Starting a business is a roller coaster of emotions. You’re hitting a new milestone each day, for better or for worse. From your first happy customer to your first negative review.
When it comes to small business success, it is hard to know when your small business is growing up. Here are six unmistakable signs that you are on your way:
Clients Find You. Not the Other Way Around.
For many small business owners, the first batch of customers is friends and family. That is awesome. They are your personal cheerleaders helping you succeed. Unfortunately, you can’t achieve small business success based solely on the hope that your best friend makes a purchase or books an appointment month after month.
As your business grows, the first time a person you don’t know walks through the door (or visits your website) is a moment worth remembering. It confirms your efforts are working. But which ones?
When new customers come into your business or book an appointment, be sure to capitalize on this success. Ask them how they found you. Did they do an online search, hear your radio ad or did someone recommend you? Whatever the reason, you can use this information to continue to grow your reach and, by extension, grow your business, too.
Someone Left a Bad Review … And You Responded.
Online reviews are the new word of mouth. If your company doesn’t have any, that may mean less business. Did you know: 97% of customers check reviews prior to making a purchase? And 85% of people are specifically looking for negative ones.
Good or bad, reviews show that your customers are engaged with your business. And, while they aren’t fun, negative reviews can provide insights into the best ways for your business to grow. No one knows what your customers want better than they do.
When those negative reviews roll in, it’s important to always respond. How you handle reviews is just as important as getting them. If you aren’t sure how to handle a patron putting your business on blast, follow these simple tips for turning negative reviews into new opportunities.
You’re No Longer a Captain Without a Crew.
When you first set out to start your business, you were doing it alone. You were the project manager, accountant, graphic designer … you name it, you did it. While doing it alone may work for a bit, after a while, as your business grows, you need help.
Hiring your first employee is a massive milestone. It means you have enough work in the pipeline to keep them busy. It’s a sign of your business transforming from a passion project into something real. You are now supporting a person’s livelihood, other than your own.
You’ve Put Processes in Place – and They’re Working.
Project Management: ✅
Payment Processing: ✅
Appointment Scheduling: ✅
You’ve figured it out. There are a lot of moving parts to a small business, but thanks to the processes you’ve put in place, your business is running like a well-oiled machine. At least most of the time.
Fully functioning processes, like online scheduling and automated appointment reminders or streamlined payment processing can keep your business running efficiently and effectively.
Thryv makes it easy on small business owners, letting them manage these processes and more all from a single dashboard.
You’ve Gone Through a Client Breakup.
When you started out your business, it was ludicrous to think you would ever turn a customer away. More clients mean more revenue, right? Unfortunately, not all client relationships are healthy for you or your business.
Some clients take up more time and resources than they are worth, some show a lack of respect for you or your employees, or they simply aren’t a good fit for your product or service.
Whatever the reason, you’ve made the decision to part ways for the health of your small business. You’ve learned that you can’t waste time and resources on a client who can’t provide tangible value to your organization.
You Can See Growth and You’re Planning for More.
What is growth? It might be hard to notice how much has changed since you started your business. You hit the ground running the day you opened your doors and never looked back. But now, it might be time to step back and reflect on what you’ve accomplished. After all, incremental steps can lead to big changes.
If your business looks different than it did a year ago, you are on the right track. But you aren’t content with letting your business become stagnant. You have your eyes on the future, planning your next hire, your product or service launch, preparing for the future.
Making the Most of Each Milestone.
While no one knows what the future holds, it’s important to celebrate milestones like the six listed above. Each and every win, no matter how inconsequential it may feel, means you are one step closer to long-term small business success.