Why every startups need metrics!

Why every startups need metrics!

In this article, we are taking a deep dive into why young companies should track their metrics right from the get go! Here are three reasons to start today!

Before we dive into the reasons why startups need to monitor their metrics, we must first take a look at a few misconceptions as to why early stage startups currently prioritize metrics.

Misconception #1: “I am not tech savvy enough to monitor my metrics!”

HBO’s Silicon Valley —Dashboard

Don’t be scared! You do not have to be super tech savvy to get your metrics!
Nowadays, there are many tracking tools that can help you clearly monitor your metrics whether you are an online or offline business. For examples of easy user dashboards, send us an email.

Misconception #2: I do not have enough data to even track them!

You have to start somewhere! Start at 0 users! Keep in mind that is the same starting point that Facebook, Google, Apple, and that hair salon down the street all started at! The important thing is to JUST DO IT! did you think they waited until they had 500 or 5 million users before they started to track their basic metrics? NO!

3 Reasons why startups need to start measuring their progress now!

1. Make your targets

Knowledge is power! Learning about your metrics can only help your team meet targeted quarterly or monthly goals. For a great example for early-stage startups, I refer you to the Lean Analytics book by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz. They created a great chart to show what lean metrics you show what to focus on depending on what stage you are at.

Lean Analytics Book: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster

Startups tend to focus on a lot of things that are not their short term targets. For a deeper dive, check out this article: https://medium.com/@VenturX_team/3-startup-mistakes-what-do-young-startups-focus-on-besides-their-metrics-9a59f17d84e8

2. Not waste time and money on the wrong things

Time is money! Key performance metrics (KPIs) may differ from department to department in big corporations. Early stage startups should see this as an advantage. When teams are small, everyone can just focus on one or two key metrics; they need to have that be the focus on where resources, time, and money is invested in. Once that goal is achieved, you can make another goal. That is exactly what metrics do. If you don’t have a particular goal in mind, tracking tools like VenturX can help by giving you industry benchmarks for early stage startups.

3. Helps prioritize your tasks — things that move the needle

When early stage startups go through the feedback cycle (build, test, analyze, and repeat), having your key metric(s) can help your team prioritize which task to focus on for the next product release or iteration.
For example, if your key metric is to increase engagement, then your team may want to prioritize the features that would keep your customers using the product for longer. You may also want to de-prioritize other features related to marketing channels and conversions.

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What is the difference between VenturX and HockeyStick and LaunchPad?

What is the difference between VenturX and HockeyStick and LaunchPad?

VenturX is a startup success tool that tracks and benchmarks startups across all industries until they are ready to be connected to funding. VenturX leverages data to optimize the entrepreneurial journey.

We have made a helpful chart to help us demonstrate!

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3 Startup Mistakes: What do young startups focus on besides their metrics?

3 Startup Mistakes: What do young startups focus on besides their metrics?

Early Stage Founders have a massive amount of things to do. As they progress in their startup, their days feel shorter and shorter. I found that a lot of them put a surprising amount of effort into things in the medium and long term instead of focusing on the now. When I ask them about what metrics they are currently looking at, what is important to them, etc.. it is surprising the range of answers they gave.

This article will go through some of the most common 3 examples of early stage startup mistakes and how focusing on their metrics can bring them back to reality. Keep in mind that we are just focusing on early stage startups who have recently started building their new business.

1) Not enough DOING!

People will always recommend you to read this startup book or learn the newest marketing tactics to “hack” your way to the top.
This is not to discourage you from learning but your experience through your actions will dictate how much you will learn more than any amount of reading can. Someone else’s best practice for marketing strategy, channel distribution, and business negotiation may not be yours. Since every business is so unique, you will never know what your best practice is until you go out there and try it out for your business.

“Ambition is predicated on your actions.” —Gary Vaynerchuk, Entrepreneur, Host of AskGaryVee Show

ACTION ITEM: Set aside one or two day as week to reading/researching/ etc.. and commit the other days to actually putting it into practice. (I can tell you from experience that if you are reading a startup book, you don’t have to finish the whole book to start practicing.)
I personally love learning about social media marketing, as it is an extension to my online marketing background. I usually take Saturdays to learn new things. To reach our target audience of startup companies, I actively try out every social channel to see where our audience is most engaged and active. I execute educational videos, live stream, and blogs on Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Medium. On a daily basis, I track to see which channels perform the best in order to decide where to invest our future marketing investment.

2) Focusing too far ahead

Founders are getting pulled in every direction these days due to many sources of influence whether that be from buzz going on at startup events, feedback from friends and family, or referrals to potential partnerships or “you know who would be great for you to talk to?” I bet you can think of some examples!

