US Vets Turning To Entrepreneurship After Service

Few would question the commitment of a military veteran, as the armed forces tend to demand much from a person; discipline, efficiency, a good work ethic, and being able to cooperate and communicate. All useful skills for being an entrepreneur and running   or other businesses, it turns out, as data from the US’s Small Business Administration suggests, which shows that about 9% (2.5 million) of all the businesses in the country.

Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families Director of Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses Misty Stutsman says that veterans start companies as their third career, with their research showing that vets leave service and then use their benefits to go to school, which results in them getting hired by companies. Once they get a good background in business, she says, that’s when vets start their own businesses.

Veterans start businesses in a variety of fields, but the more common ones cover finance and insurance, home services, construction, mining, oil and gas, real estate and travel, and the like.

One particular field that sees a lot of veterans is franchising. According to Franchise Business Review CEO Eric Stites, it’s because franchising has a business model that veterans are comfortable with; with rule books, systems, and operational procedures, not unlike those in the military.

According to Franchise Business Review’s data from their latest satisfaction survey, out of their sample size of 29,000 franchise owners, 85% enjoy being part of their franchise organization. Meanwhile, average annual income, after around two years of work, sits at $94,244. On top of all of that, two-thirds of the respondents stated that the opportunity for long-term growth looked very positive for them.

According to the International Franchise Association, 1 in 7 franchises are owned by veterans, covering fields like professional junk removal services, home servicing, and the like.

Radim Dragomaca, Director of VetFran, the IFA’s program for helping veterans start their businesses, explains that franchising skills fill gaps for vets who need somewhere to put their entrepreneurial skills to good use. Their franchises tend to do well, he added, due to the fact that vets are tenacious, disciplined, and are accustomed to long work weeks.