Will my internet business be a success? Will my internet business be profitable? How can I know my internet business is succeeding? These questions and many others preoccupied the minds of young entrepreneurs after they launched their startup.
While only time will truly tell, there are ten easy ways to gauge whether or not your internet business is on the path to success. While the quality of your product or services is important, there are many factors that help you to achieved success such as small business marketing strategies, customers’ preferences.
As a small business owner, I know what it is like to operate in a marketplace with competitors that ‘seem’ to be bigger, more established and successful than my own brand. They are always in the press (but not necessary for positive reasons) and have an army of investors backing their every move and advancement. That said, my small business marketing is doing pretty well and while it may not have the same brand awareness as the big boys, this doesn’t mean it isn’t a success and won’t continue to be over the coming months.
This really got me thinking about many other business owners who like me, have single handily funded their own business venture and not relied on external investors. Arguably, it is usually a slower climb, but for many, that is actually a good thing as it enables you to really focus on building a steady and sustainable business that doesn’t run away with itself before you have had time to iron out any of the inevitable issues that come with learning how to manage a growing business operation.
Launching a startup, no matter how vital the problem you are trying to solve is never a guarantee of 100 percent success. If you are running your own business, it maybe your wish to know what direction it is leading to.
The true measure of success as a new entrepreneur is simply how much you’re learning about your market, your clients, your offerings, yourself and your business. It’s actually not about how correct your original plan was, or whether things are moving “just as planed”, it’s all about learning new skills, learning from mistakes, gaining experience and expertise about what you couldn’t possibly have known beforehand.
Early success is really not about gaining or acquiring customers, it’s learning the reasons why those customers signed on or made a purchase and why others chose not to. It’s about getting customers’ reviews or feedback on what parts of your offering needs improvement, and learning to convert feedback into a better product to improve your small business marketing strategies. It’s also about understanding how your business influences or is influence by the marketplace. It’s about learning, through first-hand experience, what it’s like about working for yourself and what you don’t; where you add the most value to your business and where you are consistently wasting your time.
Below is a series of 10 best strategies to look up to when trying to determine the measure of success level of your business. Bear in mind that while there are good performance indicators, they are not in themselves a guarantee of business success.
1. Network traffic
If you are operating an internet business, an online store… analysing your traffic can be a great lead performance indicators of how successful you are in terms of attracting the right audiences or visitors to your website. Network traffic can come from many different sources, which include social media, SEO, paid advertising, ads.
Therefore, analysing traffic does not only indicate the strength of your business but also gives you a big clue about where your customers are concentrated. With such lead, you can better focus your advertising strategies to target these customers in the hidings.
It can be easy to get hook up in the excessively large figures stated by your competitors, so don’t lose sight of the success that you are achieving.
This is probably the first thing people think about when it comes to the measure of success. Most gauge their business by the money the business is bringing in. This is fairly common sense if there is any leftover money after you have settled your monthly operating expenses, credit line and debt, then it can be concluded that things are moving pretty well. However, if your bottom line is continually red, you can’t meet up with your bills and operating cost, your chances of success begin to dwindle.
Real profit is not only about money, it include things like increase traffic, increase customers base, increase satisfaction to employees, customers and the owner.
3. Operational efficiency
This is the biggest challenger in the business sector. To be able to put all your resources into meaningful use and minimizing waste. It is a problem of scaling, implementing your plan and bringing others to accept your vision and work as a team to achieving it.
Having a good operation isn’t easy neither is achieving a great economic of scale. Thus many small businesses spend the first few years learning the hard way. The only way around this is having a good discipline with your plan and your leadership skills shape to the best interest of your company.
4. Repeat business
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 and want to be loyal customers”
It is evidently true that no customer after purchasing your product or service will return if their satisfactory level is below 50 percent. Customers expect the best from your product and are willing to return to your products/services or even pay more if they received a 100 percent satisfactory level. Therefore, if you operate a business that can benefit from repeat sales, then your rates of repeat customers will be a strong lead performance indicators of whether you are providing the right services to the public.