It is unwise to focus your energy on partnerships for medium-long term instead of focusing on upcoming pilot project or trial. Example: Don’t wait to hire the perfect person to help run your pilot project or beta test instead of dong it yourself. You can learn so much more from that experience.

I admit that for myself, I fell into spirals at times but one thing that kept me focused on which partnerships to pursue now, which recommendation to follow and where to allocate those precious 24 hours, were my Lean Analytics Metrics! (See diagram below.)

ACTION ITEM: Mark future tasks for 1–3 months from now. If you can quickly identify tasks or budding partnerships that should be implemented in a month then set that in your calendar to start 1 month from now. You don’t have to do everything at once and become overwhelmed because there are too many things in your plate. When these things start to pile on, a plate of opportunities can easily start to look like a plate of distractions. A practical thing to do is to pace yourself. If there is a new resource or future channel to explore, then put it off until you have completed what is important now such as making your first pilot project a huge success!

3) Avoiding Customers

“Sales cures all” — Mark Cuban, ABC’s Shark Tank, Investor, Entrepreneur

How can startups get that cure if their customers are not the forefront of their attention?

Avoiding customers can be classified into two ways:
a) Customer Discovery: Some early stage entrepreneurs go through cycles of procrastination before doing any kind of market research or product market fit surveying. Many first time startups will explain how they feel their product is not ready to show or they fear competition.

ACTION ITEM: To learn how to survey for product market fit in 24 hours, refer to this article: https://medium.com/@VenturX_team/how-to-survey-for-product-market-fit-in-24-hours-2f79571ea5d4
(It will guide you through all the basic steps with concrete examples.) If you want a template of survey questions, send me an email and I can send you one!

b) Ignore incoming customers to get product feedback and iterate
As human beings, we do things we want to do and not the things we are supposed to do. If it easier to for some to work creating a nice website rather than get feedback from their customers, you bet they will mainly put their efforts into option #1.

ACTION ITEM: Schedule appointments with your customers to get feedback on a regularly basis. Try to schedule them in advance. Even if you have new distractions such as startup events, hiring new team members, etc..you will ensure that your regular meetings will make sure that you are always in touch with your customers and you are not avoiding them.
To get startup feedback for VenturX’s product releases, I schedule Skype calls every 3 weeks with startup friends to show them the revamp and get their feedback. I also contact 1 startup about his VenturX Metrics every single afternoon between 2pm-4pm. He said he preferred SMS notifications. To show love, I send those individual daily reports from my phone.

What Metrics Should I Concentrate on?

That is a great question. One that I believe was well written in the book

“ Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster” — Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz

They explain that startups should focus on mainly one metric at a time and it would be dependent on your type of startup and what stage you are in. Here is a comprehensive chart from the book:

lean analytics

Lean Analytics Book: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster

Did you find out what stage you are in?

Great!

Can you see which metric is the most important?

Excellent job!

Now you can reverse-engineer the formula to get rid of those 3 startup mistakes for early stage entrepreneurs!

Keep in mind that even though this article was mainly from our observations with early stage, first time entrepreneurs, there may still be more information to come! There may also be more than 1 metric that will yield a red flag such as low product market fit and finances.

As someone who studies startups, I wanted to share with you my learnings about this fascinating industry. I hope that with this simple guide, your early stages in your company will go much smoother! If you have any questions about your metrics, send me an email at sydney.wong@venturx.ca and let’s take a look together!

 

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How to Survey for Product Market Fit in 24 hours

With all the buzzwords surrounding entrepreneurship like venture capital, acceleration, growth hacking, etc., there is always one phrase that stumps most entrepreneurs in their track! PRODUCT MARKET FIT!

This topic was fascinating to me to the point where I have been researching it since 2016 and built a startup tool to measure it. That was how VenturX was created, a startup that focuses on leveraging data to help early stage startups get from product market fit to funding. We focus on the most important KPIs for young companies such as product market fit.

At VenturX, we’re creating tools to help early-stage startups succeed; the first thing we always suggest is assessing the product-market fit. Not only is it the number one reason why startups fail (according to a report by CBInsights), but also the hardest to achieve because it can seem daunting to collect all the data in order to prove that their idea addresses a real need. The initial assessment of product market fit doesn’t necessarily require huge amounts of time or money. In this post, we’ll lay out four straightforward steps that you can follow to get a solid first look at how well your idea fits a market need.

top 20 reasons startups fail

What exactly is product market fit?

“Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” — Marc Andreessen, Entrepreneur & Co-founder of Silicon Valley Venture Capital Firm (Source: http://web.stanford.edu/class/ee204/ProductMarketFit.html)

4 steps for assessing product-market fit

1. Determine Your Target Audience

If you don’t know where to start, ask yourself who are you selling to and who needs your product/service?

