Running a business is a marathon. Day after day, you’ll have to put in long hours and make personal sacrifices in order make your business succeed. But those sacrifices can be worth it as you see the strides you’re making in your business. As you hit important milestones in your company’s growth, you’ll know that you’re well on your way to a successful entrepreneurial endeavor. So here are 5 important startup milestones that you can look forward to when growing your business.
Making It Official
Just like in any relationship, the first step to a successful business is making it official. No longer is this just “something you do.” You officially have a business now. You’ve registered your business name, made a website, and even have professional-looking business cards. And, just like with a relationship, this is when excitement is at its peak.
You pour your heart and soul into the business, talk about it until your friends are tired of hearing it, and spend every waking moment working on your new company. Now that you’re “official,” you’re convinced that you’ll be in it for the long haul.
Your First Client
Excitement is all well and good, but it’s not until your business begins paying you back for all your efforts that you know you’re on the right track. After all, one-way relationships never thrive. So when you bring in that first client, you can take it as a sign that things are going well.
Your first client doesn’t have to be a huge one. When Sam Ovens (now a multimillionaire and widely renowned business consultant) landed his first client, he made just $1,000 from the contract—and that was in New Zealand currency, so it was significantly less in US dollars. But at the time, as Sam says, it was a thrilling and somewhat unbelievable thing to finally be making money from his business.
Obviously, that single contract was just the beginning for him, and you need to remember that it is only the beginning for your business as well. No matter how small the first contract may be, that little bit of income is something you can use to continue growing your new business. This is the most exciting of your initial startup milestones.
Developing a Social Media Following
The key to successfully expanding a business these days is proper online marketing—and social media is a cornerstone of that. Creating social media profiles is a part of “making it official” with your new company, but when you begin to develop a loyal online following, you know that you’re well on your way. Having that base of followers is essential to bringing in new clients.
Those social media followers see your business’s name in front of them every day, so when they’re looking for the goods or services you offer, you will be the first company they think of. Plus, every time they interact with your page, all of their followers will see your business’s name as well. The potential growth that a loyal social media following can bring you is what makes this such an important milestone.
A Full-Time Gig
Up until now, your company has been a side gig. But eventually, your business is going to provide you with enough income that you can quit your full-time job and dedicate yourself to your new company. It’s a big leap, and a huge milestone for many entrepreneurs. Generally speaking, you want to wait until your business is generating about as much as you were making from your previous job before making the switch, but as long as you’re making a livable income from the business, this milestone is within your reach.
Living the Good Life
The final of the startup milestones of your business is the one every entrepreneur strives for—living comfortably and happily. This means different things to different people, but for the most part, it means that you’re making enough money to afford the lifestyle you’ve been wishing for, and you can delegate enough of the business’s tasks to others so that you can actually have the time to live that lifestyle.
Though the work would continue for some time after this, many view this as the “finish line” for successful entrepreneurs. What’s your opinion? What other important startup milestones have you seen on your entrepreneurial journey?