As a military spouse, one of the first acronyms you’ll learn is PCS or Permanent Change of Station. It’s a fancy way of saying “to move house.” Military moves are always being talked about and really, are one of the few guarantees you can count on when it comes to the military!
As a creative small business owner AND military spouse chances are PCS-ing strikes fear into your heart. Just the thought of moving a family can be totally overwhelming, and then add a business to the mix and WOAH. We totally get it, cause we’ve been there too!
But there are steps you can take to PCS-Proof your creative small business that will ensure your move is as smooth as can be! Preparation is key!
Have a solid business plan in place
What to include in your creative small business plan
When it comes to PCS-ing your business it’s important to make sure you’ve already got a solid business plan in place. We think a business plan is like a roadmap. You use it to outline how your business is set up and the guidelines that you will follow. A typical business plan has seven parts: Executive summary, company description, products and services, market analysis, strategy and implementation, organization and management team, financial plan and projections.
But you’re a military spouse so you should also include an 8th section that covers how to PCS your business! (We call ours: PCS for Success Strategies) In that section, you should include what you are willing to adjust in your business and what you’re not willing to adjust (think are you willing to change your products/offerings to cater to your new market or do you plan to stick with what you’re already offering and make it work.) You can also include a marketing plan and strategy that’s strictly for moving. Maybe you’ve created a new email sequence to say thank you and reward current clients. That’s something you can include in your PCS section.
Determining these things AHEAD of a PCS will help alleviate some of the panic because you already have a plan in place and all you have to do is open your roadmap and follow along!
How to utilize your business plan
Don’t simply create your business plan, pat yourself on the back, and move on. That will have been a waste of your time and energy- and no one wants that! Reference your business plan often and be willing to make changes as your business and your personal life shifts.
If you truly utilize your business plan often, and to it’s fullest extent, you’ll be amazed at the success that can come your way!
And we’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth saying again. When you are in the process of a move and plan to PCS your business, you’re going to be stressed. It’s not abnormal, and trust us, the stress is totally warranted. However, when you have your PCS for Success Strategies clearly spelled out in your business plan you aren’t trying to come up strategies during that stressful time. You’re simply following your plan you’ve already thoroughly thought out in a completely stress-free time.
Ever heard stress work isn’t your best work? It really isn’t. So make the plan before you need it, and utilize it to its fullest extent when the time comes!
Implement a Passive Income Strategy
One strategy you may find including in your business plan is to implement a passive income strategy to make PCSing your business a little more profitable.
You might not have your PCS orders 6 months in advance, which is when we recommend starting implementing your PCS strategies. In reality, it might be 3 months or less. You can still be successful implementing your PCS strategies at that time, but there might be a little delay in gaining new business right when you get there.
That’s okay! It’s actually to be expected! Which is why the next strategy we discuss to PCS proof your business is savings.
But how can you still make money in the interim before having a consistent income at your new location? If you’re in our course PCS 2 Profit you have a handy worksheet to help you hone in on your passive income strategy to better PCS your business. If you’re not in our course, click here to get on the waitlist, and get brainstorming on what you can do to create passive income in your life!
It might take a minute or two to set up, but once it’s done you’ll reap the benefits nearly on autopilot. And who doesn’t want that?
Cover your business butt with Savings
Savings is a GOOD word
Before you hit that ‘x’, we know that the word ‘savings’ can be intimidating! We understand how daunting it can be to start setting aside money as your business grows and continues to need updates/changes/software etc. You have money, and you have expenses, how is there room for savings? First, let’s go into what savings has done for our businesses!
How savings can save your business
One of the BEST things we did for our businesses was to get on the right page when it comes to numbers. Knowing your cost of doing business is absolutely vital! (You’ve probably heard us mention it a lot, and for good reason!) You need to know how much you’re spending monthly on your business because that number is the foundation to know how much you need to have in your business savings account.
It can be slow to grow type process (not always, but plan for the worst right!?) when you PCS your business. But having a savings account that covers your bare minimum of expenses provides you with peace of mind. With savings, there’s no need to panic or wonder how you will pay business bills! You can focus all your energy towards landing new clients and setting up strategies that will help you flourish!
What’s the right amount of savings for you?
This number changes for everyone, but the foundation is always the same- your monthly cost of doing business (CODB).
