Better Together: What are we even doing here?

A bi-weekly column exploring the intersection of entrepreneurship and community by Sam Davidson

No matter the size or stage of your idea, Peter Drucker’s adage that “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” rings true. 

And vital.

Entrepreneurs who spend any amount of time at the EC know that we’re big on metrics and challenge them to be big on metrics, too. We want them to set goals, have targets, and name milestones. The more you visualize something, the easier it is to plan the steps to get there. 

And while we’re not exclusively focused on data (trust me, we love a good story), it is a core component and a way to benchmark against competitors, industry norms, and of course, your own goals.

But what exactly is worth measuring? And what can you control? As an earlier investor of mine told me, “Just because you can measure it, doesn’t mean you should.”

At the EC, we’re focused first on increasing the likelihood of success for entrepreneurs. Any entrepreneur faces long odds (over half of all businesses fail and close by their fifth year) and some of them face really long odds (less than ¼ of VC funding goes to women; 80% of Black-owned businesses fail within the first 18 months). And while we’ll work hard alongside any entrepreneur to beat those odds, we’re really out to change those odds.

But odds of success are lagging indicators. The improvement of odds can only be measured after the close of a year and the lasting existence (or not) of a business. Hopefully you leaned in and took full advantage of every opportunity and voila! You’re still standing. 

There’s another leading indicator we’re tracking now that can help entrepreneurs stay on their feet. And it’s worth measuring for any entrepreneur at any stage: wins

Some days, you just need a win. A sign that it’s still worth playing the game. Proof to yourself that you’re doing something right and that you can do the work needed to get another win soon. You won’t win all the time and some losses will sting, but if we can get more wins than losses then we’re still in the game. 

And the beauty of wins is that they’re relative and they all can be celebrated. Your win was to close your seed round and my win was to make the key hire. Hers was to land the new client and his was to negotiate a better vendor contract. Entrepreneurial wins aren’t zero-sum; we literally all can win without anyone else losing. 

In fact we launched a #wins channel on our EC community Slack this week and already we’ve got some cool proof:

It’ll be fun and meaningful to see these wins grow as we move forward. And it’ll be a fun reminder to all of us that wins are meant to be celebrated, however big or small. 

The point isn’t that your win is bigger than mine; the point is that your win is bigger than the previous one. String a few of those together and you’re on to something.

Like a business that beats the odds.

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