A KPI dashboard for early-stage SaaS startups. [Update 12/20/2013: I have extended the dashboard to include multiple pricing tiers and annual subscription plans.
Check it out here.] Over the last few years I've helped quite a lot of SaaS startups to create or fine-tune their KPI dashboards. While every situation is a bit different there's also a lot of overlap, which made me think that it would make sense to publish my template (not without polishing it a bit). I hope other SaaS startups will find it useful, and it will also make it easier for us to communicate what KPIs we're looking for when we talk to SaaS entrepreneurs.
Not surprisingly the dashboard looks quite similar to the financial planning sheet that I've posted some time ago. Here is the Google Docs version. If you'd like to get the original Excel version, which looks a bit nicer, click here to get it in exchange for a tweet...or drop me an email. :-) A Geckoboard version will be coming soon.
The sheet contains some notes on the right side. One comment, though. Apple, Google and the Publishers: Here’s How to Make Subscriptions Work. In recent weeks, we’ve heard growing concern from magazine and newspaper publishers regarding the challenge of providing content for mobile media while preserving their print franchises.
The concern is nothing new, but it’s apparent that content providers are at risk of losing track of their customers like toddlers in a shopping mall. Apple’s iPad success and the imminent release of new application distribution platforms from Google and other software companies threaten another seismic shift for publishers that may have far greater impact on their business models than the growth of free media on the web. Devices like the iPad offer consumers a rich reading experience and offer publishers even more targeted advertising, but the revenue tradeoff as publishers navigate the path from print to this new world is lopsided–and not in a good way. Data informs advertising in magazines and allows for better targeting.
Startup Killer: the Cost of Customer Acquisition. In the many thousands of articles advising entrepreneurs on what they have to focus on to build successful startups, much has been written about three key factors: team, product and market, with particular focus on the importance of product/market fit.
Failure to get product/market fit right is very likely the number 1 cause of startup failure. However in all these articles, I have not seen any discussion about what I believe is the second biggest cause of startup failure: the cost of acquiring customers turns out to be higher than expected, and exceeds the ability to monetize those customers. In case you are not familiar with the importance of Product/Market fit, Marc Andreessen has a great blog post on this topic: The Pmarca Guide to Startups, part 4: The only thing that matters. Subscriptions are the New BLACK. (+ why Facebook, Google, & Apple will own your wallet by 2015. I'm on a redeye to NYC, supposed to be working on a presentation i'm giving in a few hours... but fuck it, i can't get this outta my head, so here we go.
(note: extremely raw, uneven, long, 1st draft publish & shoot; will revise l8r) ASSERTION #1: The default startup business model from 2000-2009 was based on growth (aka acquisition) and CPM- or CPC-advertising. Setting Your Price for Customer Acquisition Costs. Netflix Raises Rates Again: Business Model Has Serious Challenges Ahead.
Subscription business model. The subscription business model is a business model where a customer must pay a subscription price to have access to the product/service.
The model was pioneered by magazines and newspapers, but is now used by many businesses and websites. Membership fees to some types of organizations, such as trade unions, are also known as subscriptions. Industries that use this model include mail order book sales clubs and music sales clubs, cable television, satellite television providers with pay-TV channels, satellite radio, telephone companies, cell phone companies, internet providers, software providers, business solutions providers, financial services firms, fitness clubs, and pharmaceuticals, as well as the traditional newspapers, magazines and academic journals.
Renewal of a subscription may be periodic and activated automatically, so that the cost of a new period is automatically paid for by a pre-authorized charge to a credit card or a checking account. Types of subscriptions The ROI Of Software-As-A-Service. Trends: The Subscription Economy. One of the main obstacles standing in the way of making the concept of subscriptions practical to more types of goods and services is that many products don't immediately lend themselves to cheap and easy billing systems.
Subscriptions can play a greater role in our economy if only we can get the business model right. There are multiple ideas about the shape of the future competing for primacy in the electronic village. I am pushing on sustainability, but another idea that I really like is called "the subscription economy," championed most vociferously by Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora.