12 Ways a Startup Team Can Demonstrate Progress

blog_6.16How can a startup team demonstrate progress?

To help startup teams demonstrate their progress, we asked startup founders and business leaders this question for their best insights. From using agile methodologies to comparing growth metrics from previous months, there are several ways for startup teams to track and demonstrate the progress they are making.

Here are 12 ways a startup team can demonstrate progress:

  • Use Agile Methodologies
  • Track Your KPIs Or OKRs
  • Measure Month-Over-Month Reach in Early Days
  • Make Connections With Others for Regular Cooperation
  • Set Up Milestones
  • Show The Value of Your Product or Service
  • Develop a Minimum Viable Product
  • Forster Great Teamwork
  • Demonstrate Customer Acquisition
  • Revise Your Development Plan
  • Create and Follow a Detailed Business Plan
  • Compare Growth Metrics from Previous Months

Use Agile Methodologies

Early on in your business, it can be hard to gain insights into just how much progress is being made. Through the use of agile methodologies, you can consider the amount of work you have to do, and also the amount of work you've done, in short iterations. This is an effective way to demonstrate progress both to your team and stakeholders. It is an effective tool to manage expectations and show off real, measurable accomplishments. You can also incorporate burndown charts and other Agile reports, which are great ways to visually demonstrate team progress.

Debra Hildebrand, Hildebrand Solutions, LLC

Track Your KPIs Or OKRs

You should be tracking your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, since this will help you measure your progress towards your quantifiable goals. If you set and then meet or exceed your KPIs, you're doing well. If not, be prepared to either shift some priorities and or remove any obstacles or bottlenecks where possible. You can also set and track OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results. Both KPIs and OKRs make it easy to identify how your team is progressing

Nick Santora, Curricula

Measure Month-Over-Month Reach in Early Days

Measuring month-over-month reach is a key performance indicator for startup progress. Especially in the early stages of development or pre-launch, sales numbers are not always available but that doesn’t always equate to failure. Monitoring how many audience impressions, views, opt-ins, subscribers, and visits are all examples of ways to measure this growth. By identifying non-revenue-related performance metrics, you can measure startup progress starting from day one.

Benjamin Meskin, Cabrella

Make Connections With Others for Regular Cooperation

The most noteworthy way for a startup team to demonstrate progress is through the connections they’ve made. Whatever the industry is, a successful team has communicated with other teams, companies, people, media outlets, etc., in order to reach the success they have achieved. But demonstrating progress means having relationships with these connections that are long lasting and can ensure that cooperation will be done on a regular basis. This is especially evident for media relations, and securing a trustworthy connection with journalists that know you will produce quality content, and are ready to spread the word of your next achievements.

Marco Genaro Palma, PRLab

Set Up Milestones

Startups are notoriously difficult to manage. The reality of managing a small startup team is that they work on more than one project at a time. One way to demonstrate progress is through setting up milestones, which are specific goals that the team plans to complete in order to accomplish their goal. Milestones are like mileposts on the road of life, they provide context and understanding of what was done and what's still left to do. Milestones not only offer tangible proof that you’re making progress, but can also help your team find ways to improve as well.

Alan Wilford, I Peep BXS

Show The Value of Your Product or Service

One way for a startup team to demonstrate progress is by showing the value of their product or service. If you have a product or service, you should be able to clearly communicate the benefits of using your solution. You can demonstrate this in one of two ways: through case studies or testimonials. 

Case studies are stories about how your product or service helped someone else achieve their goals. They show that your solution works in practice, and they can be very effective in persuading people to use your product. Testimonials are another great way to demonstrate progress because they come from real customers who are willing to publicly attest to their experience with you and your product. 

Ishu Singh, Starting to know

Develop a Minimum Viable Product

A minimum viable product, or MVP, is a product with just enough features to be usable by early adopters. The goal of an MVP is to validate a hypothesis about a product idea with the least amount of effort and expense. An MVP can help startup teams demonstrate progress because it allows them to collect feedback from early users and make changes based on that feedback. Additionally, having an MVP can show investors that the team is capable of delivering a functioning product. Creating an MVP doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, many startups launch their products as MVPs and then continue to add features over time.

Danielle Bedford, Coople

Foster Great Teamwork 

Great teamwork. It seems simple, but the best way to tell if a startup is doing well, or not doing well is to look at the team. If the team is enjoying each other, working well together, and generating ideas together, then the startup is in good shape. If they’re arguing, struggling to be inspired or productivity is down, that’s a sign something is wrong. The team is the lifeblood of a business, and in a startup that is even more true. If the team is not healthy, that’s a major sign that the business is not healthy and vice versa.

Staci Brinkman, Sips by

Demonstrate Customer Acquisition

Customer acquisition is a key facet of startup success. The most important part of bringing a product to market is having consumers who are actually willing to pay for it. New companies often struggle to be relevant in the minds of consumers. Converting people into paying customers is often more challenging than getting on their radar. Acquiring customers is a demonstration of true success for startups. Once there is proof that customers can be acquired, then there is a path towards scaling the business to a mature size.

Sean Doherty, Box Genie

Revise Your Development Plan

Whether you are a startup or expanding business, you should have a quarterly development plan in place. And if you do, the best way to check if the startup team is demonstrating progress is to revise their accomplishment with the development plan. Check what you assumed the team would accomplish and at what time. Increase company sales, increase revenue, attract new customers, produce more content - whatever it was. Ask yourself questions about what other milestones you have achieved. Now verify that with what the team has actually accomplished. Additionally, define where the team was when you set up goals and where it is now. Search for progress areas. Write down the numbers, as they show you growth even of a few percent.

Nina Paczka, MyPerfectResume


Create and Follow a Detailed Business Plan

plan. A good business plan will help you evaluate your startup's strengths, weaknesses, and overall potential. It should also show how you will achieve your goals, including how much money you need and how long it will take for the business to become profitable.

Ben Price, Heatable

Compare Growth Metrics from Previous Months

The simplest way to prove that your startup is making progress is to line out all the ways in which you have expanded over a period of time. For example, if you had grown the team tenfold over the past six months, include that in your business plan. You should also include how the ways in which you've grown will lead into your plans for the future.

Adrien Dissous, Babo Botanicals


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