Success is hard to measure when starting a small business. The metrics used to determine success for larger companies do not apply when first making investments and finding footing in the market. Most small business owners still want to know how to tell if the endeavor is succeeding or failing.
There are five early signs of small business success:
One of the first early signs should be consistent growth. This does not necessarily mean profitability. The small business should start seeing growth in month-over-month reports. Steady growth indicates that the consumer base is starting to grow and sales are increasing.
The growth does not have to be exponential in the first one to two years to indicate early success.
A clear sign that a small business is becoming successful is repeat business from customers. If customers are coming back to the business to make more purchases, then the products, brand or services are starting to make an impact on consumers.
Repeat customers could also show that marketing and branding is successfully building loyalty or drawing consumers away from competitors.
A marker of early business success is employee satisfaction. Employees of successful companies have good morale and high satisfaction. This is because unsuccessful companies are usually doing many thing wrongs.
Inefficient workflows, counterproductive policies and poor products or equipment can all cause employees to become frustrated and even apathetic. Satisfied and productive employees are an early sign of success.
No daily operational problems
An early sign of success is sometimes as simple as being able to operate on a daily basis without encountering problems every day. Frequent operational problems show the business, supply chains and internal workflows are not structured correctly.
The ability to operate without requiring impromptu fixes each day shows that the business has a firm foundation for success.
A major early sign of success is when customers start arriving due to referrals from other people and not as a direct result of marketing efforts. Unsolicited referrals mean that the brand and the brand message is taking hold in the community or within market segments.
This is a sign that the business has started to occupy a real and measurable part of the larger market.
The markers of success for a small business are not likely to occur all at once. It can take months to achieve everything necessary to be certain. Small businesses that do start to reach these benchmarks consistently can be confident that they are early signs of success.
For an example of a business that embodies these hallmarks of business success, visit Melaleuca.
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