The most crucial thing about startup success is an elusive one: accountability  

    As a company grows, a leader must create a way to encourage each person to embrace and achieve specific goals. For example, to scale a startup, the CEO may seek to increase its revenues in a given year from $25 million to $50 million.

    While it’s easier to assign part of the desired revenue growth to each sales person, it’s harder to set specific goals that people in product development, human resources, and customer service ought to strive to meet.

    As Peter Cohan, author of “Scaling Your Startup: Mastering the Four Stages From Idea to $10 Billion,” writes in a column published by Inc., a Harvard business professor told him that one part of his book was the most important to ensure healthy growth: accountability.   

    Successful CEOs establish and apply rigorous processes that hold all people accountable for contributing to the startup’s growth goal, Cohan says. Such processes assure that each person is willing to strive toward their goals and how that will help the startup achieve its revenue growth target.

    One example of a startup that holds people accountable well is California-based business intelligence software supplier, Arcadia Data. With over 2,500 customers, its revenues increased 500% in 2018 and in October 2018 its raised $15 million—bringing its total valuation to $27 million.

    Arcadia Data has a rigorous process for planning and evaluating its business. The company sets detailed goals for the coming 12 months for its business functions. As CEO Sushil Thomas said in a September 2018 interview, “We plan revenue and headcount in sales, marketing and engineering in our four channels: inbound, outbound, partners, and up-selling to existing customers.” The plans are based on benchmarks from previous years, all metrics available are used, and it is critical to the business’ success. Read the full column.

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