Category Archives: Pro Military Business Network

businesses coming together to show support for our men and women in uniform and their families

Do you Make Sales or Sell?

There is a difference between making a sale and selling someone. The former is how a company makes money and takes care of overhead. The latter is how a once successful company will see its revenues quickly and seemingly inexplicably decline as the years drag on (or how a start-up fails to get off the ground at all).

Let me explain with an example I think we’re all generally familiar with: buying a car. About two years ago, I was in the market for a new car. While I didn’t tell the salespeople this, I needed a car as mine had been so wonderfully totaled by a new driver in a blizzard. Thankfully, I had already been thinking of getting a new car and knew exactly what I wanted… meaning that really all a salesperson had to do was give me a good price and treat me with respect. I was moving in about two months, so the ‘service after the sale’ pitch did absolutely nothing for me.

I tried two dealerships that were close to my house. I had emailed both previously to get a deal started that I could further negotiate once I arrived. The first one told me that they didn’t offer any deals online and that I’d have to come in to discuss price (nice sales tactic..). The second offered me an actually good deal from the get go, and told me who to ask for when I arrived.

When I went to the first one, the salesman exhibited all the classic signs of the hard sell. He tried to get me to test drive one of the models that was the same color as my shirt (he guessed wrong), used phrases while I was test driving the car to try to make me think of myself as already owning it, and tried his best to create a sense of urgency. When we sat back down in the dealership, we started talking about price. He tried to tell me that they couldn’t go any under the MSRP because, and I quote, “Hyundai really doesn’t mark up their cars much at all. If we went any under MSRP, even $500, we wouldn’t make any money”. Apparently, I had a “I’m stupid and today is my first day on earth” stamp on my forehead. I told him I wasn’t buying it and that I would be going to another dealership. He tried to call my bluff, and told me good luck, but I would never find the  kind of deal I was looking for, especially not with the service that he could offer.

The second dealership was like a dream. Before the test drive, since I knew who to ask for, the salesman pulled my email (which included what car with exactly what features I wanted) and went and grabbed that exact car. During the test drive, I did all the talking – asking questions as I saw fit. Once back in the dealership, I negotiated down a bit more (which was shockingly and unexpectedly simple and non-combative), and we figured out I qualified for all of the current factory incentives (yay!). I’ll leave out the boring paperwork details, but it seriously was a breeze. I bought my car that day.

Guess what I came to find out? The first dealership, with the salesman who was trying to sell me, operated off commissions (like most dealerships do). Thus, the salesman wanted me to pay the absolute most possible because that directly impacted his paycheck. The second dealership, with the friendly it’s-all-about-you salesman, operated off a salary and a bonus structure. Basically, it didn’t matter what price I negotiated. The salesman would get $50 for every car he sold, and at the end of the month would get a bonus if he sold the most. That’s it. Cut and dry. Why? Because this second dealership wanted to make sure the experience was about customer satisfaction instead of having each customer that walked through the door have figurative dollar signs over their head.

Now, I’m not saying that a commission structure is bad, or that not having one is better. What I am saying, however, is that no matter which model your business chooses, you had better have a kind of fail-safe built in so that your sales team knows how they should approach a customer, and that that customer feels as good about their buying decision years down the road as I feel about mine now.

What are your company’s best practices when it comes to sales? Do you have any great stories or nightmarish ones we could learn from? Share in the comments below!

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Don’t Write Off the Military Spouse

We might be a marketing, advertising and publishing company, but we believe in helping our clients in any way we can. That, and I feel that if I’m going to spend as much time as I do in a classroom, I might as well share as much as I can with others. So, I’d like to give all the business owners and managers out there a little advice that I’ve partly learned in the classroom, but mostly in real life. And don’t worry, I promise not to bore you to death.*

(*Disclaimer: I cannot control your emotions)

When companies have a position open, they either have on tap or quickly come up with the best-sounding job description they can. The responsibilities are all-encompassing, and the qualifications reflect the most perfect person ever for the job – one who will most definitely apply immediately and stay for years. Sadly, these ideals almost never come true. Why? Because they’re ideals. They’re the equivalent of chocolate-covered, deep-fried cheesecake bites with no fat or calories. And the worst part is that when an employer finds what they only think can be their unicorn, they find and focus upon one imperfection that isn’t ideal and call it a deal breaker (ie OK… so maybe the cheesecake has 100 calories… game over).

