What are some of your most memorable business milestones? Every Monday, we’re inviting Web.com customers to share milestones they’ve achieved in their small businesses for a chance to be featured in one of our “#MilestoneMonday Small Business Spotlights” in the Web.com Small Business Forum. Each month, we’ll choose another new business to profile, showcasing these individuals, their companies and successes with thousands of Small Business Forum visitors, and many others across our social media communities. You must be a Web.com customer to participate!
Business milestones are markers of growth and success for small business owners. For many entrepreneurs, milestones are deliberately pursued in conjunction with pre-established goals laid out in formal business plans. If you’re a start-up seeking a business loan or capital investment, you can expect that you’ll be required to establish business milestones, prior to winning that financial support. And while reflecting upon and establishing business milestones can be an arduous task, there is great merit in understanding what your road to success should look like, so that along the way, you’ll always know that you’re headed in the right direction, and that you’re on track to arrive at your final destination at the time you were anticipating.
Of course, there are also many small business owners and entrepreneurs who enjoy success without giving much thought to things like business goals or milestones. Their business plans may have been scratched out on napkins and implemented with a “seat-of-the-pants”, “come-what-may” attitude; an approach that might see them speed right by their more structured competitors, surpassing numerous milestones along the way, whether they had planned for them or not. And that’s ok.
One thing I think all business owners agree on is the shared feelings of joy and accomplishment we experience when we do achieve certain milestones, whether we were actively pursuing them, or not. I know. I speak from experience having operated my own small business for many years (a full-service integrated marketing, advertising and branding firm that I grew into a consistent $5 Million/Year business, until we were undone by the crash of the real estate market, in which we were niched).
I was a cross between those two types of entrepreneurial personalities. I launched my company without a formal business plan and only the most basic of milestones- To make more than I spent; To make enough to support myself and my wife; To pay back a “loan” we “made to ourselves” from savings, to open the business; and to surpass the salary from the more secure job I left, in order to launch the company.
As my path unfolded, and I found myself achieving various milestones, I began to get more excited about identifying and planning for the next ones. From financial goals (our first $1M year!); to achieving certain status (A “Fast 50” company; our first National award!); to office expansion (the first, second and third ones); to employees (I never imagined having more than 5 employees, let alone 25! How did I get here?!); there were many great memories along the way! And despite the unfortunate turn of the economy, I would never trade any of those 15 years of achieving milestones –planned or unplanned– for anything.
So, what about you? Whether you’re just getting started, or reflecting back upon years of struggle and success, we want to hear your story. Who knows, you might help inspire someone else to take that same leap of faith into their own business. And there may be no greater milestone than that first, most important one.
Having trouble coming up with ideas? Here’s a list of common business milestones to help you get started thinking about them! You don’t have to write a story (unless you want to), only identify certain milestones that you have reached. Look for our #MilestoneMonday posts on our Facebook or Twitter pages, and reply with your remarks. Or, leave your comments here. That’s it! We’ll choose winners at random and message you for further details. Remember, you must also be a Web.com small business customer to enter. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
Common Business Milestones
When you first had the idea for your business
When you made a decision to quit your job, or to launch a new business
When you applied for your business license
When someone mentored you
When you drafted your first business plan
When you made your first technology or business equipment purchase
When you created your business name or logo
When you created your business website
When you launched your store front / product / service – your Grand Opening!
Your first paying customer
The first time your revenue exceeded expenses
Your first $1,000, $5K, $10K, $100K, $500K, $1M in revenue!
When you hired your first employee
When you moved into your first “real office”
When you attempted your first social media endeavor
When you gained your first 500 Facebook Likes
When you launched your first blog
Your first email campaign
Your first PPC campaign
Your first product line expansion
Your first industry award
The first time you were mentioned in the news
Your first office expansion, or second or third!
Your first “founder vacation” – when you felt your business could run without your constant supervision
Your first 5 employees; 10; 25; 50; 100!
Your first full year in business; 5 yrs., 10yrs.
The first time you mentored someone else
Your first acquisition
The sale of your business