From researching entrepreneurs for the past year, I learned that the hardest step is surveying those first 5 customers. To do it in 24 hours, can you find an event or location where your target audience happens to be? Remember you are doing research and not selling to them.

Example: For VenturX, part of my target audience is venture capital investors. I knew that they could often be found at startup competitions where they serve as judges. I knew that attending an event like this would be ideal to get the most amount of research done in 24 hours.

“If you can do 5 [customer interviews], you can do 35” — Robert Bennett, Viatec Accelerator

Tip: Not everyone likes talking to strangers, so why not bring a friend who LOVES it!! If you are in Montreal, send me a message or comment below and I’ll take the first 5 people to go surveying for their startups!

2. Ask the Right Questions

I asked multiple startups how they were currently researching product market fit and they all told me they input information into a spreadsheet and never used it again. Their issue was that they were collecting only qualitative information and had no way of comparing answers. If they had quantitative information, they would be able to compare the target market’s level of pain and benefit.

The solution? Rather than asking purely open-ended questions like “What do you think of this idea?” get them to describe the pain your idea addresses and the benefit it provides and asks participants to rate them on a numerical scale. Here’s an example of how your survey might look. If you’d like a copy of the survey, shoot an email to sydney.wong@venturx.ca with the subject line “Product Market Fit Survey” and I’ll send it your way.

Example of Pain: Startups who are not ready for funding take up a lot of the investors’ time with everything from initial pitches to due diligence and follow-ups. Investors often end up telling these startups to keep in touch, that it is not a good fit at this time, or to come back later.

Example of Benefit: What if you had a solution that would replace your current application process and cut your due diligence in half? You would see the best startups who have reached their product market fit level and score higher than their industry benchmarks.

TIP: Always ask about the pain before the benefit. If you only talk about your solution, it is no longer research, but rather a sales pitch!

TIP: If you are unsure of your pain and benefit statements and only have limited time at one event to get all those responses, then bring two different pain and benefit statements, and compare responses to both.

3. Track Answers

Currently, most startups are manually tracking their answers on a spreadsheet. The benefit of spreadsheet tools is that it’s familiar, and you can manually create graphs from the data and present them to your team.

Another option is to use the startup tool that we’ve created at VenturX, that takes in your survey data and automatically calculates a product market fit score. It takes 30 secs to get a score like the one below! You can try it out at www.venturx.ca.

Example of my score when I interviewed Early Stage Venture Capitalists regarding their Pain and Benefit:

Find out your product market fit score @ www.venturx.ca

TIP: Do not let your target audience see other people’s answers or else it might influence their answers too.

4. Rinse and Repeat

It is normal that you do not get a lot of 9’s and 10’s on your first iteration, but the important thing is to stay consistent. Do not change your pain or benefit statement after just a few responses. (You’ll know that you are on the right track when you consistently get high scores (9’s or 10’s) when you survey.

Example: I had to narrow my target market to only early stage venture capitalists, rather than all VCs. If I expand my product with more features, I will have to rinse and repeat this process all over again with a new product market fit survey for a new audience!

Once you’ve completed these steps, take a step back and look at your results. Whether your scores are low or high, you’ve certainly achieved something. You now have a quantified score that either validates your idea or tells to you to try a different target market or tweak your angle. Either way, stay strong, motivated, and persistent, and keep on quantifying!

So there you have it! Steps on how you can quickly and efficiently get your product market fit and get a real analysis of what your market is really looking for. Product Market Fit is one of the key KPIs that VenturX helps startups track and improve on in real time. For more information about this topic or other startups KPIs, please visit www.venturx.ca

Or contact the author sydney.wong@ventux.ca

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Founder Spotlight: Shayne Morten of Flexiship— From Race Car Driver to Entrepreneur


Founder Spotlight: Shayne Morten of Flexiship— From Race Car Driver to Entrepreneur

Shayne Morten of Flexiship

Shayne Morten of Flexiship

Our team had an amazing opportunity to shadow Shayne Morten, Founder of Flexiship, for a few days. Flexiship is an on-demand delivery service in Montreal! We posted about Shayne’s tips and trick for lead generation, sales, and much more! To see these videos, check out our Facebook page.


Tell us about your company

Flexiship is an on-demand delivery app you will no longer have that problem. With the Flexiship on-demand delivery service you can get your packages immediately! It allows you to request any type of delivery to be picked up and dropped whenever and wherever you need it.

As soon as an agent accepts your order, you will be able to track the progress of your delivery until completion. It’s that easy!

Montreal Delivery Service - Flexiship

Flexiship is at Your Service!

What is founder Shayne Morten’s background?

