This post is excerpted from our first book, The Ultimate Guide to Startup Data Distribution. You can download the book for free and learn more about how other top companies are building and operating high-impact data distribution systems to keep everyone that matters engaged in the their business. Check out the other parts if you haven’t already:
- Part 1. The Ultimate Guide to Startup Data Distribution
- Part 2. Your Company’s Most Valuable Metric
- Part 3. How to Find Your Company’s Storytelling Framework
- Part 4. ‘Steal’ the Right Metrics for Your Company (Coming Soon)
You can also find more on the topic of Startup Data Distribution here:
- The 3 Key Pillars of Startup Data Distribution – OpenView Labs
- How to Tell Your Company’s Story – Medium
To use a line from David Skok (the Godfather of SaaS metrics), “good metrics should be actionable and drive successful behavior.” To accomplish this, you first need to determine the end definition of “success” for your company. Since the mix of factors leading up to this point (Business Model + Stage + Audience), as well as the overall goals of every company, are different, there is no one size fits all approach to selecting your MVM.
The primary reason to have a single, holistic metric for your business is to cut out the noise that comes with trying to track (and take action on) everything so that you can hone in on the one thing that drives your success. Read any startup post-mortem and you’ll quickly realize the negative impact that lack of focus can have on a company. As you will see in the illustrations below, even growth stage and public companies often have a single MVM that they aspire to grow each period. In many cases, like with Airbnb or Meetup, the same MVM has been a guiding beacon since the early days.
Our Most Valuable Metric
At Visible, the metric most tied to our “success”, our MVM, is the number of companies we have actively using the platform on a monthly basis. The progress that we make on this metric helps us understand the performance of each one of our teams and can help us identify parts of the business bottlenecking our growth.
First of all, it gives us a good idea of how many people are coming in to the top of the funnel through different inbound and outbound channels then lets us know if our product is effective at “activating” those companies. Then, if a company is coming back to Visible each month to track and distribute their performance data, they are more likely to be inviting their investors, advisors and team members. As more companies in an investor’s portfolio begin sharing updates and metrics, the investor is more likely to become a paying customer. Similarly, team adoption within an organization grows as companies invite more employees.
In addition, since so many of the companies on Visible are what would be considered early or growth stage businesses, their continued expansion will bring new stakeholders into the fray, adding to the number of people who rely on us for the organization of their most crucial business data.
Early Stage Most Valuable Metrics
To give you some inspiration and help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of Most Valuable Metrics for top companies across a number of different stages and business models.
Whether you are interested in SaaS metrics like MRR (Buffer) or something a little less common, like Product Hunt’s “Product Page Visits,” you can do it on Visible.
Growth Stage Most Valuable Metrics
Even growth stage companies often have a single metric that everyone in the business – sales, product, customer success – focuses on growing each period. A holistic measurement of where the business is heading helps you tell your story more effectively and understand which supporting metrics are having the most impact on your growth.
Need help understanding what Most Valuable Metric is right for your business? We’ve created a series of posts that take a deep dive into some metrics that top startup companies are using to gain insight into their businesses.
- Lead Velocity Rate (SaaS Metrics)
- Bookings (SaaS Metrics)
- Net Promoter Score
- How to calculate churn rate (SaaS Metrics)
We will continue adding to this list each week so feel free to get in touch with any metrics you would like to learn more about.