My advice to you? You can only think so far ahead and be so picky. I’ve written before about the plight of the military spouse to find work when his/her spouse PCS’s to a new base. And while I am certainly not saying that every military spouse is super qualified for your open position just because they’re a military spouse, I am saying that many are simply not given the chance because they are like the 100 calorie, chocolate-covered, deep-fried cheesecake bite: almost perfect, but not quite. It is often thought that because military spouses are all but guaranteed to move again that they are not worth the time and money it would take to train them. An understandable concern, but ultimately an unreasonable one.

The average military family PCS’s every 3-4 years, with some switching as often as every 2 years. But think about it this way: long careers with one company are no longer the norm. In fact, many employees do not stay with a single company longer than two years, and some experts even encourage people to switch companies every three years in the interest of greater salaries and titles. Comparing this to the military spouse, it is incredibly unlikely that a non-military employee would stay any longer. Even these facts aside, think about it this way: How would your company benefit by hiring a qualified military spouse for a year or two versus a less qualified individual for maybe longer? The fact of the matter is that great employees are hard to come by. Military spouses, in my experience, tend to be dedicated and hard-working because they are truly appreciative to have a job (that, and the military discipline of their spouse can rub off on them). So, if you have the chance to actually hire a great employee, TAKE IT and enjoy reaping the benefits as long as you can. Instead of thinking how much you’ll hate having to interview again when they PCS, think about the asset they will be during the time they are there.

Without naming names, I have literally held jobs where I have seen one employee be more productive and beneficial to the company in a week than another has been in two months. No joke, no exaggeration… on more than one occasion. While I can’t (and don’t want to) tell you how to run your business, this is just something to think about that may help your business to run better, more efficiently, and even grow.

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What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Marketing

I get it. In the world of business ownership, much like the world of home ownership, it seems like the expenses never stop coming. You need to pay your employees, pay the rent, utilities, licensing fees, insurance, get products in the store, etc, etc, etc. So when you’re balancing the budget and trying to keep your checkbook from catching on fire, you look for things to cut. Typically, marketing is one of those things – seen as a luxury which would be nice to have, but isn’t realistic. And all those advertising salespeople ringing your phone off the hook just make you want to put your guard up and say “No, we’re not interested, we can’t afford it right now”.

What I want to say to you is why can’t you afford it right now? And before your guard goes up, I’m not a salesperson. So just think about why. Is it because sales aren’t going quite the way you thought they would? Or because you’ve spent money on everything else so you want to wait until some people start rolling through the door to bankroll an ad campaign? Don’t get defensive, these make sense. BUT, you need to adjust your way of thinking. Let me give you an example.

When you go to the store and buy a bunch of groceries, you know that money is never going to magically reappear in your checking account. Groceries are certainly a necessity, and are a lot more economical than eating out all the time, but the $100 you spent isn’t ever coming back. Now, think about when you buy a stock. You’re not buying it to eat or serve some other purpose, you’re buying it in the hopes that you’ve done enough research to be reasonably confident that the $100 you forked over will multiply and become $150 or $200 or more. So while you might subtract it from your bank account for the moment, the chance of that money coming back exists.

THIS is where most business owners go wrong when they think about marketing. Marketing is not like groceries – it’s like stocks. It is an investment made in your business that, if done well and through the right channels for your particular industry, should bring you a positive ROI. When business slows, marketing absolutely should under no circumstances be the thing that gets cut. After all, if it is designed to improve business and increase brand awareness, why would you get rid of it at a time of year when you need these things most? I get that you only have a defined amount of cash, but if you treat marketing like the necessity it is, then you can typically find other areas to trim to make the budget work.

