Starting, nurturing, and running your own business requires huge commitments. Many small-business entrepreneurs require several years to create scalable, profitable, businesses with loyal client bases. And as they do, their journeys are filled with risks, ups and downs, causing significant stress and anxiety.
For those who survive the start-up phases, they begin to reap the rewards of their efforts. They begin to achieve their goals and accomplish their dreams.
Will you know when you’ve achieved your business goals and dreams? Have you set out how you’ll turn your business idea and ambitions into an established enterprise? Do you know how to scale-up operations and develop a solid client base.
If you have done all of these, you already know you’ve got the basics right. You’ve transformed your business idea into a commercial business venture. Your clients value your service or product and pay you for your idea!
Is your business in good financial shape and generating healthy margins?
Operating with a firm grip on your financials is critical. Reliable and regular income, healthy margins, positive cashflow and liquidity are essential for successful businesses.
During a business’ start-up phase, income doesn’t often keep pace with outgoings and money is often tight.
Regrettably, many entrepreneurs frequently use their cash to pay their business’ bills to keep them afloat. Fortunately, for the successful ones, income has become more stable and is sufficient to cover overheads.
If your business meets your sales margins, is profitable and has stable cash flows, you have a winner. You’re in good shape and you’re starting to generate a reliable source of personal income.
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2. Can your business operate without you?
During the start-up phase, many entrepreneurs “wear many hats”.
They manage their accounting and bookkeeping, including payroll and invoicing. They handle their own marketing, sales, and recruitment. And find time to manage filing, cleaning, and many other day-to-day activities. No wonder they are always tired.
As your business picks-up, you recruit a team to delegate these tasks to. But the $1m question is…Can they operate without you? Are you confident you can take a two-week holiday without worrying your business would collapse?
Truthfully, if you can’t leave them without closely supervising them, you don’t have a business. You have a job. You’ve succeeded when they stop relying on you for everything. Your business will be worth more when you decide to sell.
Recruit a team that’s motivated and who share your vision. You’re the skipper, not the crew. Allow them to flourish. Motivate them.
3. Are your clients your greatest advocates?
I know it sounds obvious. But without clients, you have little chance of having a sustainable business. Securing your first clients was probably daunting and a major milestone when you did. Sound, reliable client portfolios provide opportunities for repeat sales. They transform fledgling businesses into profitable ones.
Clients show they value your services and products when they buy them. They authenticate your faith and passion when you cultivated your business idea into practice. Happy clients become advocates and help you grow your brand.
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4. Have you arrived at your destination?
- Before you started your business, you had a vision of what you wanted to achieve. Perhaps it was in your head. Maybe you set it out in a formal business plan. Perhaps your vision was to:
Replace your current salaried job with a steady income from your own business.
- Set up a business and sell it in 15 years’ time and retire.
- Start a family business which future generations could run and own.
- Develop a new leading-edge product.
- To create a service which improves your future customers’ lives.
- We’re all different, and so are our visions and objectives. After all, they are our goals…no-one else’s. A key point is to evaluate if you’ve achieved your vision and goals.
If you wanted to replace your current salary and be your own boss, did you do this? Or are you toiling for more hours for less money? If you wanted to retire in 15 years, will your business be worth enough when you sell it?
Only you will know if you’re on track to achieve your goals.
What’s the next milestone on your business journey?
Is your business financially strong? Can you step away for a holiday? Are your clients advocates? Will you know when you have achieved your goals? If you answered yes to all four questions, bravo! You’ve created a successful, stable, and profitable business.
What are your plans now? Do you continue with the status-quo and live off your business’ income? Will you introduce the next generation in your family to the business? Are you going to sell your business and retire?
These are probably life-changing decisions. They shouldn’t be rushed. Discuss your thoughts and options with family and seek the right professional advice. Our business advisory services team will be glad to help.