How to measure success while working in a startup
11 February 2019
Success is usually measured by how wealthy a person is, what career a person has and how happy the person feels. Measuring success is necessary because it gives you a reason to be proud of your efforts. Without knowing how to measure success, you may feel lost because you don’t have anything to fight for.
In most cases, measuring success is used by businessmen that launch startups and witness the rise and fall of their finances. Basically, all the decisions you take in business will affect its future, and therefore its success. At TMS, we make sure to always track our development and success as we go in order to reflect on our progress. All the actions that you make in order to transform your company into a good one can be measured in terms of how successful it becomes. Just seeing that your business begins to strive more and more is a reason for you to wake up in the morning and become a better version of yourself.
The cost of doing business
There are two perspectives that you need to know about when measuring success. One perspective has to do with how many people you can reach and the other has to do with how many people you are actually reaching at the current moment. As a startup owner, you will want the best for your business, so the number of people you actually reach should be even bigger than the one you expected in the first place.
Another detail that has to do with measuring success and the cost of doing business is related to the costs of the products or services you sell, considering your breakeven point. It is highly important to assess your current situation and to constantly try to advance even further. Using the data you already have, your startup must reach maximum success through extrapolation instead of stagnating at a certain point in its development.
Understanding the metrics
When you learn how to measure success, you need to start thinking in metrics. You can’t tell whether your startup progressed or not if you didn’t set clear metrics to follow in the process. Simply looking at the numbers will give you the main view of how your business is doing at the moment. Without the numbers, you can just make assumptions that might not be what they seem in reality. Tracking data as metrics is a conditional measure of success that you need to follow at all times.
Listing the values
Discovering a set of values that you thoroughly respect will soon become your measures of success. The values you follow are going to build an individual culture for your business, which means you will no longer have to follow metrics that are dictated by others. You can choose values that fit your own purposes and goals, values that seem fulfilling for your startup.
Once you build this value system, you will realize how successful your business is. How you measure success is just a matter of how you perceive business and what you want to achieve in the future. As long as you don’t know, your metrics for success will be unclear, and your business might not progress for a while, which can be interpreted as a failure.
Interpreting data and making adjustments
Setting goals can’t be done without tracking the available data you have. Looking at the information will tell you a lot of things about your company. Tracking is an essential part of how to measure success, even though the process is lengthy and requires a lot of attention from you. Once you do that, consider your success measured.
Assessing employee performance
Businesses often forget that their success highly depends on their employees’ performance. The people who are behind everything that is happening are your own employees who need to be motivated at all times. In order to measure success based on employee performance, you should run reviews for each employee every now and then and see how they perform in your company.
Each company has a culture that develops in time and it can influence how successful a business is if it is a negative one. Make sure that your team of employees are happy with the goals and requirements you have set. Otherwise, success might be more difficult to reach than you initially thought.
Putting your website together
Business websites are more important than ever, keeping in mind that most people use online search engines to find what they are looking for. This is another measure of success that you may want to explore for your startup. The first interaction that potential customers have with your company in the online field is through your website. This is the reason why you should invest a lot of time, attention and money into transforming your business website in a high-traffic one that turns leads into customers.
Putting effort in this and using tools that improve the overall User Experience can help your startup grow in terms of success. Thus, a simple online website can become one of your success metrics, that influence how your business goes in the future.
Set goals the smart way
Setting goals is a smart way is not as easy as some people think. This is what separates good businessmen from bad ones. The main goal that most businesses have is to increase revenue, but this may be too general. Finding smaller goals that will prove to be smarter in the future is a wise choice. When you will be measuring your business’ success, the way you set your goals will deeply influence the result obtained.
When analyzing your business’ results, don’t make the mistake of choosing a short-term period for it. Big changes happen when you are patient and success doesn’t arrive overnight. Take your time to track results each month until you start noticing that things are moving. Tangible results will be the ones that define success, but in order to observe those, you must track information that extends on a period of a few months to a few years, depending on the size of your business. Once you do that, this will become a measure of success too.
When learning how to measure success, start focusing on outcomes instead of proxies. There are secondary metrics that you can always turn to when you want to analyze your company’s success from one point of view only. For instance, your Facebook likes or follows can determine how successful your company is in terms of marketing. This won’t help with measuring your business success in a general manner. For that, you need to measure the outcome of your actions.
Your customers will always provide feedback which should help you understand how to measure success. The word-of-mouth is one of the most valuable metrics that you need to keep an eye on. Ensuring that the feedback you receive from your customers is a positive one and improving your customer service sector if it isn’t is another condition of success that you should respect in business. Customer satisfaction is not easily obtained, and it influences how loyal your clients are to your business.
Success goes beyond financial matters. When measuring it, make sure to also consider:
- Checking out balance sheets and cashflow statements
- Checking out the reviews obtained from customers
- Making employee evaluations a routine
- Generating insights from your customers
- Evaluating mailing lists
Ending thoughts on how to measure success in business
The information included in this article should help you with the question of how to measure success in business. Applying the few tips you found here should give you the main idea of where your business is currently situated.