It’s hard to know when you can officially call yourself successful; one hard month merges into another and the challenges never go away. But there are a few signs to look out for that tell you; you’re no longer fighting for a place in the market but rather – you’ve earned your stripes and you’re in it for the long haul.
You’re receiving referrals
What could be better than seeing your customer base grow month-on-month and then year-on-year? The answer – customers who have had such a great experience dealing with your business they tell others in their network – who then, in turn, pass the message on. It’s called the snowball effect. Argued to be more valuable than any advertising campaign you’ll spend good money on, customer referrals are a sure-fire sign that you’ve got something (or probably quite a few things) bang on the mark.
People want ‘in’ on your journey
Talking about your great new business idea with your most eligible business partner after work in a bar is no easy sell. It’s untested, loaded with risk and far too complicated to understand at a time when the status quo is – well – safe. But you did it regardless – it’s reality – and now there’s a change of heart afoot. There’s no better accolade than someone who share’s your vision to such an extent they’ll give up everything to help you drive it. And if you’re lucky enough to have investors on your tail – you know you’re onto something good. But take the compliment here and resist any rash decisions!
You can take a knock and get back up
Resilience is key to any successful enterprise; after all, it won’t always be a smooth ride. And if you’ve got half your revenue attached to one client, that’s never pretty picture. Products will flop, and customers and clients will walk away; but if the core of your business is solid and diverse, you’re a business that has the luxury or taking each failure as an opportunity to work out how to do things better next time.
The money is rolling in (that means profit)
Like any entrepreneur, you’ve been playing what feels like a thankless game while you get your start-up running. Long hours, no holidays, stress and a social life that went out the window ages ago. And not only have you not taken anything home to show for it – you’ve poured every saving you had into it. But that moment when the business starts to earn its own keep; it gives a little back to reinvest and a pay cheque to go with it – now that’s a real milestone.