Self-financing a startup means making decisions on the fly trusting your instinct, but there is a point where every company has to use data and information to decide.
5 min read
The opinions expressed by employees are personal.
When you're building a great idea in your basement, hoping it's the next Google, you need to make many decisions based on your instinct. And if you are lucky and do well, in a short time you may find yourself running a real team.
As resources will always be limited and there will never be enough time for everything, you will still have to guess many things. But if you are very lucky with all that, there will come a time when you will run out of excuses and you will have to analyze your data . And you will need all the possible data.
I have done all that. And now I run my own marketing department, already very well established, in which I spend a lot of time making decisions . In general, these decisions affect the company, my team and myself, in many different ways.
And it is just the reason why one needs as much reliable information as possible, to ensure that these decisions are correct and lead the team in the right direction.
Be an efficient leader
It is effective when the numbers guide you. And efficiency is the key to running a successful and high performance company. If you don't believe me, use all the data you collect.
If you want to be the best, you need to have data on everything you do. First, from your co-workers and your team, and after each project, assignment or campaign you manage.
“Data helps you understand and improve business processes so you can minimize the waste of time and money.” You can choose the most efficient way to refill your inventory, plan your sales cycles, and understand your customers. The question is how to get that data.
As a leader, you have two sources that you can turn to. The first is an external source of information. The second is a group much closer to you: your employees. And there are tools to obtain information from both sources.
Employees are one of the most important sources of information. So first you have to make sure they can give you the information you need, at the moment you need it.
To keep me informed, I use a combination of weekly PPP reports (plans, progress and problems) with weekly one-to-one meetings. Of course, private meetings with employees should be done online, if you would not spend too much time in meetings.
And the use of performance management or instant messaging applications allows me to easily access the information I am receiving and also give feedback to employees.
Using the information
Getting information about customers and partners directly is a bit more complicated. As a manager of a marketing department, Google Analytics is like my best friend. And I spend more time browsing it than the time I spend with my wife. But this is necessary to grow a business.
Lorna Keane writes that “Deep consumer knowledge is playing a more central role in campaigns of all shapes and sizes, keeping the promise of return on investment and focusing attention on the right audience.” She shows that the best marketing campaigns are both innovative and data driven.
Avery Schrader, CEO of, told me “In a broad sense, leaders need platforms and data to scale what doesn't seem scalable. Popular strategies such as influencer marketing consume too much time if there is no automation, something that can only be achieved with data. ”
Of course, the more experience you have, the more you can trust your instinct again. When you have more experience you can make more informed decisions by default. But that is not an excuse for exceeding confidence. Being a leader means understanding that there will be times when your instinct is wrong. And it means that hard data is worth more than your personal perspective.
So don't be afraid to experiment with different tools, approaches and methodologies. It is the only way to have a faster and better decision process.