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Top Business Success Milestones

A milestone is an event or task in a project with zero time period used to measure the progress of a project over time. Milestones are important aspect because they act as gauge and point you to the realities about your overall activities. Every project most has a method for its measurement. This is also true for businesses. Just getting your plan do and trying to put it into play without an outline strategy to measure how far or your rate of success may lead you to your doom.

After many sleepless nights, stressful days and long weeks of activities putting things together, your business has finally become a reality. The next thing on your mind is the desire to see your business successful, to live your dreams and achieved your goal. While only time will tell, there are many ways you can gauge or track whether your business is on the right path to success.

These are business milestones that every business on the path to success should overcome. We are going to discuss the important business milestones to watch out for.

While it is true that approximately 50% of businesses in the United States fail within their first 5 years, every business that is going to succeed or fail always shows some characteristics to watch out for. What causes all of them to fail?

Although some fail due to market trends that work against them, most fail due to poor timing, unfortunate economic changes and a host of other reasons that are just beyond their control.

Majority of businesses that failed is due to circumstances they could have taken control over. A study of about 4500 entrepreneurs discovered that the reasons most businesses fail usually link to the person who started the business.

 

Business Model

Your business model points the direction your business will follow and indicate the level your business will occupy in the next month, five months, first year, first five years… Before you launch your business, take off time to formally write down a fully-fledged business model. This is the first and most important milestone that your business must reach.

Therefore, your business model should be one which is profitable and should focus on this three core question;

  • Who are your clients, customers or audiences?
  • What do they value, needs or desires?
  • How will you deliver that value at the right cost and time?

A business model that addresses these questions is a profitable business model. If your model answered those questions, then you have created a business that makes everyone invest tons of money. Thus, you have to be a critical thinker.

The first step is to plan and develop a clear business strategy with one chief realistic and scalable goal. This main goal will guide the allocation of time and resources while being the solid foundation for long-term business growth.

For some of the companies or businesses, the main goal is to create economic value and grow monthly. However, the principal objective can also be related to customer acquisition, product quality, etc. Whichever the chief goal, it must rule over all other performance metrics and be the principal indicator of your business’s success.

In the eventuality of the absence of a well-defined business goal, managers have a tough time on agreeing on the measurements of business success. Moreover, a business that lacks a concrete vision/goal is known to allocate its resources inefficiently and return a lower profit.

Setting a chief goal is paramount to establishing the core values and effective resource allocation inside a business.

Repeat Client

Repeat business simply means gaining customers loyalty or satisfaction that enables them to come back again and again to purchase your products or services. People purchased a product the on the first outing for many reasons ranging from your ads design, packaging to reasons like just to give it a try. But customers, who return to buy the second, third, fourth… times, do it for one reason “they obtain satisfactory results from the first purchase and have become loyal customers”

If your business is one with possibilities of having repeat customers, then your next milestone is to get your first repeat client. Having your repeat client will establish that motivation you need to keep going and confidence in your business. It is the sweetest feeling you will ever have knowing that you have succeeded in satisfying your client to the point they turn back to consume more of your product.

You may also end this repeat client through personal recommendation. This too is a booster to your business. It tells you that your product or service is also marketing itself and gaining recommendations. Achieving your second repeat will give you a clear indication of who your clients are and where they spend most of their time (online /or offline)

Marketing Strategy

The next thing to do is to create a realistic and scalable marketing strategy. Your business success mainly relay on your marketing strategy. Entrepreneurs who sit and wait for clients to call are destined to fail. Marketing at times actively bring in new business.

In the past many businesses usually hire marketing firm(s) to handle everything marketing. While some still do this today, and you too can, if you have the budget, it will be of more benefit for entrepreneurs to tackle as much of the marketing strategies as they can and outsource once they know what works.

Determination and delegation are two of key “talents” of entrepreneurs strengthened by taking an active role in your marketing campaign. You’ll have to try new tools that make it all possible, and put in much time to market your business.

Once you identify or understand the tools at your disposal that best work, create a scalable (meaning that you can amplify the effect without amplifying the costs by the same degree) marketing strategy around them.

Take the advantage internet marketing provide and work with the right people. This will help you create a marketing strategy that you will take to the bank.

