By Amos Schwartzfarb, Managing Director of Techstars Austin, coauthor of Levers: The Framework for Building Repeatability Into Your Business, author of Sell More Faster: The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Startups
I’ve been building companies as both an operator and investor since the mid ‘90s. Specifically at Techstars, I’ve been involved for the past eight years first as an investor and mentor and then as Managing Director of Techstars Austin. At Techstars alone I’m invested in over 100 companies and have mentored several hundred.
And while there are definitely similarities and patterns between all of them, really each company is its own unique entity. The things that make one company work (or not) are often not the same for another.
That being said, there is one thing that every successful company has in common — and when I say successful I do not mean simply the ability to raise money, I mean the ability to create a long-term and sustainable business. That ‘thing’ is being metrics-driven.
Now I want to be careful here because many companies say (and think) they are metrics-driven when in fact they are really metrics aware. This is when a company has a clear understanding of the metrics that got them where they are currently and they have a rough idea of the things they need to do to grow but those things are high-level and don’t necessarily provide a deeper understanding of why and how to scale.
At Techstars Austin, the notion of being metrics-driven (not just metrics aware) is something I push really hard on. And I’ve often been asked for recommendations for good books or reference materials — and frankly I haven’t been able to find any. Now let me be clear, there are great books and blog posts on KPIs or building product roadmaps, but they are all discreet and don’t clearly connect the dots — this is left to the founder to figure out.
As I have reflected on this, program after program, I thought about what made the companies I was a part of so successful, and over the course of a few years have created a process, which is a series of frameworks, to give the founders I work with a playbook to become truly metrics- (and data-) driven.
Then about a year ago, I had the idea to put that process in a book so that I can help more founders, both in and outside of the Techstars network, become metrics-driven and ultimately build the most successful version of the business they set out to build.
But I knew I couldn’t do it alone, so I reached out to three experts to help me create the best content possible… and all this is a long way to say that I’m excited to announce a new book aimed at giving founders the tools to build metrics-driven businesses.
The book is called: Levers: The Framework for Building Repeatability Into Your Business. Trevor Boehm, Venture Partner at Saturn 5 and former Techstars MD of our Alexa program is my coauthor. Cody Simms, VP of Sustainability and SVP on the Techstars Investment team & Troy Henikoff, GP of Math Ventures and former/founding MD for the Techstars Chicago program each had a major hand in writing chapters specific to their expertise.
The book has five chapters, each of which takes the founders through a step of the process in a very specific order so that by the end of the book, assuming you do the work, you will have the highest degree of clarity on your business, the work you need to do to find repeatability, alignment across your entire team, and a clear and measurable plan.
What I believe is really unique about Levers is that each chapter reads like a workshop and gives you real work to do on your business. It reads like a set of instructions with real world examples and step-by-step instructions of what to do.
The book is available now on Amazon.
And here is an excerpt so you can get the flavor before purchasing it.
To sum it all up, if you are a founder or CEO who is striving to be metrics-driven and/or hasn’t yet found repeatability in your business, Levers is a must-read and more importantly a must-do to ensure the highest chance of building a successful (meaning long-term and sustainable) business.