Now, I’m not saying that you should suddenly buy into every single advertising opportunity that comes your way. You’d go broke real fast if you did that, considering how many different media channels exist and the fact that not every type of advertising is right for every business. But if you change the way you think about marketing, do your research, and work with someone who understands your company and who your target market is, then paying to promote your company won’t be a minus sign in your books for long.

Need specific advice? Have any particularly good or bad experiences with marketing you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Don’t Get Mad.. Get Patriotic

This past Monday was Memorial Day, a holiday which is meant to recognize those in the armed forces who have served nobly and given their lives to defend our country and our freedom. For 9-5 America, it largely means a long weekend with great weather – perfect for the beach and grilling with friends and family. And while it may be upsetting, especially to those with strong ties to the military or who have lost a loved one, we also need to think about why that’s the way it is. There were blogs, articles, and videos galore surfacing last weekend bashing on how the American people are largely uninformed as to what the holiday is all about – something which I can certainly understand. In fact, one interview of beach-goers found someone who thought the Civil War saw France as the winner. As appalling as that may be, it says more about us as an overall population than anything else. Clearly, we are not taking this seriously.

Before you get defensive and think “I AM taking this seriously. I know exactly what the holiday is about. Don’t group me with those other people who take their freedom for granted” – just listen. When it comes to issues like this, we as a country separate ourselves from one another like boys and girls at a sixth grade dance. We have those who understand the holiday on one side, and those who are cluelessly happy about a long weekend on the other. We say things and get upset, but we really don’t do much of anything to bring everyone together. Now, do I think that being uneducated about Memorial Day should be a real issue? No – of course not. But it is, and we need to take it upon ourselves to fix it.

That all being said, I think we need to find a happy medium. We don’t need to go to the other extreme and force everyone to be sad, solemn and reflective all day. After all, I think it’s safe to say that most of those who have given their lives for our freedom would want to see people enjoying it. However, running around the beach drunk with a burger thinking that the Civil War involved other countries isn’t OK either. Those of us who know the importance of Memorial Day need to band together and be the change we wish to see in the world. We need to find a way to bring people together to reflect on the brave men and women of our armed forces, past and present, and understand why it is that they don’t have to go to work that day.

How we do it is still to be determined, but sitting around and complaining that people are ignorant and don’t care isn’t going to solve anything. This has been an issue for long enough and it’s time to fix it by making it a cause instead of an argument. Any ideas? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Best Offense is a Good Defense

Whether it’s new to you or you’ve been doing it for 20 years, finding a career when you’re a military spouse can be truly challenging. You feel like you’ve finally settled in and found something you enjoy (or at least something that pays), and then your service member gets orders and off you go again. It’s a tough part of the lifestyle, but it’s what you signed up for when you said “I do”. While no one can offer you the end-all-be-all solution for this conundrum, I’ve put together some of my best advice to help you try to minimize the sting of giving up one job and looking for another.

  • Always Have the Mentality You’re PCSing Soon

This might be the last thing you want to do, especially right after you’ve completed one, but it will keep you competitive (not to mention less stressed). While your employer may not want to think about losing you as soon as they hire you, they know you’re a military spouse. So, bring it up. You never know if they may be able to work something out where you can work from a home satellite office, or if they have connections around the country that could help you in the future. The bottom line is you know moving is in your future somewhere, and so does your employer. Instead of running from it, embrace it and plan for it as well in advance as you can. There’s a lot to be said for taking the bull by the horns.

  • Don’t Get Lazy With Your Resume

Most people typically only update their resumes when they need to (ie looking for a job/about to leave a job). However, if you keep yours constantly up-to-date, you’ll be ready to strike the new job market as soon as you get word. Plus, your true skillset is likely to reflect more accurately when you update it in real time.

