A start-up business is like an egg. You have to manage and groom it consciously and carefully to ensure that it doesn’t fall. If it falls, you may be unable to pick up the pieces.
At this stage, your business is very fragile and requires 100 per cent attention from the entrepreneur. Nevertheless, if you survive this difficult phase and become stable, it is not yet uhuru. It doesn’t mean your business is no longer a start-up. This is one mistake many entrepreneurs make.
They erroneously conclude that they have passed the start-up stage and are ready to be tagged a blue chip company. Meanwhile, some entrepreneurs prefer the tag ‘start-up’ because it gives access to funding. Whichever divide you belong, no one will question your decision. However, before you make such a choice, whether you are still a start-up or not, here are signs to look out for to know if your business is no longer a start-up:
- You survive the risk stage
Every potential entrepreneur knows that starting a business is a risk. When you have enmeshed all your efforts in running your business and it still cannot survive, it is advisable you stay as a start-up. If you struggle to engage in risk factors like borrowing money from the bank, ability to provide stable electricity, pay your taxes, among others, at the start-up stage, you should just remain a start-up and concentrate on achieving stability.
2. You can pay your employees and yourself
Paying your workers as at when due is an important metric to decide if you are no longer a start-up. If you can conveniently pay your employees including yourself, you are slowly leaving the start-up stage.
3. You have more than 30 employees
Employees are the heartbeat of any business. If your workforce doubles or triples after several years of coming on board, it means you are gradually exiting or have exited the start-up stage. But to be sure, you should have at least 30 employees on your payroll.
4. Your brand can survive without you
At the start-up stage, you have to go after clients to market your business. This means your business cannot run itself with little or no input from you. But, if your brand can sell itself and attract attention and turnover, you are no longer a start-up. It may be time to expand, but make it gradual.
5. You are acquiring other start-ups
If you are able to acquire another start-up business and run it successfully, it is an obvious sign that you are not just a start-up anymore. But, it is important to do a thorough audit of the start-up before buying it over so that it won’t negatively affect your own business.
Written by Damilola Faustino