Brandon Clifford is an entrepreneur on a mission to change the lives of others by introducing them to their dream franchise.
He is a serial entrepreneur with experience building businesses from the ground up. Brandon is the President of T & B Clifford Restaurant group and takes his expertise and experience as an entrepreneur to help other like-minded individuals looking to make their dreams of owning a business come true. Global Franchise Solutions represents 400 of the world’s leading franchises and seeks to match those individuals with the company that will help them meet their personal and financial goals.
I chatted with Brandon about his business and what franchising can offer the military community, especially for those who want to be entrepreneurs, but want to work with an already established brand.
Jenny: What is franchising?
Brandon: By definition, a franchise is when one company licenses the use of its product, services, strategies, and systems to another party. In essence, it is simply people helping people in business. Every franchise starts with a proven business model that works, and is looking to expand. Instead of opening more “corporate” locations, this business chooses to take on investors, coaching and guiding them to open a similar business in their local market in exchange for a royalty.
Jenny: Why is franchising a good option for veterans and military spouses?
Brandon: Franchising allows an individual to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves. By partnering with someone who has experience in a given industry, it allows people the opportunity to have a much faster ramp up than if they tried to start a business from the ground up. Many franchises have found that military veterans make their best franchisees, and because of that, the VetFran initiative was formed. There are over 650 brands that participate in this, and many offer discounted franchise fees and specialized financing for Vets.
Jenny: What skills do you need to be a good franchise owner?
Brandon: General business aptitude is important, but really, being trainable, coach-able, and having a “can do” mentality is really what it takes. You also need to be the kind of person that is looking to partner with an established system and be part of something larger than your single unit.
Jenny: What military skills translate to franchise ownership?
Brandon: Leadership, an understanding of teams, and teamwork are important. In addition, the idea that you’re a piece of the puzzle, but not the whole picture, and that you have a specific role to play in order to complete a much larger objective.
Jenny: How much does a franchise cost?
Brandon: Franchises come in all shapes and sizes, and budget is something that I address early in the process with all of my clients. It is almost impossible to put an exact number on the “cost of a franchise” because there are over 3,000 franchise opportunities across 80 industries. A work from home, consulting, or business coaching franchise might only cost $10,000 – $20,000, but there are large, full scale restaurants that are in the $500,000 and up range too. So it really depends on the person, and what they are looking for.
Jenny: What makes franchising different from other types of business ownership?
Brandon: Starting a business is much like climbing a mountain. And yes, one can definitely climb a mountain with no map and no trail if they like. However, many would prefer some sort of trail, perhaps a map, maybe a trail guide, and some would even prefer a paved road that you can follow to get to the top of that mountain fast!
While a start-up business has its merits and you might feel great about conquering the mountain “on your own,” there are many others who would rather not be quite as exhausted when they reach that summit, potentially being able to spend more time enjoying the view at the top, rather than the climb.
Jenny: Is there less freedom in franchising versus other types of entrepreneurship?
Brandon: Absolutely not. A good franchisor is looking for franchisees that will be good business partners and that will grow the brand. While they do not want you trying to change all of their systems and menus, most encourage local owners to “own their market” and be the brand ambassador in their local area.
Jenny: How can veterans and military spouses get involved in franchising?
Brandon: To start any business, you need to begin by taking a step back and understand how a business investment will fit into your lifestyle. Then, formulate a set of goals and must-haves in a business. Do some research and due diligence on franchises that fit in your budget and are good matches for your skill set. This is all part of my process and what I focus on helping with as a franchise consultant. I have many tools to help my clients do this very easily and quickly.
Jenny: How do you know if you’re a good fit to start a franchise?
Brandon: If you want to have autonomy in your career, but also have the safety net of partnering with an industry expert, you are a fit for franchising! The best thing to do is to work with a qualified franchise consultant who will help you and guide you through the process.
Jenny Hale is a marketing and social media consultant, coach, and teacher for military spouse and veteran business owners. Nicknamed “The Military Social Media Guru,” she uses her background working with military non-profits, corporate companies, the Army, and as an entrepreneur to help others struggling to meet their business dreams. With the goal of bridging the gap between the military community’s marketing efforts to civilians and vice versa, Jenny works to make an entrepreneur’s vision come to life. You can follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.