Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are businesses. Building your brand and expanding your reach are long-term efforts that often take years of hard work, innovation and more than a little bit of good luck. But while success can take a while to come to fruition, there are a few key indicators that your startup is will prosper and grow.
Customers Found You Before Investors
Every startup wants to attract investors and attain that coveted billion-dollar “unicorn” status but these success stories are few and far between. A better indicator of impending success is who discovers you first. Companies that grab the attention of their customer base before they receive investor money are often better off than those that rely on investment infusions from the start.
Why? Because these companies are already building their own value without the aid of outside funds, pointing to a sustainable business idea and organic growth. This notion is exemplified by companies such as Facebook that quietly amassed a user base of 85% of college students by the time investors took notice in 2005.
Demand for your product continues to increase
While going viral can be a boon to your bottom line (as long as it’s for the right reasons), it can also be a fleeting form of success. More important is a steady increase in brand recognition and demand for your product and service.
This often happens via word of mouth, whether it’s between friends and family members or social media platforms. A growing customer base and the expansion of your reach into new segments of the market are usually good signs that your startup is headed in the right direction.
You’re in a needy niche
When it comes to startups, you certainly don’t want to be a little fish in a big pond. You should aim to be the only fish in an untapped pond.
Spending your energy serving a market that’s previously been neglected, rather than fighting competitors for market share, helps solidify a user base that will likely remain loyal to the first company that served their needs.
There’s a much better chance of success in small, underserved markets where your company can establish itself as an innovator and leader.
Your employees are excited
Startup environments are known to attract driven, creative, entrepreneurial workforces, especially in the early days of a company’s journey.
Having employees that stay engaged and excited for the long haul once the hard work begins, however, is an even better gauge of long-term success. In fact, studies have shown that happy workers can boost profits up to four times over the average and provide double the average revenue.
Any of these signs alone are powerful indicators of success, but hitting all four can really put your startup over the top. If you find that your company is lacking in any of these areas, it is imperative that you rethink your approach and shore up your gaps. Double down on what works and don’t be afraid to toss what doesn’t. Even if you’re currently hitting your goals, keeping these things as a priority, and constantly striving to improve, will help you maintain your success.