By Brian Miller, The Entrepreneur’s Source

The career market of today is very different than the last few decades. It is certainly not like our parents’ generation when they went to work for a company for 20-30 years and expected to retire with full benefits. We are living in a time which is referred to as the New Career Economy®. This powerful force has emerged as a result of an increasing number of individuals choosing to ride the wave of the economy’s recovery through entrepreneurship, accepting the challenge of starting or buying their own business. More and more individuals are looking to control their own destiny by becoming self-sufficient. Most understand it’s not going to be big business and corporations that will lead us into economic recovery, it’s the small business owner.

As our service men and women return stateside, many of them are facing a tight employment market with a saturation of willing candidates. Unemployment among veterans is running at 11.7 percent and 22 percent for veterans under age 25. For many veterans, taking control of their own destiny through business ownership is the only way to satisfy their desired income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals. Veterans who turn to entrepreneurship and franchising are amazed at the cultural similarities they discover between the franchise industry and their experience in the military.

With its established, proven business model, ongoing training and support, scalability, and need for operational execution and excellence, franchising has proven to be an ideal structure for returning veterans to smoothly transition back into civilian life and the working world. In fact, one out of every seven franchise businesses are owned and operated by veterans of the U.S. military, according to a recent study from the International Franchise Association (IFA). To put this into perspective, there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the United States, which provide jobs directly for 815,000 Americans and generate more than $41 billion in GDP.

Moreover, many franchisors look for veterans as they make excellent franchisees—the skills veterans developed in the military are completely transferable, especially for the franchise industry. Franchisees must follow a prescribed operating system to be successful and military personnel are trained to follow standard operating procedures. The military molds their members into admirable leaders who follow a prescribed code of conduct, creating budding entrepreneurs who can return to the business world with the necessary tools to operate within the guidelines of an established franchise business model.

To show gratitude for their time in service, many franchisors offer a discount to qualified military veterans through their partnership with the IFA’s Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, which is commonly known as VetFran. VetFran is designed to help veterans transition back into civilian life and explore opportunities in franchise ownership. More than 800 franchise companies currently participate in this program.

As the economy recovers, our service men and women can be in a position to take advantage of opportunities and build a future for themselves and their family through entrepreneurship. While economic growth is projected to be slow, the economy will recover and the beneficiaries of that will be the small business person. A franchise offers a brand name, operating system and ongoing support/training and coaching—the perfect recipe for veterans to successfully start and maintain a thriving business and become self-sufficient as they transition into civilian life.

Brian Miller is the COO and President of The Entrepreneur’s Source, North America’s leading career and franchise business coaching company with more than 230 offices in the United States and Canada. As a twenty-two year veteran in franchising, Brian also serves on the executive management team for the other national brands that fall under FranchisEsource Brands International (FSBI) including AdviCoach, Business Partner Marketing Coach, Expense Reduction Consulting®, Decor & You, www.FranchiseSearch.com, www.FranchiseMatch.com. Brian can be reached at brian@FranchiseSource.com.