by Hannah Becker, Guest Contributor
Entrepreneurship offers the military spouse many opportunities. Entrepreneurship can eliminate the dreaded job search following (yet another) PCS and provide a nice sense of professional stability throughout a move (when everything else has gone haywire).
Business ownership is a great way to meet new people through community and industry events and often provides the much needed schedule autonomy to “settle in” your new location.
But what about moving your business?
Even if your business is geographically-independent, like a web-based business, there are many different legal and outsourced operations that must be addressed following a PCS.
Moving a household can sometimes seem like hard enough; never mind a business!
Don’t get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the transition. By prioritizing your transition needs and connecting with the right people, moving your business can be a (rather) painless process.
Here are 6 tried and true tips for the military spouse entrepreneur moving a business:
1. Check the Regs
Different places have different set of regulations regarding what type of paperwork and licenses are required for operating businesses. Call your new state’s Secretary of State Office to see what you need to transfer regarding business registration, sales tax, etc. Also, call city hall to find out if a business license is required for your transferred venture.
2. New Headquarters
Maybe you run your business out of your basement or guest bedroom. Maybe your company requires a downtown office suite. Whatever your set-up, prioritize office organization over unpacking Grandma’s Hummel collection. Sooner your company is up and running, the sooner life in a new city will feel “normal.”
Shared work spaces are becoming more and more the norm. Following our last move, I was unsure as to what my office needs would entail, so I spent a month renting a cozy desk at shared office space. It was a great way to meet fellow entrepreneurs and professionals and due to the high concentration of like minds, the building also doubled as meeting space for local business groups. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone!
3. Assess Market Differences
Every new location presents a new culture. Having worked in many different parts of the country, I can assure you that New England consumers differ greatly than those on the California coast or antebellum south, and vice versa.
What marketing technique worked in your previous location may not be as effective in your new marketplace. Talk to other local business owners, watch how they promote their businesses and embark on a controlled “trial and error” campaign to reach consumers in your new community.
4. Join Local Chambers
Local Chambers of Commerce provide a wealth of resource and networks for area business owners. Check out the chamber in your new area and get “plugged in” to your local community.
Depending on your business needs, the chamber can help connect you with new clients, inform you of localized resources to help grow your business and advocate for small business needs in your area.
Marketing, philanthropic and networking opportunities are just a few of the many resources Chambers of Commerce have to offer.
5. Check Out Entrepreneur Circles
Ask your local Economic Director or Chamber President for a listing of entrepreneurial or professional groups in your new area. Try a few and find the one that most floats your boat.
Here are a few of my favorite groups and their mission statements:
- 1 Million Cups. It’s a free, weekly national program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs.
- National Association of Women Business Owners. NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries; and boasts over 5,000 members and 60 chapters across the country
- LeanIn Circles. Lean In Circles are small groups who meet regularly to learn and grow together. Circles are as unique as the individuals who start them, but they all share a common bond: the power of peer support. In Gear Career is an official partner of LeanIn.org.
- The Milspo Project. We are a community of hard working, military spouse entrepreneurs, who desire to take charge in our local communities, grow roots where we are planted, and press on to create thriving businesses and satisfying lives, despite some of the sacrifices we make because of our service members’ jobs.
- Levo League. Levo arms you with the tools to develop your talent, build connections with peers, mentors, and jobs, and stay inspired day in and day out as you grow and develop. We believe you can create a life you’re passionate about.
Each location’s professional group offering will be different. Don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow entrepreneurs in the area (did someone say LinkedIn?) and pick their brain regarding group recommendations.
For those of us located in more geographically challenged places, there’s also a number of online entrepreneur groups that can provide great level of comradery and support for entrepreneurs, regardless of where you’re stationed.
6. Recruit Your A-Team
Even if your company is a one-man show, chances are you’re going to need to outsource professional services, such as accounting, insurance and legal consultation. Talk to fellow business owners and get recommendations on which local professionals may be good people to work with. Check out professional listing on National Veteran Owned Business Association and The Rosie Network to identify area professionals with an established relationship with the military community.
Note: A phone call is non-committal. Be sure to screen professionals just as you would interview a job applicant. It’s important for the success of your company to have a pro pool that will always exceed expectations. Choose the professional you’re most comfortable working with. Monetarily speaking, this isn’t a place to cut corners.
Moving’s always stressful, especially when you’re tasked with moving your entire household + your business across the country. Don’t let the temporary disruption in “business as usual” discourage your entrepreneurial pursuits.
Follow the 6 tips above to minimize business-related stress during a move and accelerate the establishment of your newly relocated company ASAP.
Have you moved your business to a new location because of a PCS? What tips would you add to this list?
Hannah Becker is a serial entrepreneur, MBA grad and proud military spouse. Author of The Motivated Millennial: An Entrepreneurial Guidebook for Generation Y and Founder/Consultant at HCB Consulting, Hannah is committed to encouraging others to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Learn more about Hannah’s career and publications at www.themotivatedmillennial.com. Follow Hannah on Twitter: @MotivatedGenY or on Facebook.