If you as a small operational business can obtain 95 percent of customers as repeat buyers, then there is a high chance you have built the foundations to scale up a much bigger business.
5. New enquiries
Here is where we clearly look at business growth indication. You may have a huge turn over, your sales may be good but if the people patronizing you are the same, then there is a weakness in your system and it risk going bankrupt. A growing business or a business that is succeeding must be evidence by the growing number of new customers flowing into the business.
The rate of new enquiries is also a good performance indicators of your success, especially if they are referrals (personal recommendation from friends and love ones). If your business is getting a good number of enquiries, then know that your business is ticking is ticking the first box or it’s on track.
Although having a huge number of enquiries is not your primary challenge or objective but how to turn those enquiries to actually sealing or closing deals. Having a high conversion rates is a solid evidence of your strong marketing influence on the market and a good sign for your customers’ relation.
6. Owner satisfaction
This is perhaps the most important measure of business success. You as the business owner are satisfied with the results of business ownership. The first goal of every entrepreneur is to obtain business satisfaction. So if you are able to meet that goal, even if the business itself may not be at its best, you will have that zeal, force to be in business and whatever it may take to change the face of things for the best, you will anxiously take that bold step and stand the gap.
Dissatisfaction is contagious and if you're not happy with your business, it won't take long before your dissatisfaction begins to affect the employees, the customers, the sales and the business. If you are dissatisfy, carve out time for a reality check, identify your worries and seek out small business advice to help you set your feet on deck. Identify the sources of your dissatisfaction and make the necessary changes before it's too late.
7. Average job value
Another performance indicators lies in your average job value, hourly rates, product value, etc. Your competitors might be busier than you are, but if your unit price is higher and you are succeeding in doing business at those levels, you can be rest assured that you have succeeded in showing the market why your services are worth the additional money. Having smaller businesses with higher job values, holds the potential to become a bigger business with a higher job value. It is much harder to be a larger, busier business and suddenly up your prices.
8. Sector dominance
Being the most dominance in a smaller sector is sometimes much more rewarding than being less dominance in a bigger one. If you have succeeded in carving out a niche market for yourself and you have large market sales, it is also a great performance indicators of success. Niche products often have the ability to expand into new markets, thus there is always potential to grow, but taking the lead way in a smaller market is equally commendable.
9. A Growing Customer or Consumer Base
In addition to profitability, a growing customer or consumer base is a sure sign that you are effectively reaching your target market. Reaching your target market is largely what your business is all about and what your advertising machinery is set to achieve. Without a vibrant consumer base, your success will be limited, at best.
The long-term growth of any business is tied directly to its ability to not only reach its customer base, but also to expand it to accommodate your long-term goals. Here is where all of those long hours spent on the planning, research, and development of a marketing strategy, prove it. With the economic meltdown, any business that is due to withstand the prevailing temperatures and become successful must be able to start growing for itself a good customer base and better customers relation to better manage the influx.
10. Employee and Customer satisfaction
Understanding your customers and being able to meet or satisfy their needs or desires is crucial to the strength of your business. Thus customer satisfaction is an indication that your company understands the needs or desires of your customers. Note that, just one unsatisfied customer can negate the promotional impact of several satisfied customers. Having a strong customer service polices will add to the success of your company.
On the other hand, employee satisfaction is another great key indicator of business success. Developing an enabling work environment that rewards employees for their hard work is essential in attracting and retaining quality employees.
It is true that workers that are appreciated are much more likely to go the extra mile when needed and often times may not need extra cash. Just as your business is an indispensable part of you so are the employees to your business. They are the people that greets or meets your customers (imagine the face of an employee who have not received is last two months’ salary in contact with a potential customer. Such an employee can be a negative influence to your business). Therefore, do everything within your power to make sure that face is a smiling one.
Entrepreneurship is not a field of perfections rather a lot like being a student in a pass-fail class. It’s not your job to be perfect (mistakes are a part of our daily life experiences), only to get a lot out of the experience and learn as much as possible. Thus no matter what stage your business is in, whatever the prevailing atmosphere surrounding the life of your business, consider what you’ve learned as a crucial measurement of your success.