Life After Service: Transitioning from the Military into Business Ownership with Signal 88 Security

Originally Published on on May 2, 2018

For every military service member, the time eventually comes to return to the civilian job force or retire. This can be a hard transition for many, especially for those who have been serving for a long time.

Concerns quickly pile up: “What will I do? Where will I work? How will my experience translate in the job force?”

There are many programs designed to ease these concerns and the armed forces have been ramping up their efforts to help make the transition easier, but it is still not enough in most cases. The key is to have a plan in place long beforehand so that you can be prepared for life after out-processing.

A fitting example of this is Chris and Rhonda Woody, owners of Signal 88 Security of El Paso, Texas. They launched their Signal 88 franchise in 2015 with the intent of building the business while Chris is on active duty so that his income could be replaced when he retires.

“I didn’t want to wait until I retired to figure it out, I wanted to get something set up and start growing it now,” said Chris.

“I heard about Signal 88 in Entrepreneur Magazine and it was listed as a veteran-friendly franchise so I decided to check it out. Business ownership is something I’m passionate about and have always wanted to do.”

Chris, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Military Police, credits his 32-year military career with giving him the skills and confidence to launch into the business world.

“My military experience has helped me in the security capacity because I know the lines between official police business and security. Also, being a lieutenant colonel has helped me hone my leadership and team-building skills, which are important when starting a business.”

While business ownership is one of Chris’ passions, priority #1 is still the Army.

“I can’t effectively run my businesses while I’m active duty and fully devoted to the Army, so my wife, Rhonda, runs the business in the meantime. At first, I wanted to hire a sales person while I’m gone to help grow our revenue, but the franchise group recommended that someone with more ‘skin in the game’ handle it. Since Rhonda is co-owner of the business, she began handling most of the sales and operations and does a great job at it.”

“I have operations managers to help me,” explains Rhonda, “but I handle majority of the sales and operations aspects. I’m seen as the face of Signal 88 in El Paso.”

Both Chris and Rhonda have learned that the early days of entrepreneurship are no cakewalk, but they are confident the challenge will be worth it.

Rhonda explains, “I’m busy basically 24/7 being a business owner and a parent of four kids. It’s important to take some time for yourself and realize that you’re building something for the future.”

Chris added, “All service members should realize that they need a plan in place for what comes after their service. If you start a business, it’s important to build it early and realize that you need to be saving money for surprise costs.

Servicemen and women all understand the idea of providing security and should have training in that aspect. Signal 88 builds on that by giving owners a more technologically advanced way of doing it with a process to build a healthy business. This combination, along with the skills gained in the military, helps Signal 88 owners separate themselves from the competition.

To learn more about franchising with Signal 88, please visit