Many retired or former servicemembers have chosen to purchase a franchise or start a small business after their time in the military … and many are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and government response.
According to the International Franchise Association, 74% of franchise businesses closed their locations to follow local regulations and to protect their communities from the spread of the virus. The 26% that remained open were left to navigate uncharted social and economic territory, with 98% of business owners applying for some sort of government assistance.
These obstacles have touched many veterans, who are 45% more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans, according to the Small Business Administration.
VetFran, an organization that assists transitioning veterans with franchising opportunities and educates franchisors on the skills veterans can bring to the private sector, has been aggregating resources and sharing advice that can help guide veteran small business owners through this crisis.
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“Veteran business owners should be proactive and decisive in applying for aid when it is made available,” said Rikki Amos, Executive Director of the International Franchise Association (IFA) Foundation, the sponsor of VetFran. “The overwhelming demand for resources from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is indicative of the widespread need for assistance.”
What about those just starting their franchises, or considering a move into the sector?
“A transition out of the military has always marked a significant change for servicemembers,” Amos said. “Those who are transitioning now face even greater hurdles and uncertainty. [They should] remember that the support network of [Veteran Service Organizations] and nonprofits that exists normally is still here for them now.”
One thing is certain, Amos said: Businesses must ensure they follow all guidelines from all levels – federal, state, and local – that apply to their franchise.
“Veteran franchisees are incredibly adaptable, and many have risen to meet the challenge of coronavirus in new ways. Our nation’s veterans are prepared to weather any storm. The dedication, sense of duty, and knack for preparation and execution of procedures common to all former servicemen and women translates to an excellent business sense.”
No matter where you are in your career, MOAA can provide resources for you. For those seeking assistance and for those in the position to give, MOAA’s COVID-19 Relief Fund helps all veterans in need during the pandemic. Take advantage of member exclusive career resources including one on one resume critiques, interview preparation, job boards, and more by joining as a Premium or Life Member today.