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How much performance management do start-up companies need?

Start-up companies stand for innovation, dynamism and a high risk of failure. These young companies often grow very quickly and first have to create structures. The earlier in the development of start-ups a professional performance management solution is used for sales, personnel (incl. skill and cost planning), cash flow planning and planning in the next financing rounds, the better1. In this article, we summarize how such a professional start-up performance management package should look like in order to increase the company performance and minimize the risk. We have to add that we know the requirements for start-ups very well and have a lot of project experience in this area. For example, a project with the Ed-tech unicorn GoStudent is currently starting. And … we use our own performance management solution to drive our business.

Can't answer these questions - or not sure?

  • What sales or earning growth can we expect in the future?
  • Do we have our cash flow under control?
  • When is the next round of financing needed and how do I satisfy investors?
  • Which team with which skills do we need in future?
  • What are the costs for us? …and…
  • How is the company value developing (MRR, ARR, Retention Rates, ACV, TCV)?

If you want to make your start-up successful and answer all important questions quickly and safely, it is time to rethink controlling in your company and set it up professionally. This also supports your growth, because you are then guaranteed to steer in the right direction. Perhaps, like many other start-ups, you still work with spreadsheets in controlling. This is certainly feasible for the beginning, but is no longer recommended once the company has reached a certain size. You can save yourself the time and nerves and invest your know-how in value-adding activities such as analyzes and management recommendations. This also increases decision-making security, company performance and, last but not least, the satisfaction of the controlling team.

start-up performance management whitepaper de
Find all facts in the brandnew Whitepaper

What has to be included in the start-up performance management package?

All necessary BI and Performance Management functions for start-ups are:

  • Revenue planning incl. top-down & bottom-up planning
  • Cash flow monitoring and planning, financing planning incl. action planning and follow-up
  • Personnel incl. career planning, position plan, planning with OTE, transparent salary system and time recording
  • Reporting for investors incl. all important key figures (investors’ dashboard with opex, revenue, cash burn rate etc.) and initiative tracker
  • CPQ (Customers, Products & Quotes) & detail revenue planning (for B2B business model): create customers, create and take over products, calculate offers
  • Integrated financial planning incl. scenario and value driver planning, corrective measures, live preview of planned changes and effects, what-if simulations
  • Sales analysis, planning and forecasting (incl. AI/machine learning if it makes sense), rolling pipeline overview, drill-down to opportunity level
  • Marketing and product planning incl. go-to-market planning – end-to-end marketing and sales analyzes, campaign and lead analyzes, seamless integration with the CRM system

You can read more about all functions including dashboards in the whitepaper “Start-up Performance Management package” >>

All of these functions are included in the start-up performance management package. They are based on market-leading, modern performance management technology (Corporate Performance Management & Business Intelligence). On the following screenshots from the software you can see a few dashboards with the decision-relevant information for you/your team/the management and also your investors:

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Dashboards und reporting: Highly informative and eye-catching, just what Management and Investors need

The dashboards from the “start-up performance management package” provide all the necessary information, such as cost analyzes, forecasts, KPI, scenario comparisons etc. and can be adjusted depending on the role (CFO, CEO, investor etc.). You can drill-down and drill-through from any dashboard if you want to go into the details. Standardized reports integrate the dashboards and allow a top up-to-date reporting at the push of a button. And the best of all: You can trust the analyzes, reports and data 100%. Efficiency increases, resources are used optimally and bottlenecks are avoided.

You will see that the continuous monitoring and control also increases the company’s performance because you know where to apply the levers. Thanks to the traceability of initiatives and the direct assignment of responsibilities, measures and goals are guaranteed to be implemented. This in turn has a positive effect on the value of the company. And that pleases your investors.

5 advantages of professional performance management – a short summary

From a certain size, start-ups must be able to answer management-related questions quickly and reliably, especially in turbulent times when you have to remain liquid. In addition to the advantages of a constantly up-to-date single-point-of-truth with location-independent data access by all employees, automation and standardization, the insights into your own company data often open your eyes and provide investors with the relevant information and reports. The tailor-made start-up package from contains all important functions – from founding to exit/IPO – and at a really cost-saving price. What you will certainly benefit from is the many years of project experience and the business know-how of our consultants. Everyone from the smartPM consulting team has a controlling background and helps with change management right away.

If you want to see how the software works in real time, then simply choose a suitable date in our online calendar >>
We will also be happy to guide you through the system. See you  soon and all the best!

1 Internationaler Assocation of Controllers ICV (2019), Controlling of Start-Ups and Start-Up Initiatives, Haufe, Munich (german language)

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