Shayne used to be a racecar driver who sold ad space on racecars to corporations for sponsorship. This on the field training gave him the drive and sales experiences to turbo charge his startup. Shayne Morten is a graduate from Defi Montreal in 2017 where he learned traditional business process. Since then he has done business on the product side, team management side, sales side at the same time.

“Shayne drives to get things done. When [something] needs to be updated, he is on these guys right away day after day. Persistent and consistent!”

 — Bill Lowson, Investor & Partner, Flexiship

As a sales focused entrepreneur, we can easily see how his actions affect his success metrics. Check out his scores below.

What does a typical week look like for this founder?

Have a startup business? Find out your score @ www.venturx.ca

Have a startup business? Find out your score @ www.venturx.ca

Mornings:

  • Wakes up 8AM
  • Answer emails to confirm meetings

Afternoons:

  • Product meetings to focus on what to build and which agencies to hire
  • Interview new team members
  • Strategy updates with investment partner
  • Make cold calls, visit local stores for lead generation and sales
  • Steps to making lead generation for geography based enterprises
  • Googles Map flower shops in the area, and visit each one, leaving a card with a unique promo code

Evenings:

  • Family time
  • Answer sales emails

We got some great sales inspiration from Shayne, like what do you if a lead already uses your competitor. Clearly Shayne knows how to hustle!

Contact Shayne Morten at Shayne@Flexiship.ca or on Linkedin, and check out Flexiship at www.flexiship.ca.

Also check out Shayne’s awesome live interviews at: https://www.facebook.com/venturx.ca/videos/328915414197137/

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Founder Spotlight: Jennae Gedeon (Eco Eats) – Not your ordinary food sales app!

Jennae Gedeon

 

In this article, we explore how a visionary mind focuses on her success path, how Ecoeats works, and how you can get involved!

This month, our team had an amazing opportunity to shadow Jennae Gedeon around for a few days in the City of Vancouver. We learned about the process it takes to build Ecoeats an up and coming top company of our generation! Ecoeats holds one of VenturX’s core values which is Impact, and they do it one bite at a time! The more we got to know Jennae, the easier it was to to see why this visionary was the right leader to drive Eco Eats’ purpose and share it with the
masses!Eco Eats Contact Information: Jennae Gedeon

It all began in October when Jennae entered Youth Biis Start-up Program where she completed the incubator program in downtown Vancouver in December 2016. Since then, Jennae founded Eco Eats and has made great strides, in build lasting partnerships for the Metro Vancouver hub and witness the tech development take off with the help of Red Academy and BCIT ISSP program all leading up to a solid foundation for launch this fall. Phil, one of Youth Biis SFU teacher/business mentor describes how this founder is different from those entering the program in the past.

“[Jennae is] energetic, passionate and knows what she wants. This is usually a sign of a very effective person because she works back to the goals she sets. She has a destination…very visionary!” – Philippe, Youth Biis Start-up Program

 

Tell us about your company

Eco Eats app connects people to grocery stores and restaurants with healthy food reaching its best before date. What’s amazing is the perception of date and quality is completely being redefined; as the food is completely good and it’s just about letting more people know about it and providing them with better opportunities to pick it up. To me, we connect missed relationships in the community so people become each other’s answers to eat, live and thrive. In today’s world, there is a massive problem within the food waste chain and we’ve found unique collaboration channels to make the world a better place.

 

Eco Eats, food waste technology of tomorrow

Ecoeats is welcoming all consumers to sign up today! More contact info at the bottom

 

What is the next big milestone?

The next milestone is preparing for the pilot. The pilot consists of the minimum viable product (mvp) connects groceries stores to consumers and charities in the Metro Vancouver area. Come back to check out our website (https://www.ecoeats.ca/) to see if your favorite restaurant or grocery store made it on the list after our launch this Fall 2017!

 

What does a typical week look like for this founder?

Entrepreneur Dashboard

VenturX Startup Success Scores

Mornings:

  • Wakes up to respond to emails between 7am-9am

Afternoons:

  • Attend product meetings to focus on transitioning prototype to MVP
  • Trains new team members
  • Lead partnership and strategy meetings with mentors, colleagues, and partners
  • Create Google docs to handover information to product teams and strategy teams
  • Create visual infographics to bring to meetings to adapt to visual learners (they look great!)

Evenings:

  • At the end of every day, spends 15 mins to review and update the tasks for the following day
  • Updates her timeline of short term goals
  • Replies to emails
  • Prepares things for long term goals, such as partner relationships

 

One thing that we noticed that made Jennae very focused as a leader was her organization skills. She always had a notebook with her to write things! What a great habit for all founders to adopt!

“No matter what the future holds, this is something I am very passionate about and will always be a part of me!” –Jennae Gedeon

Contact info: Jennae Gedeon

Email: team@ecoeats.ca
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennaeclg/
Website: https://www.ecoeats.ca/

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