Creating a new startup is just the beginning of a very long and time-consuming journey. It takes a great amount of time and energy to achieve success, but once you do, it feels amazing! I’ve had the good fortune to learn this first hand at Buzz Design, and various other companies that I co-founded.
Success is subjective, and it will look different for everyone; however, here are 7 signs of success you will experience on your startup journey.
Once you start seeing these 7 things you’ll know that your company is well on its way to success — or maybe you’ll realize you’ve actually already made it.
1. Hiring Employee #1
In the early days, nobody wants to join a one-man show. But life became much easier after establishing some early wins and communicating a vision talented people could buy into!
2. $1 Million Per Year in Revenue
There is no better feeling than making $83,333 per month, or $1 million per year. This is a BIG deal.
3. Industry People Know You
You know your company has made it when people in your own industry come up to you and know who you are. You don’t have to introduce yourself— a great feeling!
When finally you start making more money than you spend (EBITA!). Most businesses — even massive companies — have yet to make a dime. Until you get to this point, you have to worry about your burn rate (e.g. you’re burning $200,000 to $300,000 a month more then you brought in for the month).
5. Who Are These People?
You know your company has made it when you no longer know everyone who is working for your company.
6. Your Company Doesn’t Need You
It is a great feeling when your company doesn’t skip a beat if you are not in a meeting or, more importantly, when you’re on a vacation with your family!
7. Getting Acquired or Going Public
No, this one hasn’t happened yet for me, being acquired or going public is a sure sign your company has made it.
Building a startup isn’t just about making tons of money. As a founder, it’s about creating value in terms of the utility you provide to customers, the jobs you provide to your employees, and the promises you made to your investors.
I might think I’ve created a lot of value, but I’m biased. Being acquired is a really strong validation from an external perspective. In the case of going public, it’s even more valuable because your value isn’t being decided from a single perspective — it’s the market’s perspective of the value you’ve been able to create!