A lot of times, we think about success in business as hard numbers that can give a clear picture of the state of a company. But there are more ways to think about success than the obvious metrics.
What can business success look like in a different form? We gathered insights from members of the Young Entrepreneur Council by asking the following question:
Q. Business success is commonly understood in the form of sales and revenue. What’s one less common way you measure your own business success as an entrepreneur?
Their best answers are below:
As a young company, fine-tuning our marketing and sales engine is obviously a top priority. However, something that I take a lot of pride in and love reporting on is our customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is very difficult to attain in our industry, and ours is well above average. By taking a look at the good and bad feedback, we can ensure we build the best company! – Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant
Vision and Purpose
If you still believe in your vision, and you are a few steps closer to achieving it than you were a month ago, I consider that success. If not, then it is time to take another look at the vision, the metrics, and the team. If morale is low and the team is no longer excited about your organization’s potential and goals, then it’s time to re-evaluate. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
You don’t have to be the biggest player in your market to be winning, but you do have to be the tastemaker for the customers. When customers turn to you for the industry standards and service/product norms, and not your competitors, you are winning. The added bonus is that you get to move the goal posts for your competitors and they will always be playing catch-up and watching what you do. – Eric Mathews, Start Co.
Building long-term relationships with customers is an important part of our success. We have many clients who have been with us for years because we work hard to understand what they need. An increase in our churn rate would be a cause for concern, even if sales and revenue were improving. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
I’m passionate about energy-efficient solutions that make good business sense. If I can look back at the past quarter and identify not just positive growth but a reduction in environmental impact — whether that’s through more energy-efficient infrastructure, a reduction in paper waste or an increase in recycling — that’s just a personal measure of entrepreneurial success. – Zev Herman, Superior Lighting
I use word-of-mouth referrals as an indicator of how successful we are as a company. If we are doing outstanding work and our clients can vouch for us, recommend us and encourage others to hire us, it’s a big component of our success. While it’s easy to ‘get things done,’ truly going over the top to surprise and delight your clients will leave them wanting to sing your praises. While it’s not a hard fact or figure like revenue, the amount of referrals we have come in per quarter is a metric I always follow. – Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
It’s important to keep track of sales and revenue because, without those two components in check, you won’t have a company. But, you also need your employees to help keep the machine running, and if they are unhappy, they won’t stick around very long. It’s important to create an environment that allows them to easily talk about their current supports and express concerns or ideas aimed at improving the quality of the company. – Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.
I measure success by brand recognition. That includes the number of views and shares on my thought leadership pieces, the number of conferences where I’m invited to speak, and the number of requests I get for my opinion on a trend or topic. – John Rampton, Calendar
We are a small team of 35 people and we hire people every year, most of them fresh college graduates. We provide an opportunity for them to learn, perform, and grow. Employees either stay or take on a new opportunity, which gives us immense pleasure that we have helped human resources to nurture and grow. As an entrepreneur, I feel very satisfied to think about people I have helped. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm
Quality of Life
What happens if the great sales and revenue numbers come at the expense of sacrificing every potential minute of one’s life? A successful entrepreneur may be judged by the quality of life they live, which is their ability to live life on their terms while having businesses that support this. – Shawn Schulze, Names.org
If you have investors for your company, you have to think about how you are going to get a return for them. Many people think revenue is the key to an acquisition, but many times it’s about strategic alignment with your intended acquirers. In this case, users, data, IP, and many other assets become possibly far more valuable than revenue alone to your acquirer. Build out the former assets. – Andy Karuza, FenSens
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.