Boss it like a Military Spouse ~ What we can learn from Britain’s toughest bunch

Previously, I never talked about my personal life in work and I try not to bore my friends too much about my business. But really I’m kidding myself; the two elements are inextricably linked. They literally rely on one another.

So in a certain degree of seriousness what can business owners learn from the Military spouses? In my opinion, all you need is G.I.N. – Grace of all trades, Inferno Fighting, Necessary Assistance. No article referencing the military should be without an acronym. It looked fun, I wanted a go.


Grace of All Trades

Sorry, Jack was busy. Military spouses assume many daily roles including that of a mother, a father, a friend, a neighbour, an agony aunt, a plumber, a teacher, a taxi driver, a dog walker, a negotiator and a crisis solver. It’s a lot of hats for one person but it’s not dissimilar to running a business. You need to be adaptable and put on many different ‘hats’ every day.

Example: You might start with your ‘admin hat’ and wade through the emails, then move to your ‘manufacturing hat’ and ‘crisis hat’ as an element in your production process breaks down and by lunchtime you’re wearing a ‘bookkeepers hat’. You might spend all afternoon wearing your ‘PR and Marketing hat’.


Inferno Fighting

Plan A, Plan B & Plan C and a plan for when all of those don’t work. You’ve never met a bunch of planners like military spouses. There’s a wet weather plan, a dry weather plan, plan A early return (jokes), Plan B delayed returns (you) & Plan C – call Granny. Business Owners, like military spouses, are the greatest metaphorical fire-fighters. Every day you have to prioritise, it’s easy to get bogged down and barely get through the top quarter of all the possible jobs you could be doing. But it’s all about planning for the unplannable…judging in advance what you would consider to be time critical and long reaching and what can wait without affecting your turnover. Those choices change profit margins.

Example: Sometimes you have to choose to respond to a journalist request for an article – over producing excess stock for the storeroom or clearing out emails.


Necessary Assistance

One thing I’ve learned as part of the Military community is that you never stand and watch. You put out the forgotten bins, you spread the grit on an icy night, you mow the neighbour’s lawns, you search for the missing child’s toy, you drink tea (gin), you watch the children on the road and you ask for help when you need it. You just do.

Everyone works better with a little helping hand here and there. As a business owner, nothing will affect the success and outcome of your labours better than being able to recognise what you do best and outsource the rest… whether that’s business coaching, accounting or PR skills. But more than that, let’s create an environment of skill sharing and support for each other; there’s nothing to lose and so much to gain when many heads are put together.

Until next time, think G.I.N. and boss it!


AJ Stanning runs specialist Food and Drink PR Service , an online platform where business owners can access the tools and services provided by a PR agency. With do-it-yourself resources and training you can achieve the same (if not better) results as an agency – but at a fraction of the cost. From press release templates, to help with writing and media distribution services, our online tools will help you with all aspects of PR, whether you’re a start-up or an established company looking to grow.

Any questions, please head on over to the PR Toolkit Business Club  on Facebook.

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