Making a Career Change: From the Armed Forces to Franchising

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Forces to franchising

The challenging, rewarding and invigorating experience of serving in the armed forces can lead many military personnel to contemplate business ownership when making a career change. This idea makes sense; lots of the skills needed to fight for Queen and country are also vital for running a franchise unit. 

In this article, we’re exploring the benefits of franchising for ex-military personnel and why you should consider running your own business under the model if you’re leaving the armed forces. 

Why franchising is a good opportunity for former military personnel

Here are some of the qualities franchisors look for in their investors - chances are, you’ve already got them. 


Loyalty is a key requirement for both the military and the franchise model. Franchisors want to appoint investors who will stay committed to their business. 

Franchisees essentially join someone else’s company and promise to run a unit with the care they’d have if it were their own. Franchisors will be looking for investors who are committed to the company’s long-term growth and act with its best interests in mind. They’ll want to find someone who is trustworthy, dependable and passionate about becoming a franchisee. 


Many people think franchising is easy because you invest in a proven model and get ongoing support from a team of experts. Sadly, although the franchise industry can offer a fast-track pass to business ownership, the journey to profitability isn’t necessarily trouble-free. The vast majority of franchisees come up against challenges along the way, and must have the ability to stay strong when faced with difficulties. 

The strong work ethic and high level of personal discipline needed to run a business are qualities often found in ex-military personnel. Those who have served in the armed forces are used to working long hours, remaining calm under pressure and making personal sacrifices to see success. 

The ability to follow instructions

The success of a franchise depends on the franchisees’ ability to adhere to the business’s model. The franchisor will have worked hard to perfect their strategies, iron out any creases and build up the business over the years. They know what works and what doesn’t, and investors who fail to uphold the franchise’s standards risk damaging the reputation of the entire network. 

As an ex-forces franchisee, you’ll have lots of experience in sticking to a system. You’ve probably learnt to take orders and criticism with respect, which will help you reach your goals in the franchise industry.

Financial responsibility 

Here’s an attribute you may not have previously considered: financial acumen. If you’ve held a position of leadership in the armed forces, you may have been given the responsibility of managing money. Often, squad leaders are responsible for handling large sums and allocating thousands of pounds of government funding. 

As a franchisee, you’ll have to be a savvy investor. Not only will you be asked to make a significant initial payment, but you’ll probably also have to budget for ongoing monthly fees, which come out of your sales revenue. Knowing how to manage capital effectively and allocate resources will help you impress your franchisor. 


Franchisors want franchisees who can take their business model and run with it. Although they provide ongoing support systems, they won’t be happy if you can’t work without supervision. Franchisees must be self-sufficient, able to take responsibility for the day-to-day running of their unit(s) and think on their feet when problems arise. 

The armed forces put an emphasis on completing tasks to the best of your abilities, no matter what obstacles you face, and this will serve veterans well in the world of franchising. 

Leadership and teamwork

Franchisees occupy a position underneath the franchisor but above any staff they employ. They’re also part of an extensive network of investors, and must be able to work towards a collective goal. Effective communication is crucial, as franchisees must be able to convey information to others in the franchise. 

Most military personnel learn to work efficiently in a team environment, as well as excel in leadership roles. As someone who has been in the armed forces, it’s likely you’ll know how to get the most out of employees and motivate and inspire them when the pressure is on. 

Tech literacy

Certain careers in the armed forces offer the chance to develop highly coveted computer skills, from technical writing to software code debugging. If you have any expertise in this area, you’ll probably be an attractive candidate for franchisors. 

While you don’t need to be a tech whizz to become a franchisee, having extra skills will help you implement techniques to grow your unit quickly and safely. From managing accounts and introducing cyber security to establishing remote working solutions, there are plenty of opportunities to use tech in franchising. 

High standards

Franchisors are on the lookout for investors who take pride in a job well done. If you can display a sense of honour and integrity, as someone who has been in the military often does, you’ll probably catch their attention. 

When you strive to make the right choices for your franchisor, employees and customers, it’s likely your business will not only be successful, but valued by those around you too. Prioritising fair and ethical practices is a highly respected approach in the franchising world, and one that’s championed by the British Franchise Association (BFA). 

Energy and enthusiasm

When you sign a franchise contract, you’ll probably be agreeing to represent the brand for at least five years, so you must be sure you can keep up momentum. Being the owner of a franchise unit can be tough at times, and having bags of energy will help you power through. 

People who retire from the military have an average age of 40, which means they probably still have the stamina to take on a new venture with gusto. The ability to pour your energy and enthusiasm into a franchise unit is highly desirable for franchisors, who have spent a lot of time and money getting their business off the ground. 

Making a career change by running a franchise unit

If you’d like to launch your own business under a brand with a tried and tested model, why not start your franchise search today? You can find the best investment opportunities to suit your passion, skillset and budget by browsing our business directory or navigating your options from the main menu.

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