What goals should you set?
Focus on one goal, ruthlessly prioritize all activities based on this goal. This one goal is your One Metric That Matters (OMTM)
Pre P/M fit, your only goal is to get to P/M fit. Yes, that’s it. Iterate on product, messaging, and target customer until your engagement and retention numbers are solid. Hustle/pay to drive just enough highly-targeted traffic to test engagement and retention.
For early stage startups, post P/M fit, focus on growth rate of your most important KPI: profits, revenue, transactions, customers, leads, users, etc. - whichever is strategically right for you, right now - depends on business model and stage of company.
Depending on business model, these might likely be your most important KPI:
Your OMTM would be the growth rate of this KPI. And your goal is a WoW (week on week) or MoM (month on month) improvement of this growth rate. This is your True North, this is your One Direction.
At an early stage startup, every team (be it product, marketing, ops) should be working towards and contributing to this same growth goal. If not, your org is too fat!
Common Mistakes Founders Make
Focussing on vanity metrics (Ex. total downloads)
Focussing on the wrong metrics for any given stage
Not using the right tools to track growth goals accurately
Not having a “north star” growth goal that the whole company aligns with
30% MoM growth in Sales for an ecommerce startup post P/M Fit or 8% WoW growth in Transactions for a marketplace startup (post P/M Fit)
OMTM, KPI, Analytics, Revenue, Active Monthly Users, Hockey Stick Curve, Compounding Growth, Profit, Vanity Metrics
One Metric That Matters Alistair Croll - Author of Lean Analytics
The Do's and Don'ts of Rapid Scaling For Startups The First Round Review - Publication From First Round, a Venture Capital fund
16 Metrics That Matter a16z partners