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In: Measurement

 

On Halloween 2007, a room full of employees waited for a secret announcement. Two men emerged at the front of the room dressed in bee costumes and revealed news that would alter the course of two companies.

The men in the bee costumes were a senior vice president from Clorox and the general manager of Burt’s Bees. They were announcing Clorox’s acquisition of Burt’s Bees for the cool price of $925 million. The beloved all-natural products brand was joining the ranks of a company known for its chemicals.

Was Burt’s selling out?

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You use dashboards every day, although you may not realize it.

The simplest is a clock.  When you awake, it tells you what time it is.  At a glance, you also know how long you have to get out of the house.  If you drive to work, the instrument panel in your car is another dashboard, providing key information you wouldn’t want to be without.  When you look up at the dashboard in the sky, you see what nature is telling you about the weather. Dark clouds indicate imminent rain, whereas sun indicates warmth.

Dashboards surround us.  In business, dashboards commonly provide a quick view of key metrics such as customers, units sold and revenue.  Here’s how you can use dashboards to improve the performance of your organization or business.

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Treating diseases, addressing climate change, expanding access to healthy food or creating new methods of learning. These are just a few of the major social challenges that companies—yes, companies—are working to solve. Of course, the public and nonprofit sectors continue to play a critical role in tackling these challenges, but we’ve also witnessed an increasing number of entrepreneurs building companies whose products and services offer scalable solutions to improve our communities, while at the same time generating financial returns.

Because of their unique goals, companies that have a mission to turn a profit and do good have a different set of questions to ask than traditional enterprises when they’re getting started. What are the critical questions you should ask if you want to be a for-profit social enterprise? Here are six things to think about:

1. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM YOU’RE TRYING TO SOLVE?
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When you set out to build a great company, it’s hard to know how you are doing along the way. There does come a time when you know you’ve done it. Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Salesforce, Tesla, etc got there. We know that. And the founders of those companies know that too.

But two years in, three years in, four years in, it’s hard to know how you are doing. The market moves quickly. Customers are fickle. Competition emerges. Trusted team members leave. Your investors flake out on you. And so on and so forth.

So entrepreneurs want something they can hang on to. They wants a scorecard. A number. Validation that they are getting there.

And that thing is often valuation. If the “market” says you are now worth $1bn versus $500mm a year ago and $200mm two years ago and $50mm three years ago, then you are making good progress. The numbers tell you so. And it feels good.
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