By: Erin Max Marmer's “Startup Genome Report” aimed to lay the foundation for a new paradigm of assessing startups and understanding the drivers of entrepreneurial performance. The report established a few useful rules for the startup game. Now, Marmer is back with the Startup Genome Compass, which allows a startup to evaluate its current business performance. The Startup Genome Compass attempts to help entrepreneurs figure out which priorities to set and how to measure the effectiveness of their organizations. The Compass delivers a series of questions to provide a startup “diagnosis.” For example, “How detrimental is a 5 percent drop in customer retention to our success?” Max and his team answer these questions by providing metrics in context. The Startup Genome Compass determines how startups progress through their business development lifecycles by using a hybrid stage and type model. The benchmark is simple. It should only take 20 to 40 minutes to complete the series of questions. After a business completes the assessment, Max and his team determine what type of startup it is, what stage it is in and what might potentially cause it to fail. Next, they benchmark the business across more than 25 key performance indicators against startups in similar categories and stages. So does it really work? Steve Blank, a retired entrepreneur and lecturer at Stanford University, says it best in this blog post: “The benchmark is not perfect, it may even be flawed, but it is head and shoulders above what we have now—which is nothing—for giving Internet startups founders specific advice on best practices. If you have a few world-class VCs on your board, you're probably getting this advice in person. If you're like thousands of other startups struggling to get started, it's worth a look.” If you work with a startup with limited resources, check out Marmer's Startup Genome Compass for free advice.
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