A few years ago I was researching franchises that focus on recruiting U.S. veterans as new franchisees. Many veterans retire from the military at a young age, and these franchisors feel that those who have served are uniquely qualified to run a small business. In fact, they believe so strongly in our veterans’ abilities that they offer enticing incentives to help them get started.

I spoke with one franchisee who had taken advantage of these incentives, and transitioned from a long and distinguished career in the Navy to successful small-business ownership. I asked him how his military service had prepared him for his new life.

His answer surprised me.

I was expecting him to say something about how the military had given him valuable training in leadership, team building and people management. Or, perhaps how the Navy had instilled discipline in him, and taught him to go beyond his limits.

He said none of these things.

“The military gives you a sense of mission,” he said.

While I paused to think about this, he went on to explain that the military teaches you to use every resource available to achieve your mission. It also never lets you forget that people’s lives depend on how well you perform your duties with respect to the mission.

It’s hard to imagine a better mindset for success as a small-business owner.

On this Veterans Day we thank — and honor — the men and women who have worked so hard in service to our country and the freedoms we hold dear.

They make it possible for the rest of us to follow our own mission.

Do you have a sense of mission at your small business?

 

Author: Barbara Taylor

Barbara is co-founder of Allan Taylor & Co. and a former New York Times blogger. She has been a small-business owner since 2003. Barbara lives with her husband, Chris, and their two sons in Northwest Arkansas.