Being a military spouse small business owner can be exciting and challenging all at the same time. You spend an exorbitant amount of time building up your client base only to be told the military wants you to move again and again. How long does it take you to recover your business after each move?
Here are 3 ways a military move can kill your small business and how to overcome these obstacles in less than 6 months.
You’ve spent a lot of time building up your client base and now you’re moving.
What is a military spouse small business owner to do?
You’ll have to start from the ground up once again to build your clientele list. This may sound daunting after all you’ve done to create your customer database, but that’s exactly what you need to do. The key to this is to jump right in when you get to your next duty station. Let people know that you are open for business.
Think about how you got started with your military spouse small business originally or how you got it going at your current duty station.
- What steps did you take to earn those clients?
- What marketing avenues did you utilize? Are those same avenues available for you to use again?
Don’t write off your clients at your former duty station right away. Before you leave your current town see if you can keep any of your clients.
Is your military spouse small business mostly online? In that case, the move might not hurt you at all. If you are able to continue working with your clients over the phone, through the internet or by mail, you might be able to keep them as well.
Do some research and see what you can work out. Call your clients and see if they are willing to work with you during this transition. If a customer is committed to you, they might just stick around.
Your Network and Support System
Networking is the key to success in business. As they say, it’s all about the people you know. Before you even pack your first box, get on the computer and check out your next duty station. Who are the other military spouse small business owners in your new town?
Contact your new command to see if they have a spouse liaison. She might be able to point you in the direction of other wives or husbands in the area that have small businesses.
Don’t be afraid to reach out. Pick up the phone or at least get online and talk to other military spouse small business owners. Ask them how the transition worked for them. They will be able to give you tips on how they got their businesses back to usual when they got to that military installation.
Networking and meeting new people will get you back in business in no time.
Get new business cards made and step out into new areas to network. You can use social media to meet fellow military spouse small business owners. Update or create an account on LinkedIn, a professional networking site. You can reach people on LinkedIn that you might not otherwise have met.
Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites can be good outlets. Create pages specifically separate from your personal accounts.
Make a website or have one made for your business. Buy your online real estate if you haven’t already done so. This entails creating accounts on many platforms that use your business name. This keeps others from using your business name and opens doors to both customers and networking.
You don’t have to do it all on your own. The Small Business Administration is available to military spouse small business owners. The same resources that are offered to active duty members who are transitioning out of the military and are interested in opening their own businesses are available to military spouses. This includes counseling and training, access to loans and disaster relief.
If you sell products, maintaining control of inventory during a move can be difficult for military spouse small business owners. We all know what can and often does happen to household goods during transit.
Will you be packing up and moving your own items or will you be letting the military send in a crew to do it for you?
Make sure you take careful stock of your inventory before packing begins. If movers are in charge, let them know upfront to be delicate with these items.
If they get damaged during transit, make sure to file a claim. Most insurance agencies have a timeline for filing damage reports so make sure you do it in a timely manner. Take photos of the damaged property. This can be useful in recouping costs. Save all of this information for tax season.