Starting a business is hard no matter who you are. It’s particularly hard if you are a military spouse. All that comes with the lifestyle of the military–moving, single parenting, moving, new towns, moving– can be overwhelming. Regardless of the obstacles, many military spouses have created amazing businesses out of the cards military life has dealt them. Our community is full of success stories–from internet entrepreneurs to brick-and-mortar ones. If you’re thinking that this is the path for you, there are some things that you need to know. It will make your life easier. I promise.
1. Know your mission.
Whaaattt did I just say? (Yeah, I know you’re not in the military.) Know your mission. Don’t forget it. Don’t deviate from it. Not one inch. Do not get distracted.
2. Have an exit strategy.
This is imperative if you’re going into business with friends. Have something in your contract–yes, you need a contract–that allows one of you to buy out the other before you have the option to sell to anyone else. No one ever thinks things will go south until they do. Protect yourself. Military spouses are notoriously good business partners, but there will come a time where life gets in the way.
3. Hire a lawyer and accountant.
These two professionals should protect only your interests. It’s totally fine to have someone that represents the company interests, but if you have business partners, hire someone who works only for you. Trust me. You’ll be glad later.
4. Plan to succeed.
But also prepare to fail. Have cash in reserve for a rainy day. You will hit unplanned expenses, you will hit vendors that fail you, you will hit walls that take time to tear down. All of them will cost money. Have reserves ready.
5. Accept that failure will happen.
And it will happen often. Failure is a good thing because it forces you to focus on the process and not just the end goal.
6. Give yourself time to dream.
What makes entrepreneurs so unique and critical to their business’ success is their capacity to dream big. Stay creative and generating ideas along the way. Capture them in a notebook or record them on your smart phone… and don’t lose them.