Never forget the importance of numbers to your business

Platform Economy: Small Business Finance

Optics and positive sentiment are great, but at the end of the day are merely secondary drivers. A cool brand identity and state-of-the-art offices will maybe help you recruit and retain staff; and win accolades, but they not get you the win either.

Revenue, expenses and margin, driven by a winning business model are what really matter to the long-term viability of a business.

For example, ask yourself:

  • What’s the (revenue) number?
  • What’s year-on-year growth like?
  • Is the opex under control?
  • How are we travelling against the agreed budget?
  • What are we doing to grow this business?

Simple questions that need asking by responsible Board members… and require immediate answers by any self-respecting Chief Executive.

If leadership does not have both a handle on the key numbers; and the drivers of these numbers, then how can the enterprise possibly be successful?

No matter how hard people may try to deflect, every business whether it is a bootstrapped start-up e-commerce store selling widgets, or a global tech conglomerate with billions of Dollars of revenue and millions of users share one fundamental truth… they cannot hide from their numbers forever.

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It seems obvious. However, throughout my career I have noted CEO, Board members (and shockingly even one CFO) who did not seem to know their numbers.

When things are not going well, this is when the hard questions often get ignored. Real numbers then becomes hidden in detail and confusion. This is when folk ‘forget’ and/or refuse to benchmark performance.

It is unforgivable and a sign of trouble. Keep it focused on the numbers. Always.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this brief advice-based article. It is part of our Covering Bases blog aimed at first time entrepreneurs looking to build businesses in the platform economy.

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