Franchising World April 2011
Snap-on has been recognized over the years as military and veteran friendly; however, the company stepped up its efforts over the past year to reach out to those who have served our country. In 2010, Snap-on had Jon Rucker, SMSgt (Ret), U.S.Air Force, join its team as a military program manager, and, in the year ahead, plans to further promote its affiliation with the International Franchise Association’s Veteran Transition Franchise Initiative, known as VetFran, in its outreach to military.
“We’ve actively promoted our VetFran affiliation over the years, but we see it as being more important than ever to military men and women who are looking to plan their future through franchise business ownership,” says Barrie Young, CFE, Snap-on’s president of sales and franchising. “Through VetFran we offer honorably discharged veterans a $20,000 discount on their initial inventory purchase, which is of great benefit to anyone starting a new business and a way for us to say ‘thank you for your service.’
Snap-on’s increased military recruitment efforts are working. In the past 12 months, it has started more than 40 franchisees out of the military, most of whom have taken advantage of the VetFran incentive. Snap-on sees these actions becoming even more important as an estimated 60,000 men and women are expected to return home with the drawdown in troops from the Middle East over the next five years.
With so many former military men and women entering civilian life, Rucker says franchise ownership is a good option for many reasons. “After spending 20 years in the Air Force, our culture tells us ‘we need to get a job after the military,’ but there’s hardly ever mention of the idea of going into business for ourselves. The Snap-on model in particular utilizes the very skills practiced in the military that make someone a good candidate to own and operate a business.”
“Airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Coasties practice effective leadership, communication, teamwork, following a system of instructions and problem solving when working to accomplish a mission. I firmly believe these skills are instrumental in successfully running a business,” Rucker adds.™ He practices these skills in his own work spreading the word to veteran’s organizations, transition offices, small-business associations and military bases about the Snap-on franchise opportunity and VetFran incentive.
Mike Moseman, a Snap-on franchisee in Columbus, Ohio, for just seven months, took advantage of the VetFran program when he left active duty in May of last year. The Texas native has a mechanics degree and used Snap-on tools working on Freightliner trucks and in his work at dealerships. In the Marine Corps for 22 years, he worked on heavy equipment and retired as a Gunnery Sergeant. He’s lived all over the world, but when he returned to the states, he did his homework regarding business and franchise opportunities.
“I first talked to a Snap-on recruiter, and they really helped make it a smooth transition,” Moseman, 40, says. “I would recommend anyone take a look around, talk to recruiters, and look at the veterans’ programs that are offered.”
“Walking in the door with Snap-on was like a welcome home. They offer us good programs, and really helped me get started in the business. I have lots of support and training,” Moseman adds. “The discipline and high-paced environment of the military makes this type of franchise a perfect fit.”
Rucker spends a great deal of time with individuals just like Moseman, and he says, “I encourage vets to investigate a franchise opportunity that fits what they’re interested in, see if they are financially, emotionally and physically qualified for the opportunity. Then I ask them to do their homework to discover all the ins and outs, including benefits such as VetFran.”
Here’s a sample of what Rucker tells men and women transitioning out of the military as they re-enter civilian work life:
• Get a job, work for someone else. There is security and less risk associated with going to work for a company or business.™ You put in 40 hours a week and collect a paycheck and in most cases are provided benefits. If you can find the “job of your dreams,” all’s well. However, most will settle for less than the dream job.
• Go into business for yourself. First, have a great idea, then develop a business plan, look for investors (since most of us do not have the cash flow necessary for a start-up), find a location for your business, develop advertising/ marketing plans, purchase hardware and software and the list becomes daunting. ™But, you do work for yourself; you’re the boss, and you have complete control, which also includes risk.
• Go into business for yourself by purchasing a franchise. A franchise takes a little from both examples above. It is an opportunity that comes with a systematic approach in place for owning and operating your own business.™ With an owner/operator franchise model, you own and work a business that is part of an established concept, and it should have the business model and tools available for you to purchase, train and implement. Rucker says, “Of the three options, franchising is the closest fit for long-term, military veteran success.™ We, who have lived in a military environment, are used to following a system of rules, often vector in this direction.” Rucker says, after his years of experience in the military, he decided to work for Snap-on because he believes in a company with a 90-year tradition of innovation. He also points to the company’s top brand rankings among technicians and its desire to offer honorably discharged veterans a discount on starting their own business, as reasons veterans often look to Snap-on.