Setting Team Performance Metrics…and Making Them Stick

I hate management by nagging. For one thing, it’s usually counter-productive; for another it doesn’t contribute to a great team environment. Managing using scorecards and metrics is a much better approach. It allows everyone to understand the organization’s main objectives. And when scorecards and metrics are properly aligned with company objectives, the results can be incredibly powerful. I’m not talking about external metrics that you share with investors or in press releases. I mean internal scorecards that you use to make sure your whole team is pulling in the right direction and that everyone’s contributions can be systematically assessed. The metrics you come up with should be specific to your business and to its stage. If you’re an early-stage startup, your metrics might be more focused on just getting and keeping users/subscribers/clients. If you’re in the scaling up phase, they will probably skew more toward consolidating your customer base, expanding …
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3 Tips for Getting to Product/Market Fit

This guest post was contributed by BJ Lackland, CEO of Lighter Capital. One of the hottest topics in the SaaS startup world is product/market fit. What is all this buzz around? In a nutshell, it is about one simple thing: making something people want. Making a product with robust market demand is critical when wooing VCs. After all, VCs are willing to bet on your company only if they foresee the potential for extraordinarily large returns—the kind you simply can’t generate for them unless you’re making a product your customers can’t live without. But what if you’re not seeking VC money? The reality: you still can’t succeed unless you build something that people feel they can’t live without. Marc Andreessen, cofounder of Netscape and well-known Silicon Valley VC, says that “the best team with the best product will fail if the market is not there.” According to Andreessen, companies need …
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Early Growth Financial Services (EGFS) Earns Spot on The 2015 Inc. 5000 List

Originally published on PRWeb. SAN JOSE, CA (PRWEB) AUGUST 20, 2015 For the second year in a row, Early Growth Financial Services (EGFS) has placed on the Inc. 5000 list for fastest growing private companies. EGFS is an outsourced financial services firm that provides accounting, CFO, strategic finance, tax, and valuation services to small to mid-sized businesses nationwide. This year, EGFS earned a ranking of #1003 and the #13 spot in the San Jose Metro Area where the company is headquartered. Last year, in 2014, EGFS ranked #797 nationally, and #13 in the San Jose Metro Area. EGFS is one of 652 California-based companies that made the 2015 list as a result of its tremendous growth. Over the last 3 years, EGFS has seen a growth rate of 436%. And in 2014 alone, EGFS hired 90 employees to support the EGFS mission of providing the services and support small businesses …
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What Founders Need to Know About Equity Grants

In a startup’s early days, nothing matters more than attracting and retaining talent. That said, it’s important to attract the right talent. Employees who feel vested and part of the team are more committed to their companies. Equity plays a key role in aligning incentives, clarifying expectations, and deliverables between companies and employees. Annie Webber, Founder and CEO of LegalHero, and David Ehrenberg, Founder and CEO of EGFS, took us through the ins and out of Sharing the Pie. 3 most common ways to make equity grants: 1. Stock options: give users the right to purchase sales in the future at a price specified on the date of the option grant. 2. Restricted stock: an outright grant of shares that is issued subject to certain restrictions. 3. Restricted stock units (RSUs): represent a (non-forfeitable) right to receive shares once restrictions have been met. There are other ways to give equity: …
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How to Get the Most of Out of LinkedIn

Originally published on Inc. LinkedIn is bigger than ever as a business tool. Are you actually making the most of it? Eleven entrepreneurs offer their best advice. LinkedIn is a powerful social network—not just for making connections, but for sharing content, recruiting talent, and keeping customers in the loop. We asked 11 successful founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council to divulge their favorite hacks to get more out of LinkedIn. 1. Join Key LinkedIn Groups Join all the national groups that are related to your industry. Once you’re a member, post your best content articles in the group discussions and you’ll see a big spike in targeted traffic from your niche. Some of our best content has really taken off using this method—it really is a quick and easy LinkedIn hack. — Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings 2. Make Your Article “Trending in Your Network” LinkedIn has a feature called …
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Startup Cash Flow Versus Profits: Do You Know The Difference?

Read most news reports and business articles and you’d think profits were the sole determinant of business success. But in my experience, regardless of headline profit numbers, running out of cash is the number one reason startups fail. In fact, the distinction between profits and cash can be significant, and if they diverge too widely spell the difference between success and failure. Here’s a quick primer on these two terms: what they represent, and why you need to closely monitor and effectively manage both. Profits are a measure of earnings and business efficiency. What do we mean when we talk about profits? It’s a good question to ask, because there are different types of profit: gross profit/income, operating profit/income, and net profit/income. Gross profit is simply your sales revenue minus the cost of goods sold (COGS). The specific items that make up your COGS vary based on your industry, but …
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5 Myths That Could Seriously Damage Your Startup Finances

There are many things that entrepreneurs don’t know about startups—and an equal number of things that they think they know, but about which they are wrong! Some common startup myths have frequently been debunked, like how running your own company will give you freedom (yeah, right!) or how failure leads to future success (it could, but it’s certainly no golden ticket), and how all an entrepreneur needs is passion (who needs the ability to execute when you have passion, right?!). And then there are those startup insights that seem to linger and gain traction over the years. The “truths” that guide entrepreneurs. But it turns out that many of these insights are also just myths. And these are the ones that are truly harmful, in my opinion—particularly when it comes to your finances. While entrepreneurs need to build off the successes and knowledge of those that have gone before them, …
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Five Things to Know About A Chart of Accounts

In a recent webinar with Early Growth Financial Services’ VP of Operations, Ryan Johnson, we reviewed the importance of building a Chart of Accounts (COA) as an essential part of building up your startup accounting function. You can access the deck here, click below to view the recording, or read on for a summary. 1. What exactly is a Chart of Accounts (COA)? In simple terms, it is an indexed listing of all the different account classifications for your organization’s expenses. A COA is targeted to your company’s specific revenue streams and forms the core of your accounting system. 2. Why do you need a Chart of Accounts? Your COA helps you track and report each class of items for which you spend or receive funds. It should: align with business’ financial structure and provide the level of detail you need in your financial statements. 3. What is included in …
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Not Offering a 401K Plan Can Put Your Business at a Disadvantage

This guest post was contributed by Justworks. A 401(k) program is one of the most common benefits that large companies offer. But many small companies seem to avoid them for one reason or another. Either the companies believe that it’s too expensive or, worse, they just don’t understand them. Your company is at a serious disadvantage if it doesn’t offer a 401(k). Even if you’re a small, seven-person startup, you risk losing top talent if you don’t offer a 401(k) to your employees. You don’t have to match anything; rather, it is creating the system so that employees can contribute to their retirement. If you don’t offer it, employees are immediately suffering because they have to find another, less lucrative, alternative. Here are our top five reasons to offer a 401(k) as a small business. Offering a 401(k) Attracts Top Talent Like it or not, employees expect to receive a …
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Crowdfunding: Ways to Boost Your Campaign Success

With crowdfunding blowing up, in a good way, more and more entrepreneurs are considering jumping on the bandwagon. But before you upload your product video and hit the launch button on your campaign, there are some things you need to know. Traklight CEO Mary Juetten shared her insights during our Safe Crowdfunding: Tips For Your Campaign webinar. Preparing for your crowdfunding campaign The first thing you need to do is to get all your ducks in a row. If you follow breathless media accounts of campaigns that went viral, you might think that the secret to runaway success is luck. That can have something to do with it, as does timing, but really laying the groundwork for a successful campaign involves taking specific steps. Before you go public with your campaign, you need to identify and protect your IP. Some things, like putting simple copyrights in place, are straightforward enough …
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