Hire and Train Your Team

Starting off as a one-man operation is great. However, with the exception of a few lucky business models, it will only take you that far.

My advice is for you to hire and train a team (ofcouse, you have to allocate budget for this). This may not be appealing to many but it a milestone that will grow your business by leaps and bounds.

Put in the time and effort to create and run a stellar employee training program (a stich in time saves nine) before you even hire your first employee. Instead of stumbling through your business with the wrong people with the high likelihood of time wasting, energy and money, it’s best to train your own team you can count on (don’t worry about the time and money that maybe involve, with time it pays off).

You can also test the waters by hiring a virtual assistant. They can take a lot off your plate without being a formal team member.

They can help you establish that highly sought after work/life balance that is a must for all entrepreneurs.

Gain Authority

At this stage, you may be making money and you may have a great team in place. Your next milestone is to become the boss (authority) in your industry.

Even though your business doesn’t exist entirely online, the Internet is your sure and fastest route to becoming an authority. Create contents that your industry needs and will appreciate it and give it away for free. Your peers will notice that you are clearly knowledgeable, expert and experience, and over time, you’ll become their boss (an authority).

Try to get involved in local events like conferences, networking, etc. that allows you to speak or give presentation about what you know. You may even wish to look out for speaking events and industry-wide conventions.

Putting together speaking engagements with stellar online content will turn you into a true authority.

Make Significant Number of Sales and Customers’ Base

After developing a profitable business model, creating a scalable marketing strategy, found the perfect team and gaining authority in your industry, you’re on path for lasting success. The last and final milestone is to reach is a significant number of sales and a significant loyal customer’s base.

A business that is on the way to success most start by creating a reasonable customers base that will give it the significant number of sales thus profitability. Businesses relies on their customers, therefore being able to satisfy these customers is all what the entrepreneur is out to achieve.

Set a specific objective for sales. Without an objective, your business will stagnate. Having a set objective will help you to continue moving toward your target growth.

Determine and set an ambitious, yet achievable, dollar figure for your business. Only you can decide what number to set as your target (only you know your business model), but once set, distribute it to ensure everyone on your team knows about it. Make it something you strive towards together.

How to Manage Business Growth?

Poor or no planning is one of the most causes of small business failure. One feature of poor planning is the inability to properly manage business growth (sometimes called overexpansion), which is another key cause of business failure. An explosion of sales or interest in the company is a great thing, but if you're unprepared (not plan) for that growth, it can turn out to be a devastating blow to the stability of the business. Therefore, to be better prepared for business expansion or growth and better manage it, you should:

  • Regularly monitor your business financial dealings and create regular financial statements to monitor the progress of the company. This should include income statements and cash flow sheets. Doing this and keeping record of your financial information will help you to see trends in your sales and your expenditures so that you can resolve issues before they become problematic and difficult to manage.
  • Seek for the opinions and advice of your employees and customers regularly as a way to manage your business growth effectively. These parties are important to neglect and can help you keep a finger on the pulse of the progress of your business and help inform you learn about new trends.
  • Put the Internet to your advantage to manage your business growth. You can set up social networking profiles to connect to the public. Check websites that discuss your business, products or services and read reviews about your company's products or services regularly. Actively monitoring these online forums could notify you of news that could help you prepare for future trends that can propel your business.
  • Review your inventory (stocks, sales etc.) data at least each month, if you sell products. Stock more than you estimate you'll need in case you have experience an unexpected growth in sales, but just be careful to monitor this closely. Make arrangements with your suppliers to provide or deliver rush orders in case of an emergency involving low inventory and high demand for your products.
  • Check and follow the progress of your advertising and promotional campaigns closely as a way to stay apprised of possible growth patterns. For example, if you have an online ad-serving campaign, you may notice/see a sudden increase in clicks directed to a specific product page that might indicate that you should order more of that item soon.

You can be Among the 50% Successful Business

You can place your business among the 50% that makes it past 5 years and then onward to 10, 20 and 100 years. To do this, you’ll need to set realistic goals. The milestones only help you to plan and monitor your business progress. A perfectly set milestones and goals keep you and your team focused and good management will guide your business to success. Along the way, you will surprisingly become confident as business focused skilled promoter. All of which are essential skills of successful entrepreneurs.

 

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