

1) Product or Service:

Is this something you would buy and be passionate about selling?

Would you offer it to family and friends proudly?

2) Profitability:

Don’t just accept the franchisor’s dream presentation! Look at their past performance and  actually call several franchisees to verify that they’re making money.

Do their newer units cost more than ones built during the most recent growth spurt, and, if so,  how long does it take to get your money back at your cost of investment?

3. Culture:

How does the franchisor treat the franchisee?

Is the franchisee just a cog in a big system or is he/she treated as a real and equal partner?

Is it a team approach?

4. Depth of Support:

Are you confident that their back office operations are sufficient now and can grow to support  an expanding franchise system?

Are support plans current reality rather prospective ideas?

5. Leadership:

What is their vision?

Do they really know their own competition and how they plan to be the ongoing force in their marketplace?

Veterans like all other entrepreneurs must delve into these questions before making their final decision to act on purchasing any franchise.

Veterans Business Services will be presenting on franchising at the BOOTS to BUSINESS in Annapolis, Maryland on September 3rd.  For more about BOOTS to BUSINESS REBOOT go to www.boots2businessreboot.org .

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