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Franchising after the forces

Franchising after the forces

Ex-military personnel make great franchisees, thanks to their highly transferable skills and compatible values. Meet five franchisors providing fantastic opportunities for service leavers looking for a rewarding and autonomous new career

Why go into franchising after a military career? The fact that you may never have run a business before needn’t come into it. Franchisors are always keen to speak to service leavers because the skillsets and principles required for a career in the armed forces transfer so well to running a franchise – such as a can-do attitude, attention to detail and perseverance, among many values.

In fact, according to the British Franchise Association (bfa), the concept of franchising could’ve been designed specifically for service-leavers, which is why the bfa has published its Life After The Military download in partnership with Civvy Street magazine, exploring the ins and outs of business format franchising for those who have left or are leaving the military.

You can download a free copy from thebfa.org, but in the meantime take a look at five franchise brands which offer great packages for ex-servicemen and women.

1. Countrywide Signs needs you!

Countrywide Signs is looking for more than just a hands-on ability for erecting signs when it comes to recruiting new franchisees. It’s also searching for people with a strong work ethic – determined, committed, disciplined and organised – all qualities possessed in abundance by ex-military personnel.

The Countrywide Signs franchise model provides its veteran franchisees with the structure they’re accustomed to, along with the freedom to be a successful business owner in property sign management. In addition, support and tools are provided to enable franchisees to turn over a decent profit, through its network of existing accounts and in-house franchise experts.

Perhaps best of all, the business model has two aims: to quickly generate cash flow to give you the lifestyle you want and secondly to grow an asset to sell in the future, providing you with a long-term return on your original £10,000 minimum investment, of which almost 50 per cent will be channelled back into your business.

For a total investment of around £22,950 - £35,000 plus VAT (Countrywide Signs has partnerships with leading franchise lenders offering up to 70 per cent of investment) you can start with a one van operation enjoying 55-65 per cent profit on your turnover, and expand into a multi-van business with a turnover potential of £250,000 per annum.

Overheads are minimal, and if you follow the proven franchise business model – as well as take full advantage of all the support available – profit, business growth and your future retirement will be secured.

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2. Become a travel entrepreneur

With unrivalled support from an award-winning team, ex-military personnel can build their own fully bonded, online travel agency brand from home, tailored to the destinations and types of holidays they’re interested in while enjoying the autonomy and rewards that come from owning and running a business.

The Holiday Franchise Company is looking for personable individuals who have an inner drive to achieve success; people who are passionate about travel and skilled at building a rapport with others – attributes and skills already possessed by many leaving the armed forces. That’s why the award-winning franchise team has just launched its Life After a Military Career recruitment campaign, aimed at ex-servicemen and women who are able to offer great insight and personalisation to customers through their knowledge and experience.

For an investment range of £13,745-£15,795, The Holiday Franchise Company will help you to build a brand to your own vision, providing second-to-none support and training in every aspect of the travel business – from creating and maintaining a website, to marketing, sales, systems and much more – and operating in a way that feels more like a business partner than a franchise.

The process starts with a 30-minute open and honest one-to-one meeting to help determine whether you’ll make suitable partners going forward, so call Luke on 07387 586 620 to start outlining your business plan based on your personal interests.

3. Continue to serve, support and keep safe

Using all the skills gained in frontline active service as an army medic – and, of course, hard work – Silviu Pop, co-founder of domiciliary care staff provider SylvianCare, has developed a multi-million-pound turnover business, which is currently expanding through franchising.

Silviu knew that when he left the forces, he wanted to own a business which would not only give him financial benefits but would also benefit the local community. “Owning a business that cares for others has given me a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction,” says Silviu. “The same type of satisfaction that I used to get when helping my colleagues, or the communities where I was deployed.”

As a SylvianCare franchise owner, you benefit from tailored training and support, from finding suitable premises, business plans, funding, recruiting and business systems, to marketing and CQC inspections.

Currently, the initial cost of setting up a full territory is £27,000 + VAT, but the franchisor also offers HUB territories, smaller locations with a minimum population of 90,000 at a lower fee of £15,000 + VAT. Help with SylvianCare funding, including working capital, is available through HSBC and the company can also assist you to access funds through the government-backed Business Start-up Loan Scheme.

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4. The UK’s fastest growing fitness franchise

Originally British Military Fitness and rebranded as Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls in 2018, this fast-growing fitness franchise now has an even broader public appeal, improved business systems and a rapidly-growing network of highly professional franchisees across 100 locations, making BMF the leader in military fitness and the largest outdoor fitness business in Europe.

As a veteran-owned and managed company, BMF has a proven track record of helping ex-servicemen and women to start and scale their own fitness businesses, providing a community of like-minded professionals who share a passion for helping people get fit for life. Military skills and experience are very transferable to running a BMF franchise and enable you to be your own boss with the wider support of the BMF company and brand.

Startup costs vary from £30,000 to £150,000 due to a range of packages on offer, but they all provide access to world-class operating systems and marketing solutions, providing a complete set of tools needed for success. Low capital investment and low operating cost model can help you get into the game quickly, and with the Train Anywhere model, which includes outdoors, mobile, urban and digital training systems, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your business and dominate your local market.

Take on a new mission

If you’re ex-military and looking for a supportive business network, Belvoir lettings and property management franchise could be the smooth entry into civilian life that you’re looking for. Founded in 1995 by Mike Goddard, who himself served with the RAF as Wing Commander, the original franchise model was set up with the intention of providing former military personnel with new career opportunities.

“There are several ex-military personnel within Belvoir,” says Paul Wallace-Tarry, owner of Belvoir Shrewsbury and winner of the Belvoir Lifetime Achievement Award, who in the past 18 years has expanded his portfolio from 90 to 340 properties after nearly 30 years of service in the Royal Engineers. “Most people in my position want to continue leading something, so running your own business with the back-up and support of a Central Office team, is a natural career progression.”

Belvoir is flexible in matching franchisees with an opportunity that suits their financial position, offering tailormade ownership plans and providing support around finding the capital needed, which is typically in the region of £150,000-£200,000 depending on the area and franchise model chosen. Full training and support will be ongoing, as well as help in starting up, legislation, marketing and IT. Belvoir says that franchisees have a 97.6 per cent chance of success, compared to only 50 per cent of independent new businesses, with some Belvoir franchisees achieving turnovers of £1m and more.

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