What are the two metrics every company needs to be measuring?
How do you know if your startup is successful? Well, you measure it of course and compare your metrics against your goals.
No two startups are the same, so how do you know if what you are measuring is the right thing. And how do you do it simply?
It’s more tricky than it seems and this causes a challenge for both the leadership in a startup but also for potential investors. While the exact metrics will vary between companies here are the two types of metrics you need to be measuring.
North Star Metric
The North Star metric is the one metric which measures how successful you are at achieving your vision or your core value. A North Star metric is a must-have for every company. It provides a focus that is easy to communicate and direct people towards.
Typically this North Star metric is very customer or product specific. It isn’t revenue, profit or valuation… well typically not for any early stage startup.
When a North Star metric is improved in a sustainable way it is great for everyone. However, as with any metric the more you focus on a singular metric it the greater the risk of less desirable actions being taken to achieve it.
This is where a North Star metric isn’t enough on its own. What is needed is a second metric that ensures that the North Star metric is being achieved desirably.
A Check Metric
The second metric that your company needs is a check metric. As a concept it isn’t as often spoken about as a the North Star metric, and often becomes lost a long list of sub-metrics.
It is best to think of it as a balance to the North Star metric to ensure the business is growing healthily and sustainably. For example, if the North Star metric is customer growth then the appropriate check metric may be usage. This ensures growth is not being achieved by onboarding users that simply don’t care for the product and therefore hurting the long-term viability of the company.
Each company can determine which North Star and Check the metric works best for them. There are many ways to measure the same desired outcomes. However, every company needs both if they are going to maintain long-term stability and growth.