I was drinking bourbon with a friend of mine who runs a company in town (~200 FTEs), and at some point in our conversation, a visualization came to mind of what it’s like to start and begin to scale a company. I thought it would be fun to try to sketch out the concept that came to mind.
The key idea behind this is that if you boil companies down to several stages of growth, there are only a handful of things that actually matter. It all becomes about the ability to focus.
*The drawings are supposed to represent an airplane cockpit, but I suck at drawing.*
**(It’s important to note that these illustrations are only examples. Every company has its own core metrics that matter. Sit down with your team and figure out what these metrics are and then fill in the blanks. Additionally, I'm coming at this from the viewpoint of a CEO reporting to his or her board. Sure, there are other things that matter that ultimately support some of these higher level items, but those won't necessarily be brought up during performance review and can be delegated to others if need be.**
At the "Birth Stage" there are only two things that matter, 1) you have cash in the bank, and 2) you're building product. Anything else is noise.
At the "Seed Stage" there are only three things that matter, 1) you have cash in the bank, 2) you're building product, and 3) you're signing up customers. Anything else is noise.
At the "You're a Real Company Now Stage" there are at least nine things that matter, 1) you have cash in the bank, 2) you're on top of your product backlog, 3) you're signing up customers, 4) you're tracking and improving your Lead Velocity Rate, 5) you're tracking and improving your Marketing Qualified Leads, 6) you're tracking and improving your Sales Ready Leads, 7) you're tracking and improving your Customer Lifetime Value, 8) you're tracking and improving your Cost to Acquire Customers, and 9, your Average Selling Time doesn't scare off sales reps :). Anything else is noise.