In this article I’ll discuss several ways military Veterans are great for business ownership. When they discover how to apply the skills they’ve learned, the only option is success. The 5 attributes I have come up with are, they’re planners, they’re structured, they’re leaders, critical thinkers, and they’re persistent. The mission must succeed. These 5 stand out to me from my experience in the Army and as a business owner. I’ll put this article out in sections, each one focusing on one skill. If you’re a veteran or in business and have a story to share regarding a veteran in business and how these skills have been applied, put it in the comments below.
The Military trains us to be planners. Plan, plan, rehearse, plan it again, rehearse a few more times. From the pentagon down to the infantry squad, the same planning technique is used. The good ole 5 paragraph op order and you can’t forget MDMP (Military Decision Making Process). The military has given us planning habits and techniques that are perfect for the world of business, we just need a good place to apply it and we’ll thrive in any environment.
We are the epitome of planning, from the mission to murphy. This makes veterans great in small business and even more so in franchising. A franchise is a small business with a lot more structure. In any business we must have a plan, practice, and learn quickly from mistakes. I was told once that all rules were written in blood. In business, mistakes can be critical, you don’t just do push-ups and move out. It’s not training, and it can get real, fast. The good news is as a veteran you probably already learned most of these lessons, so when you transfer it to business you know to plan for it, and if a mistake happens, learn, adapt quickly and keep moving.
The first business plan I wrote was in the form of an OPORD (Operations Order). Of course it was altered slightly. When you think about it, the 5 paragraph OPORD can have all the elements needed of a business plan, just attach the financial graphs. When I wrote the draft, I sent it to my uncle who is a graduate of Wharton, he said, “I never saw one written like that, it’s unique, but it works, just replace the word enemy with competitor”. I changed most of it to civilian terminology, but it took me awhile to understand how to apply our skills. As a veteran the quicker you find a way to connect your skills to the business world, the quicker you’ll be a success.
Murphy’s law, if it can happen, it will happen, and in business or in the military we know it will happen. So we created PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency) and hoped that covered the majority of what Murphy throws at us. But, we plan for it, just like in business you have to plan for the unexpected, so it’s actually expected. Unless it’s Covid. Covid showed up and tried to top Murphy. Either way we plan, make sure you continue to grow your line of credit, know other ways your services or products can be used or sold. Remember, just like in your ruck sack how ounces equal pounds, pennies equal dollars. Being in a franchise during this time was much easier than a normal small business. Franchises much like veterans realized their soldiers needed support and rallied around them and found ways to survive as we fought the battles of Murphy and Corona. The military produces planners in a structured environment. Franchises are your structured environment in business, so use it to plan your success.