Similarly, when companies are an outright flop, that tends to be obvious as well. They are the one-percenters. Most companies fall in the middle, so it’s important to have some sort of framework around whether or not your business is going well. The way I like to think about this is to focus on the One Metric That Matters (OMTM) at different stages in your business.52 When you launch, it makes sense to focus on the number of people who sign up and pay you. Set a reasonable target that takes into consideration your reach and your marketing efforts and price point.
With any business I’ve started, my primary goal has been to get to a point where I’m paying myself a reasonable wage as early as possible. The figure I’ve always used is $40,000 per year. If I can get to the point where I’m paying myself a wage of $40,000, I know I have enough there to keep the business going. Eventually I have the faith that I’ll continue to improve this number.
Here are some general principles around setting your OMTM target: Make it a financial metric, not a vanity metric like website visits or Facebook likes. Pay particular attention to who is signing up. If it’s just your friends, then that’s very different from the general public.
Set a goal for the first month and re-visit it each month after that. My team uses a live Google doc for tracking financials. It requires manual updating, but it’s great for motivation and it allows you to have live estimates instead of relying on old data in accounting systems. There’s a free template at wpcurve.com/7daystartup. Don’t measure something that no longer represents an important metric for your business. The OMTM will change over time.
The 7 Day Startup: You Don't Learn Until You Launch