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Why should I document business milestones?
By: Jessica Rickard | February 22, 2021
According to bizjournals.com, there are 4 groups of people that start their own business:
Passionate Creators – This group started their business out of love for what they do.
Freedom Seekers – This group values the ability to control their work experiences.
Legacy Builders – These owners wanted to bring something new to the marketplace.
Struggling Survivors – This group is a little different, they are deeply rooted in fear and face the challenges of business ownership every day.
No matter which group you fall into, every business owner is going to encounter certain business milestones. Some milestones may be different as you look at different industries, but there are some that apply to everybody.
Let’s take a look at some of those universal milestones.
The first thing you do as a new business owner – is start your own business! This is your first crucial milestone. In order to actually get it going, there was paperwork you had to fill out, funding you had to raise, and employees you needed to hire. That is a lot of work!
If you are a business owner who has been in the market for a few years, this could also be looked at in terms of a new location. The steps you took to open your first ice cream shop are very similar to the steps you need to take to open your second one.
Either way you look at it, this is the most crucial and important milestone. Can’t have a business if you never open! So congrats!
Don’t Slow Down Now
After you open your doors you can’t slow down. There are more milestones you should hit in the first 5 years of your business.
Freshbooks.com has an article about 6 important milestones to hit in the first 5 years.
Let’s take a look at them.
Milestone #1: Create the Idea
In order to even get started, you need to have the idea. And chances are you remember where you were when it hit you. Track that as your first important milestone. Where were you, who was there, what were you doing when you thought of something so amazing the whole world needed to see it? This also leads to the next couple of questions when building your business:
Who is your client?
What does your client value?
How do you deliver that value at the right cost?
Answering these questions puts you on the path to a profitable business model and a successful business.
Milestone #2: First Repeat Client
Of course, no business is successful if they don’t sell. Whatever your business is – a restaurant, an ice cream shop, a boutique, a tire shop – you want to build a community of loyal customers. Loyal customers give you a sense of security in the market. An important milestone is having your first repeat, loyal customer.
Milestone #3: Realistic, Scalable Marketing Strategy
How are people going to hear about you? Will you focus on social media ads, tv commercials, print advertising, or just word of mouth (not recommended)? However you decide to market your business, it needs to check these boxes:
Once you find something that works, you need to be able to repeat it or scale it up if necessary. It also needs to be realistic and budget friendly. If you have a marketing team of 1 – it may be close to impossible to be on every social media site, on every television channel, and in every newspaper. Make sure you don’t burn out your team with too much work. Pick a few avenues you your target audience is on and start there.
Milestone #4: Hire and Train a Solid Team
The definition of a team is a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport. The game is capitalism and your players are your employees!
Making sure your team is on the same page as you and will help you toward your business goals is important. You also need to build a team that can run your business for you if needed. You can’t always be in the office or on-site, you need to trust your team to get the job done in your absence.
Milestone #5: Gain Authority in Your Industry
If you want to keep growing and being successful, you need to become the authority. Be THE ice cream shop that everyone is talking about and visiting. In order to do this, you need to create content that builds your credibility (kind of like this blog that I am writing). Give your audience some beneficial resources that paint you as the source of truth whenever they need it.
Milestone #6: Reach a Significant Number of Sales
Sales are king – they are what drive your entire business. This milestone is dependent on a goal. It is important to set sales goals so your entire team knows what you are working toward – and can celebrate when you reach it. Just like the marketing plan, the goal needs to be realistic and scalable. Make sure you can realistically achieve it and scale it up for the next goal!
Great, Now What?
You may be thinking, okay cool…these are great milestones but what is the point? Setting goals and creating milestones n your business gives your entire team a sense of purpose. Sure, I can just go to work everyday and earn a paycheck by doing the bare minimum. With a goal in mind and a plan to achieve it, I know have a passion for my job. I want to go to work and do everything I can to make sure we hit the goals we set on time.
Here is my shameless plug – with Path by Simplex, you can keep track of all of these milestones and more in your business. Remember how I said you need repeatable processes, and you may need to refer back to previous information? In Path, you create a milestone based on an event (I just gave you 6 events) and you attach all the documentation, charts, graphs, reports, images that relate to that milestone and it is there for you to go back to at any time.
What’s even better? Path is a place for your entire team. So create a milestone, share it to the bridge, and congratulate your team on hitting that sales goal.
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