I came to the realization that my greatest fear is disappointing myself – I’m not working hard enough, often enough, fast enough, long enough. But when is enough, enough? I tried to answer this question and the idea of “money” didn’t sit well with me. Am I working my small business because I expect billions in sales? No. Would I like more sales? Of course, who wouldn’t? But am I equating my own success simply to sales?
That’s when it hit me. I need to take a deep breath and be much more lenient on myself because success is not just equal to sales. Let me repeat that: SUCCESS IS NOT JUST EQUAL TO SALES! The goal is longevity, and like any other rapid “success,” too much money too fast is not sustainable, but all the building blocks you put into place make that attainable.
This blog is about recognizing “NSVs” – Non-Sale Victories. All of that hard work you’re doing is paying off in different ways. There is so much more to building a small business than money, and all of these little victories and champion moments are what lead to the holistic success of your small business.
- You have repeat customers. Customers who reorder from you, no matter how big or small, is one of the easiest indications that you’re doing something right. We’re all consumers and we know that if we were unhappy with a business for any reason, we would not spend our hard-earned money there, so it’s safe to draw the same conclusion when you’ve earned a customer’s second purchase.
- You have haters. These people will come in the form of online bullies, of dagger-eyes at shows, of gossiping viper-venom, and more. You’ll know when you have haters because they’ll make themselves known by trying to denigrate you or your brand. Haters just mean you’re doing something right and they cannot handle their own jealousy. Best advice is not to engage them, but embrace the popular “Bye Felicia” attitude and keep looking forward. These people haven’t realized what Iago has always warned: “Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy! / It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock / The meat it feeds on. “
- You have a community around your brand. You can start to notice this through nuance. Are the same people commenting on your social media posts? Are people actively participating in your Facebook group? Do people share photos or videos of their unboxing or using your products? Are people recommending your products to their friends? Are local vendor events asking you to vend at their events? Do people look for your business at local vendor events? These little hints all demonstrate you’re building a community around your brand, and once you do, you develop long-term, committed repeat customers.
- Your website’s traffic is increasing. Whether you’ve been rocking your blogging game, or making updates, or getting professional photography done, you notice your website traffic is increasing. Keep working hard to generate fresh and valuable content to drive more traffic to your website. Not every visit becomes a sale, but every visit increases your brand recognition.
- You’re getting views, comments, and likes on your posts. What makes this a little different than community (#3) is that these are different people – not the same people who are commenting and sharing. The goal is to get lots of views and likes so that it becomes a community. But if you have a few posts or videos that are getting shares and comments, you are definitely doing something right!
- People are asking you for advice. When people start coming to you with questions related to your brand, you’re definitely doing something right! That means you’re building trust and people are looking to you as an authority in your field. Build that role by sharing tips, tricks, hacks, and advice related to the services or products you sell.
- People are signing up for your newsletter. If you notice an increase in newsletter subscriptions that means people are interested in what you have to say. Emails are sacred these days since it’s our #1 form of communication. People no longer tolerate spam or excessive email, so when someone is making the effort to opt-in to receive your newsletters, you are definitely doing something right.
The most important point to remember is to not solely count your success by how many sales you make. There is far more to building a trustworthy brand than making sales. The sales will come as long as you keep working your business. Some people might even just be waiting for your longevity before making that purchase. Stay positive, keep working hard, and be proud of what you have accomplished.