Lately the franchise industry has created some momentum with transitioning military into franchise opportunities. Pretty much everyone seems to think that the discipline and commitments to mission in the military will convert easily into success in the business world.
There’s also a lot focus in the media lately on how a great percentage of transitioning service members are afflicted with PTSD and “all that entails”. PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, can elicit silent responses of fear, pity and other unfounded conclusions from the general public. Traumatic Stress has of course been with society from the dawn of civilization and can crush the spirit out of any affected person. Everyone can and should empathize with the pain of this trauma but no one should generalize about how anyone’s condition could negatively affect a person, and especially how service men and women with Soldier’s Heart might perform in the franchise arena.
I prefer to call PTSD “Soldiers Heart” as it was referred to after the Civil War. Back then there were no estimates of those affected and most likely just silence as to whether a returning soldier with Soldiers Heart could run a successful business. Back then, and probably in most cases now, Soldiers Heart just always loomed as permanent sadness and most just carried the burden while they dealt with the everyday pressures (both successes and failures)of life.
We live in an “acronym” labeled society where individuals with various short and long term conditions are unfortunately not judged by the sum of their parts. Soldiers Heart can of course be debilitating at its worst but as an asset if one considers the strength it takes to manage that condition. In my own family, a WW II combat veteran bore the burden of Soldiers Heart alone but was strong enough to build a successful business which helped educate 11 children. One of the unseen strengths of the Greatest Generation was how they carried there Soldiers Hearts with dignity and always strived to complete their missions in life, especially their commitments to family and business. Our latest heroes will do the same. They have borne the battle in war and can easily manage the competitive challenges of a franchise opportunity.
One of the most important things franchisors evaluate when considering a franchise candidate is whether the person has the support of their families. If a Veteran has the determination and creativity to grow, change and deal with difficult problems then that Veteran probably has the strength to handle typical adversity presented when implementing a new franchise. The Veteran network and support systems available today for Veterans with disabilities are unparalleled and greatly extend multiple business mentoring opportunities. Programs like the SBA’s Boots to Business Reboot and the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), VETtoCEO offer both individual and family business assistance and networking advantages which can mitigate risks for Veterans and Franchisors as well.
Veterans with Soldiers Heart couldn’t control what happened to them, but they can and do control their attitudes now and can master change rather than let change master them. So if they can meet basic financial and other franchise system requirements, they just may have a secret weapon for success.
And speaking of secret weapons, most with Soldiers Heart would be eligible for VA financial support to acquire or develop a franchise concept. Veterans can apply for eligibility status for Chapter 31 benefits online. Once confirmed they then develop their self-employment plan which can be anywhere from $10,000 to even $100, 000 for those deemed to have Category I status. If self-employment is deemed the most appropriate career goal, then VRE financial support can go a long way showing banks and other investors that the Veteran has extra “skin the game”. However the Chapter 31 process can be arduous and time consuming at VA so patience is an essential quality needed.
However, if you’ve got a Soldier’s Heart crisis or see one that needs immediate attention, call 1-800-273-8255 24/7. If, like most Veterans, your already managing with your Soldiers Heart and need to move forward to examine an opportrunity, just contact me.
Jim Mingey Phone: 202-349-0860