  • Take Advantage of Employment Resources

You may not have thought of using an employment or temp agency before, but it’s a great resource. In fact, many of these organizations have special programs exclusively meant for the military spouse. This should by no means be something to rest your laurels on, but these agencies are definitely people you want to be in contact with. While many of the temp jobs can turn into full-time positions, having a temporary paycheck is better than no paycheck at all.

  • Keep Your Eye Out for Career Fairs

Career fairs can be a little intimidating, but they’re a unique opportunity. Especially in today’s world in which employers typically request applications and resumes to be submitted online, it can be tough to get a face-to-face meeting. A career fair offers you the chance to see what’s out there and turn the charm on before they have a chance to say no. Nothing makes a competitive resume stand out more than a personal introduction.

  • Consider National Companies

National companies can be an ideal place for military spouses because they can offer some sense of security. While transfers are never guaranteed, if there is a branch/office/store near wherever you’re heading, there is a good chance you can have a job waiting for you when you get there. The moral here is to make sure you’re such a great employee that the company doesn’t want to lose you.

  • Network Like Crazy

Even if your job doesn’t require it, network all the time. Especially near a base, you never know when you might meet someone that will be a great connection for you in the future. Maybe they used to live where your new base is, or maybe they’ll PCS there long before you and be able to give you a head start on career prospects. The more people you know, the more you can call on to help you down the road when the military lifestyle calls.

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The Aftermath of PCSing

When you receive orders to a new base, you immediately think of all the big things to take care of – and for good reason. You need to start planning to move out of your current residence, find a new place to live, decide if you’re going to do a DITY move or have the government take care of it, take care of all the change-of-address hassles, take care of school for the kids, etc, etc etc. But when you actually arrive and the cloud of stress and constant activity begins to settle, you find yourself getting back to your real life. And in real life, you need more than boxes, packing tape and forms.

It doesn’t unravel all at once, but bit by bit you begin to realize that you need something you no longer have a person for. You need your hair cut, a massage (if you’re really lucky), an accountant, pest control services, heating and air professionals, a handyman, a plumber, a car repair shop, a shipping store, jeweler, gym… and the list goes on. All those errands and day-to-day things you did before the move still need to be done, but there’s the added burden of needing to figure out where to go and who’s reputable.

The tough part about finding many of these types of businesses is that “word of mouth” is generally thought of as the way new customers (ie you) are referred to them. And now you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place because when you just moved, you don’t know anybody! And those you do know, you just met. Sure, they might be willing to tell you who they use, but you don’t yet know them well enough to know if their “stamp of approval” matches up with yours.

I’m not going to pretend all those things are of paramount importance, but you do need them and it’s easy to forget that you do until your car starts to smoke or your hair starts to act the way it does when it’s time for a trim. So my recommendation? Use this resource as your jumping off point. The businesses that are listed are here for the sole reasons that they understand the value of the military community to their business, they want to say thank you, and they are reputable. I used this to find just about everything I needed when I arrived, and I have yet to be disappointed. So take a look around the Business and Professional Services section of any of our base guides, give these wonderful people a call, and let them know how you found them.

And if you wish, let us know how your experience was. Tweet us @militarymedia_ or leave us a message at Facebook.com/MilitaryMediaInc

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To Rent or To Buy? Part One

It’s the classic question from the time you move out of your parents’ house (or dorm) until seemingly forever: should I rent or should I buy? There are plenty of arguments one way or the other filled with facts and opinions galore, but at the end of the day, you need to make whatever decision is right for you. And since I didn’t start writing this article to tell you nothing, here are some of the pros of renting on the Emerald Coast.

  • It makes your life easier

When it all boils down, renting an apartment just plain simplifies things. Your shower/dishwasher/stove/window lock broke? Don’t pay for a handyman – just call the maintenance office. Think you need new carpet? Great – you won’t be paying for it when it gets installed. Time for the roof to be replaced? You might suffer through some noise, but your bank account won’t budge an inch. Owning a home comes with plenty of maintenance costs and headaches, all of which are built into your rent and taken care of by the property management staff. It’s a wonderful thing.

