Starting a successful business is no walk in the park. Aside from borrowing funds from financial institutions and investors, yielding any profits for the first few years is uncertain. However, it’s essential to exercise patience as, over time, your business will grow. Here are seven critical achievements to chase when building your startup.
Paying Yourself Regularly
Beginning your business is a commendable feat, but making enough profit to pay yourself generously is a guaranteed sign that you have longevity. In most cases, founders struggle with denying themselves short-term payments, bonuses, and allowances for future growth. Yet, what many founders forget is that every dollar they redirect towards future investments translates into expedited company growth. As a friendly word of advice, postpone the hefty salaries and bonuses when building your company. Once you are more established, having the opportunity to pay yourself should be one of your significant milestones to celebrate.
Having Your Business Reputation Precedes You
As you continue to grow your brand and provide exemplary service, you can expect to attract a loyal customer base. At first, you may struggle to get your name out there and identify with clients, but as soon as you have a reliable stream, then your business is more than just a startup. Also, keep an eye on referral clients, since any person that is referred to you is a sure sign that customers can identify your brand and purpose.
Talent acquisition is also a sure way to grow your brand and solidify your stellar reputation. Ask yourself, is your business attracting new talented employees? Has an industry elite approached you to join your company? Talented individuals do not associate themselves with failing organizations, or businesses without a future, so if they are coming to you with requests, then they can foresee growth.
Increasing Your Hires
When you establish your startup, you will likely deny yourself a salary, and only pay the most necessary employees. Understandably, cutting down on unnecessary costs until your foundation stabilizes is essential, and as your business grows, you can increase your employees and also raise their salaries and benefits. Being able to pay your workers well is a sign that you are a fully functional business. Happy employees are the result of a healthy business.
Having A Clear Trajectory
Starting a company has its risks. For instance, there is the possibility of having a payroll that is higher than your cash flow, or the danger of losing business through defaulted payment. Uncertainty around the product-market fit can also imply a certain amount of risk. In short, starting your business comes with inherent risk.
However, when you get to a point where your business is less likely to pivot, and your operations stabilize, then your chances of surviving have improved. However, having a clear trajectory should not be a cause for comfort. It is wiser to keep growing and eliminate more risks.
Having A Reliable Team In Place
Nothing wrecks a company faster than the people in it. Therefore, there are two signs you need to look for: first, check if the C-suite works harmoniously. Your startup leadership affects all the areas of your business, so if there are disputes amongst the C-suite and some partners are threatening to fall out, then that is a major red flag. However, if the partners are working together, then your company is likely to prosper.
Secondly, check your employee turnover. A high turnover means that you have trouble in the company. Your goal is to retain the best workers to ensure that you have the right people in the right positions. If you are continually changing employees, you will revert more resources towards recruitment and training instead of growing your business.
Completing Important Compliance Certifications
As a business, the law will require you to comply with specific certifications. For example, if you process card payments, you are required to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This compliance is crucial, as it ensures that you protect cardholder information in a secure network. Without this certification, your business risks severe legal implications should cardholder data fall into the wrong hands. By complying with regulations around the nature of your work, your brand will grow trust among its users.
Ensuring Your Cybersecurity
In only the first six months of 2019, more than 3,800 breaches were disclosed to the public and led to the exposure of 4.1 billion records. This alarming increase in data breaches should be a concern for your startup and push you to take the precautionary steps. In most cases, small businesses assume that hackers only target large companies, and once hacked, your startup will likely fail. The average cost of a data breach can span anywhere between $1.25 to $8.19 million. If you establish a clear cybersecurity protocol and manage to protect your business from data breaches, then consider yourself victorious.
Establishing your startup and growing into a stable company is every entrepreneur’s dream. Identifying these significant achievements for your business will help you focus on growth and seal loopholes. That said, when you achieve the milestones mentioned above, don’t get too comfortable, there’s still much more to do. So get to work!