Look around, you just might have made it.

There is this moment that happens when you know in your gut that you are on the right track. It’s subtle but powerful. Nobody around you feels it like you do. It’s not announced publicly and it’s not obvious to anyone but you, but it’s there. “People will come, Ray”, says James Earle Jones’s character Terrence Mann in Field of Dreams.

Your business is on the right track. This is going to work.

I find that the signals that mean the most to me are validation signals from others outside the core team. By definition, the core team is already gulping the koolaid. But those signals from others are really valuable as they come in sincere, unadulterated flashes.

  1. Customers begin to find you without you any real effort on your part.
  2. Potential employees sell you on why you should hire them.
  3. Existing customers proactively reach out and ask you for new features or services.
  4. Competitors start showing up (phone calls, website, speeches, etc.).
  5. Your cynical brother asks you for ten of the company t-shirts for his friends.
  6. You are getting too many inbound investor calls.
  7. You can sleep through the night without waking up in a cold sweat.
  8. Banks are interested in giving you money.
  9. You wake up and can’t shower fast enough.
  10. Employees start asking for motorized standing desks.
  11. The company needs a full-time CFO.
  12. Your employees ask to attend an expensive conference.
  13. Your uncle asks you for a job.

We spend so much time trying to get there that sometimes we miss the signs that we just hurdled a big business changing milestone. Stop and listen to what others are saying and doing about your company. Look for external signs that you are on the right track and who knows, you might even get a chance to sit back and enjoy the view for a little while.