During your long entrepreneurial journey, it can be difficult to ascertain whether your idea and your manner of implementation is successful.
You will be enlightened in this article on how to tell that your start-up is on the right track. Here are 7 top signs to look out for:
- Whenever you look back, your business is different from when it started.
It is not just about big, disruptive changes. Nearly all the big companies you see did not revolutionise the market sphere overnight. The important thing is that your business is making progress. As long as you can notice progress in the day-to-day activities of your startup, you are on the right track.
2. You’re excited about your business and excited to get to work every day.
Those who started a business for the money or to please friends and family are likely to burn out — or fall flat. The concept behind your business should be exciting from the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey to the end (even though it’s often said there isn’t an end at all).
Also, the fact is nobody will ever care more about your business than you. You know you’re excited about your company when you talk about it obsessively with friends, when you can’t wait to get to work in the morning, or even when you feel a familiar warmth in your chest after accomplishing a minor business-related task. If you are not excited to dive into work every morning, you can bet your employees are not too, which may then affect your customer base.
There is no single solution for rekindling a lost flame, but if running your business feels like a drag, take the time to do some soul searching to figure out why. If you have lost touch with the “fun” side of starting a business, sit down and write out the reasons you started the company in the first place. What were your goals from the very beginning? Have you achieved any since then, or are you close? Then get to work making the necessary changes that will get you pumped up again.
3. You are not doing it all by yourself.
It is not all about doing it all on your own. When you run your business, you shouldn’t be the one doing everything yourself: sales, calls, invoices, taxes, order fulfillment, web design, and so on. The art of delegation is one of the hardest and most important skills to master as a business owner because it requires trusting other people with the business you’ve poured your heart and soul into. One of the clearest signs a business will succeed is that the owner is okay with handing off non-core tasks.
4. Your network is growing.
Whether we are talking social media or offline, an expanding network is an excellent growth indicator for two major reasons: First, it’s easier to sell to someone you know than someone you don’t. There’s no secret– people buy from those they know, like, and trust. And secondly, word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly powerful.
As you meet more people, you expand your business footprint and increase the chances that you’ll bring on new clients at a very low cost.
5. People are talking.
If your core idea is a good one (and it’s marketed well), people will talk about it. Check out the conversations circulating social media. If it doesn’t take hundreds of social media posts per week to get people commenting, sharing, tweeting and more, you’re doing pretty well.
Customers, clients and fans can discuss your brand silently as well by wearing T-shirts, boasting stickers and donning pins with your logo or catchphrase. People are eager to be the first to tell their friends about the “next big thing” – conversation surrounding your business may mean it’s just that.
You should respond quickly to complaints with a request for details and follow up with the customer as you attempt to solve whatever problem he/she experienced.
When done well, these interactions can actually turn complainers into your biggest advocates.
6. Your net income makes your overhead costs look reasonable.
When you’re first starting out, it can be painful to shell out money for web domains, logo design, product prototypes and other start-up costs. Your wallet gradually becomes thinner, and you wonder more than once if that money will ever come back. It often takes 12 to 36 months for businesses to be quite profitable, but if you’re drawing in disposable income before or at that stage, you’re on the right track. Keep careful records of your company’s finances. Once your loans and overhead costs seem a little less daunting, you’re doing just fine.
If you’re searching for ways to speed up the payback process on your business, remember that good branding goes a long way. Leverage on well-designed business cards, media kits and websites. If you’re preparing to sell an innovative new product, take a look at pre-selling through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Test the waters and deliver the best product through A/B split testing and surveys. Always strive to keep costs low. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork help you find freelance work for less.
- You learn from your mistakes.
Successful people are not those who don’t make mistakes – they are the ones who learn from them. Much like welcoming criticism, successful entrepreneurs are capable of learning from their mistakes; and much like criticism, mistakes are lessons in disguise. Instead of wallowing in the false sense of failure that often surrounds a mistake, attempt to learn from it: What could you have done better? What obstacles could have been avoided?
Even though mistakes can help you learn, you shouldn’t wait till something goes wrong before coming up with solutions. Don’t wait till your goods get damaged or stolen, for instance, before you consider insuring them. No business is immune from problems, and having the right kind of protection in place will give you peace of mind and let you focus on more important things.
Remember that you can always learn from the mistakes of those with a similar experience, network with your peers and discuss the things they wish they would have done differently. You’re already on the path to success if you consciously gain valuable lessons from your mistakes.