You Missed Your Projections. Now What?

Matt Preuss
Marketing Manager
Take a Step Back Get In Front of The Issue Focus and Execute
Unlock your investor relationships. Try Visible for free for 14 days.
Start your free trial

It’s no secret that startups are hard. Over the course of building a company it is inevitable that some quarters/months/years will not go as planned. The period of doubt that follows a down month can be a major setback for a startup. Paul Graham calls it “the trough of sorrow“. Ben Horowitz calls it “the struggle“. The good news; just about every founder has been in the same position and there are steps that can be taken to recover from a down period and carry on.

Take a Step Back

While it is easy to panic and make drastic changes after a down period it is vital that you take a step back and evaluate the issue. Jason Lemkin suggests starting by asking if it was a “hard miss” or a “soft miss”. A soft miss can still grow the business but you may have missed a stretch goal (e.g. Revenue grew by 25%, goal was 35%). A hard miss “is a sign something is amiss” (e.g. adding $500k in Q1 but only adding $200k in Q2).

Lemkin suggests making small changes after a soft miss; rally the team, make small improvements, etc. Acknowledge you’ve missed your goal but ultimately you are still growing the business. When sharing the miss with your investors, be sure to be delicate when sharing the info. While it may have felt like a miss internally growing the business X% is still impressive.

Get In Front of The Issue

A “hard miss” sucks but it is not the end of the world. Get analytical, get into the weeds, identify the issue and come up with a plan to move forward. You have employees, customers, investors, etc. leaning on you so it is important to keep an even keel and create a plan everyone can rally behind to keep the company moving in the right direction.

Most importantly, reach out for help if there are issues you can’t handle yourself. Don’t be afraid to share the details with your investors. The worst thing you can do is hide and fail to keep your key stakeholders in the mix. From your investors perspective, it is expected that you will have down periods and are there to help you through “the struggle”.

Focus and Execute

You’ve discovered the issue, you’ve got a game plan, everyone is aware and ready to move forward. Now what? The past quarter is in the books and it is time to focus on what lies ahead. As Ben Horowitz puts it you need to “focus on the road ahead“;

“When they teach you how to drive a racecar, they tell you to focus on the road when you go around a turn. They tell you that because if you focus on the wall, then you will drive straight into the wall. If you focus on how you might fail, then you will fail. Even if you only have one bullet left in the gun and you have to hit the target, focus on the target. You might not hit it, but you definitely won’t hit if you focus on other things.”

Stayed focused on bouncing back and make it a point for your key stakeholders. If revenue is down, chances are you are closer to your zero cash date and need to make sure this is accounted for. It is likely that you will need to re-forecast your cash and financial projections for the year as well. Share the new projections and make everyone aware of where the business stands after your miss. Over communicate if you have to. Make sure you do everything in your power to avoid back-to-back misses.

You may also enjoy:
Product Updates
Product Update: Turn Emails Into Insights With Visible AI Inbox
Structured data. The holy grail of business intelligence. Structured data unlocks a realm of possibilities, from setting benchmarks to enhancing decision-making processes. Yet, in the venture capital landscape, accessing reliable, structured data remains a formidable challenge. This is precisely why we created the Visible AI Inbox. With unique features like automated metric detection and file parsing, the Visible AI Inbox stands out as a pioneering solution for portfolio monitoring. Discover how it can transform your data strategy by meeting with our team. Turning email into insights We believe that investors should spend time sourcing new deals and helping founders, not manually copying and pasting data from email 🙂. The AI Inbox helps aggregate insights that exist siloed in data, files, and updates across a venture firm. Updates from founders often stay stuck in one team member's inbox because it's too time-consuming to extract and enter the data and files into a more centralized repository. Visible AI Inbox makes this possible within seconds. Requests + AI Inbox = A Complete Picture The addition of the AI Inbox continues to advance our market-leading portfolio monitoring solution. The pairing of Requests + the AI Inbox will give investors a holistic view of portfolio company performance across a fund. Visible continues to be the most founder-friendly tool on the market. We’ll continue to build tools in existing workflows where both founders and investors live every day. How Does it Work? Visible AI Inbox works in three simple steps. Forward emails to a custom AI inbox email address Visible AI automatically maps data and files to portfolio companies Investors can review and approve content before it is saved From there, dashboards, tear sheets, and reports are all automatically updated on Visible. Learn more about how Visible AI Inbox can streamline workflows at your firm by meeting with our team. FAQ Will this be available on all plans? Visible AI Inbox is only available on certain plans. Get in touch with your dedicated Investor Success Manager if you want to explore adding this to your account. How is Visible addressing privacy and security with Visible AI Inbox? No data submitted through the OpenAI API is used to train OpenAI models or improve OpenAI’s service offering. Visible AI Inbox leverages OpenAI GPT 4 and proprietary prompts to extract data in a structured way and import it into Visible. If you’re uncomfortable with utilizing OpenAI to optimize your account, you can choose not to utilize this feature. Please feel free to reach out to our team with any further questions. These processes adhere to the guidelines outlined in Visible’s privacy policy and SOC 2 certification. Visible AI Inbox Best Practices We'll be sharing best practices for how investors are leveraging Visible AI Inbox in our bi-weekly newsletter, the Visible Edge. Stay in the loop with best practices and product updates by subscribing below:
Metrics and data
[Webinar] VC Portfolio Data Collection Best Practices
Customer Stories
Case Study: How Moxxie Ventures uses Visible to increase operational efficiency at their VC firm
How to Start and Operate a Successful SaaS Company