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From Nuclear Subs to Cardboard Boxes: A Veteran’s Take on Applying a Military Mindset to Small Business

As we step into the early days of November, I find myself running the logistics of the coming holiday period thru my mind. Today I ordered POS labels, thermal tape, Next Day Air envelopes, pouches and ink for my postage meter. Next, I have the entire inventory of my business to review and will need to place re-stocking orders before the holiday rush starts.

With this being my second holiday season as a The UPS Store owner, I find myself calm as I go through the steps to get ready.

I am a Veteran. In my youth, I spent 12 very good years working on and serving on U.S. Navy nuclear submarines. I operated and maintained the computers that programmed and launched the submarine-based ICBMS that stood by unused during the Cold War days.

Last week, my franchise consultant and I were reviewing my holiday plans and we both ended up laughing that my days in the Navy are paying off. When asked why I was so calm about the approaching season, I told him that I have been able to convert most of the work in my business into procedures. Somewhat like medical or military procedures for working on nuclear weapons, my procedures can be trained, they are repeatable, and the end results are a job that meets the objective and are consistent between associates at my center. I told him that I run my business like a paramilitary operation. If something goes wrong, as a team, we pull out the procedure and review it for change or further training. Our goal is for all of us to get it right. It is working well for me; I am in a college town and have 11 associates trained and working this season, many of whom are students at Seton Hall University.

As we celebrate Veterans Day, once again I didn’t get to take that day off. Rather, I woke up, put on my uniform, and am working at my The UPS Store, fine tuning the associate training to meet the days ahead. Clearly, my military days and learned disciplines are paying off for me, in all places, The UPS Store, South Orange, New Jersey.

George Berkeley took advantage of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, known as “VetFran,” which helps veterans transition to civilian life. VetFran, a voluntary effort of IFA member-companies, is designed to encourage franchise ownership by offering financial incentives to honorably discharged veterans. At present, nearly 400 franchise companies participate in the program. Qualifying veterans receive $10,000 off the franchise fee of a new The UPS Store location and 75% off the initial application fee (applied toward the total franchise fee). To learn more and to hear from three additional veterans, visit www.theupsstorefranchise.com/vetfran/.

Category: Business Insights
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    Comments [2]

  1. Excellent! I seemed to have pulled my nuc (surface)
    training along with me too as I now write procedure
    manuals for insurance agencies. Unfortunately sometimes
    agents aren’t as open to training and doing something
    differently than they have been for the past 20 or so years!

  2. The US Army was the best management school that a
    young officer could go to. The Army taught me
    management and training skills I can use in civilian life.

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