Metrics Consistency in Conversations

Two weeks ago I was talking to an entrepreneur about his startup. Early in the conversation he said that they had $200,000 in annual recurring revenue. We covered a variety of subjects and towards the end of the meeting he said that next week they’ll hit $150,000 in annual recurring revenue. Hmm, I thought, I just heard him say a different number 20 minutes ago, and I’m pretty good at remembering details.

In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard different key metrics in the same conversation with an entrepreneur, and that’s a problem. Here are a few thoughts on metrics consistency in conversations:

  • Don’t offer up a key metric unless you’re confident about it and have a good enough grasp to reference it consistently
  • If a metric was incorrectly referenced, explain that the wrong number was offered previously (as opposed to assuming the person didn’t realize that two different numbers were mentioned for the same metric)
  • Memorize the key metrics for your type of business (e.g. here are four important Software-as-a-Service metrics)
  • Citing different values for a key metric in the same conversation seriously diminishes credibility

Entrepreneurs would do well to know their key metrics and not say two different things for them during a conversation — people listen and pick up on inconsistencies.

What else? What are some more thoughts on metrics consistency in conversations?

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