Your CODB will let you know what your operating costs are for your business even when you are not bringing in income or working with clients. Simply put, it’s the amount of money per month you need to keep your doors open!
We recommend taking your monthly CODB and multiplying it by 6, yes six, in order to determine an amount you should strive to have in your savings account.
That might seem overwhelming, but budget for it starting yesterday and you’ll get there before you know it! It’s certainly a process, and it could take a while, but you’ll be happy that you set the money aside when you PCS your business!
Create a Continuous Networking Strategy
What is networking
You are probably networking and you don’t even know it. Are you part of Facebook groups that business owners offer advice to other business owners? That’s networking! Do you attend any local business owners meetups? That’s networking! Do you meet friends of friends and give them your elevator pitch? Networking!
The official definition of networking is to interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
That’s it! You do that daily and you probably don’t even realize it.
Local versus Online networking
Online you can network on any social media platforms by way of groups or simply following and commenting on others posts. Probably the easiest form of networking is online. You don’t have to get dressed up or drive anywhere. You simply turn on your computer and socialize!
In person, events might require more planning and effort on your part, but we believe that physically getting in front of other professionals or potential clients is one of the best things you can do for your business! You have the opportunity to make a great impression that lasts.
How to leverage networking
Don’t simply do the networking and then never re-visit anyone you’ve connected with. Foster those relationships, and when the time comes to PCS your business don’t be shy to ask your network of professionals, clients, and potential clients if they have contacts in your new location!
Have you ever heard of the notion that you are 6 relationships away from anyone on the planet? All you have to do is start that conversation and ask. It can be a game changer when PCS proofing your business!
Let your clients do the heavy lifting
The client referral system
Having a client referral system in place will help you reward current clients and incentivize them to spread the word about your business. It’s a great system to have in place well before your PCS so your client’s already want to sing your praises when it’s time to PCS your business!
Having a client referral system will jumpstart the social chatter about your business at your new base! If you give your clients a wonderful experience AND reward them for sharing their experience–you’ll start to tap into their network. You can reward clients with a gift card, upgraded service or product or another incentivizing offer. Combined these two things could give your business a big boost!
Sometimes it’s not enough to provide a fantastic experience, especially when you’re the new kid on the block and your service or product is already offered at the new base. By going above and beyond and creating a reward system for your clients, you’ll set yourself apart!
Before you PCS your business you’ll want to collect current client testimonials! This is a great kickstart to freshen up your marketing materials, start collecting copy for your website, and for social media. Being able to share a client’s kind words with other potential clients goes a long way in creating new bookings and revenue!
How often do you read Amazon reviews or restaurant reviews? We all value unbiased opinions of other consumers and we want to know how people felt after purchasing the products or service!
On the flip side, while we all love reading over glowing reviews, as business owners it’s important to hear the not so great reviews as well. Give your clients a moment to share where they felt things weren’t as seamless as they could’ve been.
This allows you to privately identify areas in your business that need improvement! Then you have the unique opportunity to improve it before you PCS your business. When you arrive at your new base, you’ll have all the kinks worked out of your client process and be ready to wow all your new clients!
Pro tip: We recommend automating a standard client testimonial request email with an attached form. This way getting client testimonials is consistent and timely. Another way to wow your clients and give them a great experience? Reward clients for the extra step, and if there were negatives addressed take the time to make it right! This type of customer service is always welcomed by clients!
Name dropping the correct way
Although it might feel sleazy- it’s not. If you’ve heard a client or friend specifically reference someone at your new base take advantage of that! Reach out to that person and introduce yourself!
Name drop your friend or client during your introduction. Approach your new relationship as you looking for new friends to help get your business established in their area.
They will appreciate you being upfront with who you know and how you got their name. If they are unwilling to assist you in networking they will let you know, promise. That should encourage you to do your due diligence and reach out!
It could be that they know so many people at your new base and be a great connection.
PCS Your Business Successfully
We just gave you a lot of information so to recap utilize these 5 strategies to PCS Proof your business:
1. Have a solid business plan in place
2. Implement a passive income strategy if you have not already done so
3. Cover your business butt with savings
4. Create a continuous networking strategy
5. Let your clients do the heavy lifting
Having these 5 strategies in place before you PCS your business will work wonders. These strategies will alleviate stress, provide a smooth transition, and ‘PCS proof’ your business!