In this busy world, it's easy for founders to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of running a company. While you may know how important it is to think about the broader vision and mission, the bigger picture can sometimes get lost in daily operations. To combat this issue, I schedule an email at the end of each week to go out on the following Monday. The email is a weekly recap, and contains a few key items that I take about thirty minutes to go over.
Data: What are the business's current numbers?
What is your revenue and what is your burn rate? Are there expenses you should review or things you're not spending enough on? Asking these questions has helped us control expenses and better understand which channels are working. If you're comfortable with Excel, build out a few scenarios and adjust the numbers each week. If you're not, check out Google tutorial videos and learn. It's worth the time. Trevor Blackwell, a partner at Y Combinator, also made this very helpful Startup Growth Calculator. You can use it to see when your expenses and revenue will balance out.
Progress: What did I accomplish?
What did you achieve last week? How were you able to help your customers? Remember that activity does not equal growth, so focus on the value added. Think about your priorities. What moves the needle for the company? Most of our time is spent on adding value on our team, with our product, and with our customers. For our team, we focus on the growth of each person by engaging in productive discussions about their short and long-term goals, both at 42 and in their career. For our product, we track metrics like engagement, login sessions, speed and performance. Finally, for our customers, we ensure that we are quick to deliver what they need to ensure they feel supported and happy with their overall experience.
Goals: What do I have to do next?
Write a paragraph on what you want to get done for the week and why. Are these activities necessary? Are they the best use of your time? If not, rewrite the paragraph until you're sure this is the best way to spend your week. Then get working. One example is tracking the closing timeline for a customer. We mapped out every step we had to complete with a timeline so we could help customer in the onboarding process. As a result, we were able to get proof of concept done ahead of time and closed a customer in much shorter than the average sales cycle.
You will grow what you measure. Use a CRM on your own tasks and improve as the weeks progress. As one of our investors reminds us, the way to climb Everest is one step at a time.
About the Author
Cathy is the CEO of 42 Technologies, a big data company for retailers. 42's intuitive platform distills complex data into actionable recommendations to help brands find new ways to grow. 42 is backed by Y Combinator, and has presented on stage at New York Fashion Week, TechCrunch Disrupt NYC, and Decoded Fashion in Milan.
Prior to founding 42, Cathy worked at Procter & Gamble on the billion dollar brand Olay, where she specialized in growth strategy and data analytics.