The Key for Startups: Make No Small Plans

You’ve got a great idea — but how do you turn it into a winning business? On this podcast, Luke Fox and Jef Graham will show you how to be a successful startup CEO  offering insights for first-time company leaders surrounding products, personal leadership, people management, key metrics, and more. It’s time to get to work.

 

Startup CEOs have a full plate. There’s little time for activities that don’t have value. Measurement and focusing on the management cycle deliver tremendous value. Offering insights on these topics, The Startup CEO’s third episode, hosted by Luke Fox, included a new conversation with his mentor, Jef Graham. Graham is a four-time startup CEO and has a long career of executive leadership success.

“Facts always beat opinions. The demonstration of that is that CEOs should always have certain numbers at their fingertips—sales, cash raised, valuations, people, and data on your customers and market.” – Jef Graham

Graham began the chat with some quotes that are relevant, including making no small plans and to measure is to know. So, what are the metrics that matter the most? “Tech startups are all about invention and growth, so the top-line measure is the growth of customers and report orders,” he said.

Graham further noted that “cash is king in startup”; thus, the CEO must watch to ensure they don’t run out of it.

Knowing the numbers and the data are critical for CEO startups. “Facts always beat opinions. The demonstration of that is that CEOs should always have certain numbers at their fingertips—sales, cash raised, valuations, people, and data on your customers and market.” Graham shared.

Relating to the world of metrics is the management cycle. Graham described it as “a series of processes that form rhythmic patterns at annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly intervals.” He then explained the different planning cycles for each. Annually, there are financial planning goals, long-term strategy, and salary and reviews. Monthly is forecasting orders and expenses.

The management cycle includes objective setting. “Set quarterly objectives. Measure results, not actions. Objectives shouldn’t be a job responsibly list but be tangible goals. Focus on five to 10 and ask yourself, ‘If I achieve these goals, would this be success?’ The answer should be yes,” Graham said.

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