How to Tell if Your Startup is Taking Off

Nothing in life is guaranteed, and I suspect I don't have to tell you that. Or I hope not, anyway. Going into business for yourself is especially risky, and it should be carefully orchestrated, researched and timed, to be sure.

But sometimes you can do all the right things and still get results out of your darkest nightmares. So, how can you tell if the path you're on is one that leads to stability, if not assured victory?

Forbes has a piece that's in contrast to another article they had about signs a startup is going south – this one is about sure signs you're succeeding. Probably the biggest one is having customers who pay what they owe and, hopefully, keep coming back via a subscription or some other means of returning: "Too many good startups fail to sufficiently validate their customer assumptions – or, in the case of Internet firms, scale too quickly before validating the initial marketplace and streamlining their costs."

This, coupled with being cash conservative, is key. Operating lean is important because, well, you might've heard, the economy is not doing so well. Even if manufacturing is starting to pick back up in this country, we're barely away from anything resembling shaky ground. The days of corporate jets and fire hoses that blast caviar onto mountains of toast points are long over. Switch to single-ply toilet paper and low-flow toilets. Print on both sides of papers. Do what you can to make things work, because if you don't, then you won't have anything left to salvage.

Forbes has three other points, and they're things we've hammered on a bit here recently. Still definitely worth a read though, especially if you want your business to succeed, which, you do, right?

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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