From formulating a business plan to finding investors to setting up websites and social media profiles to developing your first products and services, it is quite challenging to start a business. Even after completing all the initial steps, you will need to work long hours to take your business further. Hence, most entrepreneurs often ponder how long it takes for any business to become successful.
What Makes a Successful Business?
Before you become too concerned regarding how long it takes a business to become successful, you must understand what constitutes a successful business. Knowing and understanding these attributes can give you an idea regarding your company's progress.
If you offer quality service and products, customers are bound to return. Additionally, you will have good recommendations, reviews, and fewer returns on sales.
Once people become aware of your brand, they will not just recognize your company's name but also start understanding your values and develop a sense of your brand's personality.
Understanding your target audience requires you to meet the needs and expectations of your customers. Even your marketing tactics must resonate with your target audience.
A successful business always pays back its community. It may be through donations, sponsorships, or even by participating in various events. Contributions to social causes are an excellent indicator of business success.
Let us look at some of the most successful businesses today and find out how long it took them to taste success.
Google – Created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1996, it was not until the early 2000s that google became one of the most popular search engines.
Microsoft - After its establishment, the company got its first big contract after six years.
Apple - The company was founded by Steve Jobs in 1976 but did not launch the Macintosh until 1984. However, it was only after the 1989 release of the iMac that people started taking note of the company.
We can say that there are no strict timelines for achieving success. But we can identify some common trends in many successful businesses. Let us take a look:
In any business, the first year is by far the most challenging. You must put in countless hours of work if you wish to overcome failure. On the positive side, you also get to fulfill many targets during this period. From becoming incorporated to releasing your website to selling your products, several small targets help you gain confidence. In the first year, you will also gain clients beyond your initial contacts, which will help you get closer to accomplishing your goals.
Most companies find they have much less to celebrate in the second year. However, they must remember that they have done exceptionally well to make it this far. While the definition of success keeps transforming each year, it is related to maintaining a positive cash flow. To survive your second year, you must try to develop a customer base. You will probably lose many of those customers whom you dealt with in the first year. Therefore, your focus must be on nurturing the ones who are left to develop a loyal customer base. It is also possible to notice an influx of leads through your social media, website, and other channels. If you can convert them efficiently, that would contribute exponentially to your success.
Most companies feel that the third year is more difficult as they find very few milestones and still have a long way to go. At this point, one must keep in mind that it is not until the seventh year (at minimum) that a business is likely to achieve true success. Therefore, you must keep pushing yourself and put in all the work. On a positive note, this is also when your startup is transformed into a small business. This means you can hire more employees, develop innovative products and services, and expand your market into new territories.
Fourth to Sixth Year
This should be considered the final stretch between you and success. Only with such a mindset will you start believing in your actions. By the fourth year, you will probably have a steady flow of customers, a well-defined brand, and the responsibility of regularly releasing and updating your products and services.
Seven to Ten Years
Most companies achieve success somewhere between their seventh and tenth year.
Therefore, as we can see, starting a business may sound appealing, but it is not everyone's cup of tea. You are bound to run into several challenges at each step, to the point where you may start asking yourself if it is really something you want. Logistics, finance, and marketing problems will crop up now and then. However, if you have a clear vision for your business, a great team, and consistency, success will not be too far away.