  • You get amenities

In this area more than any other I’ve lived in, most of the moderate to nice apartment complexes come with a lot of amenities that can make you feel like you’re in a great hotel (in a good way). It is not uncommon to find a complex that offers one or multiple pools, a sauna, a workout facility, a business center, free coffee and/or snacks in the clubhouse, playgrounds, putting greens, tennis courts, basketball courts, car wash stations, etc. It’s really pretty impressive. And the best part is the rent costs are much less than what you’ll find in most areas of the country.

  • You meet a lot of people

PCSing means leaving behind the friends you made at one duty station and finding new ones wherever you’re going. While you’ll still have neighbors living in a single family home, there are many more people living in an apartment complex. And from what I’ve seen around here, it makes meeting friendly people much easier. You’ll not only meet your immediate neighbors, but you might bump into other people at the mailboxes, the pool, the gym, etc. Apartment living offers a great opportunity to feel welcomed much more quickly after you arrive.

  • Military Discounts

Aside from the benefits of the VA loan for home buyers, you don’t exactly see military discounts offered off the purchase price of the home or your closing costs. But many rental apartments offer discounts that make the process of moving in more affordable. For instance, you could find you’re able to have your application fee waived, background check fees waived, and security and pet deposits cut in half. All in all, several hundred dollars of discounts. Not too shabby.

  • You can be in and out

Signing an apartment lease gives you a whole lot more flexibility and less stress when it comes to the possibility of getting orders again. It may be the last thing you want to think about when you’re in the process of PCSing, but you must always realize unexpected orders are a very real possibility in the military. When renting an apartment, it is quite simple to walk down to the leasing office with a copy of your orders and an intent to vacate letter and get on with your list of to-do’s. At that point, you can move on and wash your hands of it without any stress – something we all need when we’re preparing to move.

Like I said, everyone is different and you need to make the decision to the rent or buy question on your own. However, the above are what I have found (in my personal experience) to be important things to consider. So, take a look through the Apartments and Rental Properties sections in the Eglin Guide (eglinguideonline.com) and Emerald Coast Military Directory (ecmdonline.com) and check out some of the great communities offered here. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Why I Had to Stop Biting My Tongue

So, we’re going to break a huge business no-no and (kinda) talk about politics. But before you click away from here for fear of a heated party-based debate and anger placed one way or the other, it’s not like that. I promise. No, what I have decided I cannot hold back on any more are the military budget cuts being proposed, and what they mean. I might be a little ranty at first, but I have a really important point to make, so just stick with me here.

Today, it dawned on me that it seemed every day I was receiving a new email in my inbox talking about one cut or another proposed to the commissary or the DoD budget. So, today I went and checked. And as it turns out, it didn’t just seem that way. I’m not becoming crazy with how busy I am (well, at least on this… overall is really another story). That thought I had is really, truly, depressingly the case. And when that became apparent, I decided I was done biting my tongue. Sure, I’ve posted articles on the company Facebook and Twitter pages about what’s going on from time to time, but I’ve tried extremely hard to state the facts and nothing more. Every time I saw something wonderfully opinionated, calling out someone or another for what they’re proposing, I basically sat on my hands to stop myself from re-tweeting it. Really, guys… I’ve been good.

But I’m done. And thankfully, my computer is keeping me from yelling. Because I’m much more calm and reasonable when I have a keyboard.

Now trust me, I obsessively budget my own finances and have for years, so I get it. If you need to make cuts, it has to come from somewhere. Money, as much as we like to hope it would, just doesn’t appear out of thin air. But why, WHY, does it seem the FIRST PLACES looked at are the DoD budget and military benefits? That’s like me deciding to cut my rent payments out of my budget to save money, but choosing to keep my wine budget in tact. Because after all, I spend a LOT more money on rent than wine, so that totally makes sense right?

