In any new business there’s always going to be a “startup” phase, which is both exciting and exhausting. I don’t need to tell you about the enthusiasm and energy involved in taking your amazing concept and turning it into reality. And if you’re running a startup, I’m sure I also don’t need to tell you how challenging of a time this can be. You’re working long hours, wearing lots of hats, and using every resource of time and energy you can muster to get your new business off the ground. For a long time, it seems that you’re putting in much more than you’ll even get out.
Then one day, the long-awaited moment arrives. It’s the magical, mystical goal that seemed so far away for so long. Finally, you revenue is equal to your expenses. You’ve achieved the long-awaited break-even point (BEP). From here on out, you’ll be looking at a new factor in your bookkeeping, something you’ve probably wondered if you would ever see: profit. So, what happens now?
Keep the momentum going.
You’ve accomplished a tremendous goal. Of that, there is no question, and you certainly deserve to pat yourself on the back for it. Most startups fail before reaching the break-even point. But it’s only a preliminary goal, so don’t sit back and rest on your laurels just yet. You had much bigger goals when you started out, and those are what propelled you to get this far. Keep those goals in your sights, and keep the forward movement going.
Don’t neglect sales and marketing.
Having achieved the break-even point, you’re now in a position to start turning a profit. And as long as you keep your operation running efficiently, more new business is going to equal more profit. So, again, don’t rest on what you’ve achieved so far. Bringing in new clients is an essential part of continuing the excellent trajectory of growth you’ve begun.
Take good care of your employees.
Unless you’re running a one-person shop, you’ve assembled a team of professionals who have helped you get to where you are today. In all likelihood, you’ve pushed them to put out tremendous efforts, which probably include long hours. As much as you deserve the aforementioned pat on the back, they deserve to be thanked and rewarded for their work. While you don’t need to give away the shop (and all of your profits), giving bonuses where appropriate, and a healthy benefits package will go a long way to retaining the talent that’s gotten you this far.
Keep improving efficiency.
You’ve certainly got a viable process going, or you wouldn’t have reached the elusive break-even point. But can it be improved? Don’t stop reviewing your processes and procedures, to find ways to make things run even more efficiently, to maximize your profit. As you and your crew have probably spread yourselves thin, carrying multiple responsibilities, it may be worth your while to reassign tasks. Consider also the possibility of outsourcing of tasks that are not among your core responsibilities. Accounting, bookkeeping and HR services, including payroll are among the work that may be better handled off-site, by a virtual team who specializes in those areas.