"It's all about revenue..."
This came out of a recent “Think Tank, Brain Trust, Support Group” meeting, or TTBTSG for short — it’s a trusted group where many things get discussed, and sage insights are given (well, at least on the part of the other members).
Somewhere in our discussions I happened to say “It’s all about revenue.” This is interesting for a couple of reasons that I will get to in a moment but first I want to get to the obvious response from the finance people in the group. There was a little light hearted mockery in the response as it was pointed out that in fact it’s always about revenue. I went on to defend myself by pointing out that lately there are a large number of high valuations out there for companies that don’t generate much (if any) revenue. The conversation died quickly as it was off topic and neither of us had the energy to debate it out. As an aside, what I really wanted to say but couldn’t find the words quick enough, was there seems to be much more interest lately in raising money and debt management than good ol’ revenue generation — it’s actually a good thing I didn’t go there because I am ill prepared to have this kind of discussion, particularly with people who have spent a lifetime in the world of high finance.
What really makes what I said interesting is it’s a reflection of what is at my core in terms of how I define business — for me, it is all about the generation of revenue as a result of marketing and sales activity (and I suppose a nice validation that I have good alignment of my skill sets). It was also a reminder that sometimes I can be loose with my language because what I meant to say was “It’s all about the measurement of revenue…”. I was trying to convey that revenue is important and it needs to be measured — like anything that is important to your broader goals and objectives. In the end, it was really more of a comment scratching at the importance of “measurement” :
Measurement identifies what is needed for success and is a proxy for what you should be (and not be) doing
Measurement requires objective data to determine if you are meeting your goals, exceeding them, or falling short
Measurement establishes benchmarks for improvement
Measurement of leading and lagging indicators is key for understanding progress.
I will always think of profitable revenue first because frankly it’s baked into my DNA but I will also say I’m acutely aware of the other functions that make up a healthy business, and the importance of good synergy. And if I can offer up one last thing for my respected members of the TTBTSG, who I know must shake their heads at the the antics of this “sales and marketing guy”… I’d like to simply say, "Find the galoshes”*.
*a classic sales and finance joke… I will tell it to you sometime.
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