Are you celebrating your milestones enough at your startup?

Celebrate all the little things

I had a friend who invited me to his new “office warming” party the other day. Unusual, but fun. It reminded me of our own office “warming” party at Jivity several months ago.

Side note first: If you are like most Indian entrepreneurs, you mom has a big say in the matter (so do most relatives, uncles, aunts and others). First was the date I should sign the agreement (has to add up to 9 was my mom’s advice), then the date I should move in, where I should sit (face East, the sun’s rays should first hit the CEO’s desk! yes, you laugh, but that’s what I was told). Did I really care about all these astrology / numerology and feng shui (Vaastu for us Indians)? Mostly no, but my mom did and mom’s always get their way. Anyway, I digress.

Back to my friend, though, who asked me “How often should we celebrate and what should be celebrate”?

There’s a really simple answer to that – “Very often and anything you believe is something to be proud of”.

That does not mean you break open the champagne every day or take the team out for a 7 course meal each week, but most startups dont celebrate achievements enough.

There are 3 important things celebrations do:

1. They cherish those moments of fun and accomplishment – these are then passed along to all new employees as “folklore”.

2. They help put together shared experiences which helps you tied over the Sine-curve of emotions at your startup.

3. Most importantly though, they reinforce achievement. However small.

Most startups celebrate only the “major” accomplishments – funding, customer wins, new office space,  end of the quarter. Or if you are in India, Diwali, Holi, etc.

The amazing part is there are small milestones you can celebrate daily. I am going to make a short list and please add your own in the comments below.

I put these celebrations into categories: Product, Hiring, Finance, Sales, Customers, Admin (or Operations), Marketing, etc.

Within each of these categories you can have multiple celebrations. For e.g:

1. Product – mockup ready, alpha/beta/version 1 ready, demo ready, etc.

2. Hiring – first employee offer letter, first (or 10th, 20th any number really) employee hired, etc.

3. Finance – funding from angel investor, adding members to the advisory board, etc.

You get the picture.

Here are some more examples!

1. Name resolution from ROC – Yay! The name you wanted for your company is actually available! I suggest going to your local print shop and getting the name typed in gold print & a certificate embossed.

2. Signed up your first advisor – Bring the advisor to meet your team and get everyone lunch. The person who asks the most questions, gets to drink beer. Rest have to drink water.

3. Got your company incorporated. Make 15 copies of you MOA and AOA. You’ll need it! Even the person that serves you tea and coffee in India wants a copy of these in paper!

4. Got your domain registered and website launch page is up! I am told the launch page being up is the most legit you can get early on!

5. Your first mockup created on the back of a napkin. Take multiple photos, get them printed so you can then hopefully sell them on eBay when you get big.

Celebrate more! Have tons of fun and please invite me to the party.