The well-known tech startup routine of coming up with an idea, raising money from venture capitalists and other outside investors in increasing rounds as valuations continue to rise, and then eventually going public — or getting acquired — has been around for as long as the myth of Silicon Valley itself. But the evolution of Mailchimp — a notable, bootstrapped outlier out of Atlanta, Ga., that provides email and other marketing services to smaller businesses — tells a very different story of tech startup success.
No matter the stage you’re at in your business, smart growth is key for guaranteeing a solid future for your company. After all, while increasing revenue streams can add to your income, it also requires internal expansion within the company itself.
As a startup, there are a lot of different metrics you could optimize for: how many signups you have, how much revenue you’re generating, your WoW growth rate, the list goes on. For most early startups, I think the most important metric to understand and attempt to grow is cohort retention rate.