With the new year upon us, and many new startups being formed, one question that is on many new entrepreneurs’ minds is “how do you know when a startup will be successful?” Making the leap to even start a company is so difficult for many people, partly because of all the unknowns, and partly because the chance of failure is so high. The allure of entrepreneurship is powerful with the idea of a meritocracy and the ability to control your own destiny.
For me, there wasn’t a particular aha moment when I knew my startup was going to be successful (I’ve started two companies that meet my definition of a successful business), but in hindsight there were some strong indicators, of which here are a few:
- Revenue and sales got significantly ahead of our hiring pace
- The customer acquisition process started to appear repeatable
- I could go on vacation for two weeks, not worry at all about the business, and come back with things being even better than when I left
- We had sufficient levels of depth and maturity in each department whereby the department managers could take vacation and everything was fine
- Each department was truly operating at a high level and doing great things (we were firing on all cylinders)
- Customer compliments were outnumbering customer complaints 10-1
Success appears in so many different forms that it’s hard at times to appreciate the milestones. Knowing a startup will be successful doesn’t happen quickly, but over time it becomes readily apparent.
What else? What are some other ways you know when a startup will be successful?