Measuring a startup is a difficult thing. Especially when you are in the pre-revenue stage. Sure there are strategic milestones such as prototypes and product releases but these in themselves will not indicate success; only the result of effort.
You need to develop measures that indicate how others react to what you are doing. We call these validations. Here is a short list:
- Customer Feedback – have you talked with 100 or more customers about your innovation?
- Paying Customers – For the startup, these are supreme indicators that people will pay for what you are offering.
- Key Employees – is your value proposition attractive enough to bring on highly qualified people who are willing to work for upside?
- Partnerships – You won’t get there by yourself. Do you have relationships with value added partners?
- Advisors – Are there world class people offering their time through coaching and mentoring?
- Investors – Has anyone shared your risk?
You should factor validations in your key measures and track them as carefully as any product development activity or financial data. If the validations don’t come, you are on the wrong path.
Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson