Hard to believe that being a Marine and owning a direct mail marketing business have anything in common but they do. Just ask 37-year-old, Marine Corps veteran Mike Lozier.
For 15 years, the former leatherneck traveled the world. Lozier was stationed everywhere from Maryland, where he worked for the National Security Agency, to Tunisia, where he served as a member of an elite Radio Reconnaissance Platoon. All the while he served with one mission in mind: to serve his country.
Though his duties were seemingly limitless, Lozier embraced each and every challenge thrown his way because being a Marine wasn't just a job -- it was a way of life. And, when he left the service he promised himself that he would find a new career that echoed the teachings and philosophies of this important chapter in his life.
Lozier retired from active duty in May 2007 and stayed true to his former pledge when he and his wife, Robyn, purchased a Valpak franchise in northeast New Jersey in 2006. The business had been in Robyn's family for 30 years, and she was a sales rep for the organization for a decade in northern Virginia before moving back to the Garden State to continue the family legacy.
Now as he aims to step out of his in-laws' shadows and build a business he can truly call his own, Lozier finds himself delving back into his military training on a daily basis.
"I know many people will probably think military experience would not lend itself to direct mail marketing ? but beneath the surface, they're actually very much alike," said Lozier.
"Managing a sales force is a lot like leading a platoon because everyone must work together, take orders and seamlessly execute their tasks in order for the mission or business to be deemed a success. It does take some getting used to -- especially if you've been in the service for as long as I have -- but the end result is well worth all the hard work," he added.
Lozier is indeed a perfect fit for Valpak. Franchisees are expected to be "on the street and not in the office," working with business owners who rely on the business to get their message to consumers.
Sales representatives can be added as the business grows, but most successful Valpak Franchisees are "hands-on" owners, committed to customer service and maintaining the standards of the franchise network. The Valpak franchise model is particularly well suited for couples in non-metropolitan markets - another reason the Loziers enjoy so much success. "Even though Valpak is a big company, we try to conduct business with the feel of a small company and cut through any bureaucracy. We want new franchisees to feel good about Valpak and have that attitude carry through to our existing franchisees," said Valpak President Joe Bourdow.
"What makes our franchising opportunity unlike many others is that the market really doesn't make any difference - it's really a question of whether an individual is the right person for the market. If you are a successful salesperson who is interested in being a part of your small community and helping other businesses grow, this is a wonderful opportunity. You'll probably work out of your home, be your own boss and have the tremendous resources of Valpak behind you," Bourdow added.
As for Mike and Robyn, they use this support system to their advantage as they watch their business grow. With roughly a quarter of a million active-duty servicemembers transitioning out of the military each year, these individuals will look for a fresh start -- like Lozier was -- and can and should consider becoming their own bosses.
"Those with military experience have all the necessary tools to succeed as business owners. They're natural leaders but need to be willing to set their ranks aside and learn from those around them," explained Lozier.
"Asking for help doesn't make you weak?it actually makes you, and your business, much stronger in so many ways."