Honestly, these men and women are putting their lives on the line every day, whether they’re deployed or not. Because the truth is, that could change at any second, and they signed up for that. Their families are thrown for a loop either dealing with deployments and/or moving way more than anyone should ever be asked to, all because they’ve decided their country, their loved ones, and the service is worth it. The retirees and vets have been there and done that, too, and guess what? They deserve a break. So, why does the government think that the commissaries, one of the few great day-to-day benefits provided to service members, are an easy place to start the slashing? Or that the already horrendous Tricare system should be battered even more? Oh, because it costs the taxpayers a lot of money? Is that it?

Well, last time I checked, government salaries and insane pensions and benefits cost the taxpayers a lot of money, too. And all those random projects that aren’t doing any hardworking American any good sure cost a lot of money. But those are being rolled out like donuts at a Krispy Creme.

What I’m trying to say here is we, as a country and individuals, need to appreciate our military way more than the bulk of us do. It’s not enough to simply have the valiant supporters go to events, wear the t-shirts and protest what is wrongly being done. We need a cultural shift. Our freedom to act and be any way we want to has been taken for granted, and our country isn’t even that old. We need to think back, and I mean really think back to how awful it must have been to not have it. Because if the whole military went on strike tomorrow, we’d be in a LOT of trouble. Unimaginable, almost inconceivable trouble.

Now most people and business owners I run into, especially around here, are very pro-military and supportive. But I do run into the occasional person who is almost anti-military… and it’s quite disturbing. It’s something I just don’t understand. As far as I’m concerned, if you want to be against war and violence, fine. Whatever. That’s your opinion and that’s alright. But when you cross the line to being anti-military, I just can’t handle it. How can you be actively against the group of people who have stepped up to defend you when they don’t even know you? That takes character, and heart, and bravery.

So, let’s ramp up. Let’s show these men and women just how much we support them. Let’s show them that there’s no end to our appreciation of their service and sacrifice. And let’s show them that we’re willing to make some sacrifices for them, too. Because at the end of the day, our lives would be a lot more terrible without them.

 

If you’d like more information on how you or your business can show your support or would like information on upcoming charity events, please leave us a comment here. Thank you all!

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Coupons Should Save You Money (Not Coax You to Buy Something Because It’s Cheap)

You caught me: I’m the worst kind of complainer. I hate asking people if their business offers a military discount. I know, cue the world’s smallest violin. But seriously – you fellow military spouses know what I’m talking about. We all want the discount, but asking everywhere you shop can eventually make you feel like you’re being cheap or annoying the perfectly nice business owner. And what if they don’t have one? Awkward.

Assuming at least some of you are just like me, you’ve tried to remedy this by taking to your keyboard. And you’ve probably spent a good amount of time searching for the business you needed and then trying to find out which one had a military offer of some sort. In the end, you’ve typically saved a few bucks, but at what cost? Your eyes were all glossed over, your head was foggy, and you just realized you missed out on a solid two hours you could have used pretending you were going to go to the gym. But now there’s a solution: GIsave.com – a coupon-based website dedicated exclusively to showcasing military deals offered by our adoring local businesses.

Now I know, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of these coupon sites out there that are all virtually the same and offer some crazy low prices on things. While I’m all for crazy low prices, most of the coupons are not for places I shop at on a daily basis, or for things I actually need. More often than not, I find myself trying to rationalize why I suddenly need an 8-mode digital pulse massager, just because it showed up in my inbox. And though the ones for restaurants give me a great excuse for a night out, I could really do without the annoyed stares when I inform them of my coupon. Not that I can blame them, because there are way too many people out there that take the discounted price as an excuse to tip lower (please, please, please – don’t do this!), but it’s unfortunate to get caught in the crossfire.

And like I said, when I need to go out into the community I actually live in and get some pet supplies, have my car’s oil changed, get my hair cut or go to the dentist, most of these coupon sites are useless to me. GI Save helps me save money at the places I am already going to, and helps me find businesses I know are reputable when I need something but don’t know of a place to go. And let’s face it, if you are military or part of a military family, you know what it’s like to move. You know what an absolute pain it is to find all the places you need again and how awful it is to waste money at a store or on a service that just wasn’t what it should have been. GI Save gives you an avenue. It helps you find places run by good people, and it saves you money while it does that. And you can very well think I am just embellishing because I work for these people – but guess what? That’s a good thing. It’s because I work for these people that I know exactly who is going out and finding the businesses that are featured. They all have a conscious and want to do the right thing. What’s more, I have watched each one of them not work with a business if they thought they weren’t going to stand by their customers. That says something.

