Setting goals, founding, managing, and growing a business is a BIG commitment. For most business owners, it will take years to build a customer following, turn a profit and create a truly scalable business. It’s a journey that can sometimes be pressurised, stressful, and risky. – But when your plan really does come together, there is the chance of real success, a lasting legacy, and a business that delivers on your initial dream.
So, how do you know when you’ve truly achieved your business goals?
You’ll have seen your business idea grow from being a fledgling startup, to an established business and then to a scaled-up ambitious enterprise with a solid customer base.
You know you’re on solid ground as a business if you’ve met these growth targets. Your idea has legs, and you’re delivering a product and/or service that your customers see as valuable – and they’re willing to part with their hard-earned cash to use or purchase.
Running a tight financial ship is crucial. You need solid revenues, positive cash flow, and good liquidity to keep your business ticking over.
In the early days of being a startup, cash will have been tight. And your own personal income as a founder and director will probably have been scarce too. But as the business has become more established, you should have found that your business revenue became more stable and predictable – and that your own personal wealth also followed this same reliable pattern. If the business has a solid balance sheet, great cash flow, and meets your intended profit targets, you’re onto a good thing – and can be sure that your financial position is in good shape.
Without customers, you don’t have a viable business. Finding your first customers as a startup was probably a significant turning point in your journey. A good customer base brings the bonus of new sales, fresh revenues, and a business that can actually turn a profit.
When customers engage with you and buy your goods and services, that confirms your original faith in your business idea. You’re providing something they value and want to purchase, and you’re also building a community of like-minded people who all think your brand is great.
You’ll probably have become a jack (or jill) or all trades in the early days. You’ll have run the sales and marketing campaigns, taken care of all the main operational tasks, and dealt with the many invoicing, accounting, and bookkeeping tasks. Turn the clock forward, and you probably have a team of people around you to take care of these jobs – but could they function with you?
This is really the acid test of whether you’ve scaled and succeeded. If the business still relies on you, you have a problem. A business needs to function effectively without the founder to be a saleable proposition. If not, you’ll never be in a position to sell up. To make this possible, you need a team of engaged and talented people around you who share your vision and talents and can keep the ship on an even course, even once the original captain has set sail on fresh, new adventures.
You’ll have sat down to draw up a startup plan in your formative years as a founder. In that plan, you’ll have outlined a clear vision for what this business would achieve.
This vision might have been:
We all have different goals, and whether they are financial, personal, or moral comes down to the individual. The important thing at this point is to assess whether you’ve met the business goals you set out to achieve. If you aimed to sell for a profit and then retire, are you ready to do this? If the goal was to become a household name and move your sector forward, do your customer engagement figures, and market share stats reflect this?
Deep down, only you and your fellow founders know whether you’ve truly met your intended business goals. But if the general consensus is that you aced it, then it’s time to think about the future.
If you can answer yes to all five of these questions, then congratulations! You’ve built a successful, stable, and profitable business.
But what do you do now? Do you continue to plough this fertile furrow and live off the profits? Do you find a buyer for the existing business and start on your next business idea? Or do you sell up, look at retirement, and enjoy the benefits of your money and lifestyle?
It’s a good idea to talk to us before you make what is, essentially, a life-changing decision. If you’d like to discuss your options, get in touch.