Half of the small businesses fail within the first five years. And the remaining half regularly fail to achieve crucial business goals. That is a terrifying statistic for any business owner, even those who have been in business for more than five years. At times, market trends conspire against them. Certain unsuccessful businesses might fairly be blamed on unfavorable economic conditions and a bunch of other uncontrollable factors.
Nonetheless, the majority of businesses fail as a result of circumstances outside their control. According to a Gallup study of 4,000 entrepreneurs, the founder is frequently the primary reason for a failing business. They then deconstructed the traits of successful business entrepreneurs to give evidence-based abilities and strategies that you may immediately use.
To assist you in remaining focused and on track, we’ve broken down these entrepreneurial methods and skills into seven attainable startup milestones.
7 Common Startup milestones
Completed proof of concept
This stage is extremely inexpensive in comparison to other startup processes and occurs before the completion of the entire product. It frequently occurs before any product development at all. This phase is used to determine whether additional development should be pursued. At this step, planners determine whether there is a genuine market need for the product as envisioned or the model as produced, or whether it contains a potentially fatal fault. At this point, entrepreneurs may have identified a new potential as a result of the testing and refining of their first notion.
The concept challenges are going to be made about desired product characteristics, target markets, pricing range, and perception of need. All product planners should consider the two following questions:
- Have we established that an opportunity exists that offers a sufficient reward to justify the associated risks and costs?
- What have we learned from this test that alters our assumptions and, thus, our product development objectives and target markets?
Some aspects of product development, production, and test marketing may appear inexpensive enough to justify omitting this step. However, it is going to be very dangerous, as you need to justify your own decision and at least produce another alternative product solution that can somehow ease your situation.
The purpose of an MVP is to build the bare minimum version of your product that \fulfills client needs. Now, to clear up any confusion: Prototypes are distinct from Minimum Viable Products. All MVPs are prototypes in their heart but are far ahead of their time in product development. An MVP is created after you have validated all of your hypotheses and assumptions through prototyping.
While developing your MVP, it is critical to consider critical steps such as research, wireframing, and design. Integrate your basic principles and emotions into the design of your MVP. Consistency in design, tone of voice, and product imagery is critical. Consistency in UI design will help define the brand image of your items.
One of the first startup milestones that have existed for a long time is the marketing strategy. Since nobody is aware of you or your concept, thus you must promote your startup. Marketing will bring your startup’s name to the attention of potential clients. It is every business’s lifeblood.
Utilize online marketing to its full potential in the digitization era. By using content marketing, you may build email lists of interested consumers. Utilize your networks and enter startup competitions (even if you do not succeed at it completely9, you will almost certainly receive free marketing).
Create a scalable marketing approach that can easily be amplified without incurring additional marketing expenses. When developing a marketing strategy, keep your budget in mind, as the majority of firms make the frequent mistake of spending a lot of money and receiving small returns.
Positive Cash Flow
Positive cash flows occur when your cash inflows exceed your cash outflows. This does not always imply that you are profitable. Positive cash flows indicate effective revenue and expense management. It demonstrates a significant rise in liquid assets, which enables reinvestment in the business, shareholder payments, and even some cushion for unforeseen financial issues.
The more cash flow you generate, the better your chances of being viable in a competitive market. This critical startup milestone enables business expansion while keeping independence. Several of the most effective techniques for achieving a good cash flow rating include collecting receivable payments, growing cash sales, enhancing credit rating through cash reserves and debt management, acquiring short-term loans for daily overheard payments, and so on.
Customer interviews are an example of a channel for qualitative validation. A landing page enables you to objectively validate your app concept. Utilize prototype screenshots to demonstrate how your product will be unique, how to utilize it, and why interested users should join up early. While many sites are likely prototype tools, many can assist you in creating a viable landing page in an afternoon.
Reach a stable number of sales
If you’ve constructed a successful company model, a scalable marketing approach, and the ideal staff, you’re well on your way to long-term success. The final business objective is to achieve a certain level of sales. Establish a particular sales target. Without a purpose, a firm will stall. Having a goal will motivate you to continue progressing in the direction of your desired growth.
Establish an aggressive, yet attainable, revenue target for your organization. The data will change depending on your business’s type. Only you know what number to use as your target, but after you’ve chosen it, ensure that everyone on your team is aware of it. Make it a shared goal.
Customer Acquisition Strategy
How much does it cost you to acquire a paying customer via each channel? What is the return on investment for every dollar spent marketing to potential customers? These are straightforward questions, but a surprising proportion of early-stage firms are unable to respond. Unless you can do so, you are probably not prepared for a Series A round.
While meeting these criteria does not ensure a successful Series A, failing to do so essentially guaranteed failure. Raising a Series A investment is already one of the most demanding aspects of your role as an entrepreneur, so why not spend some time first establishing these four critical aspects of the business?
All in all, there are lots of startup milestones that should be achieved in a correct and relevant approach. The ones we have mentioned in our list above are the core essential ones and should be prioritized and executed with a solid success mark. Furthermore, if you are a beginning entrepreneur who is just starting his business journey, don’t be afraid to ask questions from experienced startupers or potential investors on the topic of startup milestones. As they are the ones who can greatly assist you. However, what if you can’t understand the base principles of any startup milestone you have set, that directly connect with your product development plan? In that case, we can provide a direct specificity of your product development process. Over the past 10+ years, we have been involved in numerous startups and entrepreneurs that have been actively engaged in developing unique digital products. All of them have been successfully raised to a solid stage when they can efficiently labor productive results. How did they accomplish that with us? Everything has begun with our technological flow or, more precisely, with the Design and Discovery Phase. It is an accessible business and development steps where our experts will produce a concise MVP plan covering the future product development. Already got interested? Leave your project details below, and we will contact you in under 24 hours.