Thankfully, with GI Save, all the businesses are local. That’s why the home page has you pick your base before it shows you deals. Every single one of these companies is happy to have military business. And not one of them thinks that the discount they are offering is too over the top. Why does this matter? Because your experience when you go somewhere with one of these mobile coupons is pleasant. You leave feeling great that you saved some money, but better that you found an awesome place where the owner really appreciates your business. They help you, you help them, and you both help some really good military charities by supporting GI Save.

Coupons are the number one thing military spouses ask for – so here they are. Now all you have to do is get the word out so we can have even more deals and businesses to throw our debit cards at. Thank you, internet.

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Giving You More Than The Right To Play Candy Crush

It’s easy to tell you the obvious reasons why you should appreciate the military: They are the reason you have and will continue to have the freedoms you so depend upon. They’re the reason you even have the option to debate gun rights, speak out against politicians, or use your entire day to watch cat videos on YouTube (oh, and watch “If It Fits, I Sits”… then thank a service member). But you should know all of that. And if you don’t or you don’t believe that, then shame on you, but that’s your right.

What I’m getting at (or going to be getting at) here is a different reason the military should be appreciated: the economy. For those of you without ties to a service member, all you may hear are the ramblings on the news about defense spending and budget cuts and blah blah blah… all stuff that probably leads you to think the military is just a big, expensive organization. And while it is expensive, it also offers a great deal of stimulation to local economies.

Think about it: in or around areas where there are one or more military installations (and there are a LOT of these areas), constant influxes of new people are more or less a certainty. Even if someone coming in means someone going out, moving is anything but cheap. Both of these individuals or families will be spending lots of money getting things they need. The incoming family will need to find a new place to live, storage, food, etc. They’ll also need to find a place to get their cars serviced, get their hair cut, buy new clothes… everything they may need now or in the future. Not only this, but military bases employ a large amount of civilian contractors, sometimes equaling the number of active duty personnel. More working people + more paychecks = more money to be spent in the local economy. That’s the kind of math even I can do.

And then, you have examples like us, Military Media – a private business specifically established with military bases or clientele in mind. There are plenty of other businesses of all kinds that fit this bill, and we all succeed ONLY because of this demographic. For example, we started out producing base guides and maps, a business endeavor which would be 100% pointless without the bases (obviously). While we may now work with bases throughout the country, do you really think our home office would be here, employing locals? …Nope. Sure, it might be someplace else, but why have only a few economically booming areas when you can have many? The military makes that possible.

The military is also responsible for building up areas which may otherwise be extremely underpopulated and struggling. Take, for example, the real-life community situation over here. The Panhandle region, Pensacola to Destin, specifically, may be on prime real estate with beautiful beaches and generally great weather. Sure, tourists would come here whether the bases were here or not. But let me ask you this – what happens when the peak season is over and the tourists go home (or somewhere else)? Yep – the remaining residents and businesses sit in the quiet and struggle to make it through without the tourists to visit their businesses and stimulate their economy. Every off-season is a gamble, and many businesses do not make it. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times in other areas.

But, fortunately, that’s not the way it is here, thanks to the military. There are certainly peak and off-seasons still, but thanks to approximately SEVEN military installations (many of them small), there are roughly 66% more people living here full time than there would be otherwise. And an estimated $8.2 billion in annual value to the local economy.

The numbers don’t lie. Just like your ability to say funny things on Twitter followed by the hashtag #firstworldproblems doesn’t lie. So be thankful. Whether you realize it or not, the chain effect the military has on your well being is astounding on so many levels. Reach out and show your appreciation in some way. And if you need a little help, we’re here.

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