Five Similarities Between Franchising and the Military

By David E. Omholt, a franchise advisor with Veteran Franchise Centers (VFC) – a RecruitMilitary strategic partner. VFC offers a free service to veterans looking to learn more about the franchise buying process and options in the market. Omholt is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) and a frequent speaker on the subject of franchising on talk shows, at industry conferences, and on college campuses. He has been both a franchise licensor and a franchise licensee.

The challenge of finding the right civilian career after years of military service can be difficult. But veterans can use their military training to advantage. They have been trained within a tight set of rules to serve and protect their country at any cost, and they have developed skills in process-following, problem-solving, and teamwork. So if they seek a civilian work environment that closely resembles a military setting, they can set themselves up for successful and rewarding careers.

While nothing in a normal business environment can truly represent the unfathomably dangerous and challenging situations faced by many military personnel, franchising closely resembles the military in several ways. From structure, systems, and processes to goal-oriented missions, problem-solving under pressure, and close-knit relationships, franchising is a close replica of the military. And thousands of veterans have transitioned into franchising in recent years.


At the core of the franchise model’s success is its unique structure, which resembles that of a military unit. In the military, there is a clear chain of command with well-defined responsibilities, assignments, and duties. There are rules to be followed, and consequences for those who fail to follow them. These rules exist, of course, to ensure maximum success.

In franchising, the franchisor – acting as a central command – owns the brand, but sells the rights to various franchisees to operate individual locations. While each franchisee operates like a sergeant overseeing his or her team, the franchisee still follows the rules and carries out the responsibilities outlined in the franchise agreement.


In franchising, a set of well-established processes helps ensure widespread success across all individual franchise locations. In the military, a successful mission is attainable when all personnel meticulously adhere to all commands.

Tied-and-true processes are at the heart of a franchise system. The franchisee learns the processes, and then becomes responsible for ensuring that his or her employees are trained to operate within these systems as efficiently as possible. When a system is fully optimized, franchisees are much more likely to reap the rewards of their investment.


Franchising also mirrors the military in its goal-oriented approach. Like that of most other small businesses, the main goal of a franchise is long-term profitability. And to achieve that goal, the franchisee needs to complete a series of immediate and short-term missions. This goal orientation helps break the journey down, piece by piece, to ensure that the details of running the business are well taken care of.

For starters, setting simple initial goals – and achieving them efficiently – is key for new franchisees. An example could be setting a certain revenue goal in the first three months, finding a better way to complete and track quality control, or finding cheaper suppliers.

Just as in the military, these short- and long-term goals help drive motivation – while all members of the team follow clear, regimented processes.


The problems faced in franchising cannot possibly compare with those of military combat. But they can be similar – very complex and requiring quick thinking and quick action.

Veterans are well prepared for such problems. They react to unforeseen circumstances calmly and effectively, and quickly find solutions to the problems at hand. Their reactions can prevent major breakdowns in operations, customer service, supply chain management, and quality control, heading off long-term business damage.


But the greatest similarity between franchising and the military may be one of camaraderie. A franchise, like a military unit, can operate like a big family – with franchisees often calling one another for advice. In addition, it is common for franchisees to have relationships with their franchisors as well, and be able to lean on them for support and guidance when needed.

So if you join the thousands of other veterans who have invested in franchises recently, there is a high chance that some of them will be among the many comrades with whom you will share your experiences and form bonds.

By David E. Omholt

This article appeared in the July-August 2015 issue of Search & Employ Magazine