Historically, milestones date back to the Roman Empire, when they were used as reference markers more comparable to monuments. They didn’t mark mileage (instead they referenced the current emperor at the time) but they certainly were made of stone.
Nowadays, milestones have evolved into mile markers and its double-meaning of marking a significant change or stage in success. And unless your small business is on wheels and literally commemorates its mileage, you probably care more about the latter.
Milestones don’t only just celebrate your business, but your customers have well. They celebrate your achievements as an entrepreneur, as a member of your community, and of those who helped you get where you are. So how exactly do small business milestones work in practice?
Milestones that Motivate
Milestones and goals are very similar, and you can definitely treat them the same if it floats your boat, but I like to think of milestones as smaller leaps to a larger goal. Goals can sometimes take forever to achieve, so acknowledging those baby steps can keep you motivated and appreciative of your efforts.
Choosing what milestones you consider worthy of acknowledging is all up to you, but they can be anything from your 100th customer to your first $10,000 in profit. Milestones tend to largely be numerical, but whatever you can consider a stride toward being successful can work too.
Milestones that Recognize
What goes hand-in-hand with motivation is recognition, and I mean this not only towards your customers and employees, but yourself as well!
You can consider this in terms of your first online review from a customer, or even recognition in a media piece. It’s easy to get so caught up in running your business, that you forget to take a step back and commend yourself for all the hard work you have done.
Of course, if you aren’t in this alone, remembering to recognize your employees for their help is great too. Perhaps an employee was responsible for bringing in your 100th customer—acknowledge that! Because milestones are smaller parts to a goal, they’re a great way to take a moment to be appreciative towards the little things.
Milestones that Celebrate
Giving back to your customers can be hard when you’re only just up and coming, but taking time to give thanks is integral because they’re what fuel your business.
You can try rewarding your 100th customer with 20% off, or give out a discount to everyone upon your 1,000th. How you choose to celebrate can depend on your budget and your resources, but even a simple “Thank You” post to your social media pages go a long way.
Milestones that Become Goals
As your business grows and your goals become more definite, what you mark as your milestones may change, but that’s okay! Remember, milestones aren’t as concrete as goals, and you can pick and choose as you like.
At the end of the day, milestones work to increase morale and motivation, and hey, you can even think of them as an excuse to celebrate the good. Why not? You’ve worked hard to get where you are, and sometimes you just need a reminder to stop and smell the roses. Or rather, smell your accomplishments—and they smell just like success.