I was listening to a podcast today, and the presenter extolled the listeners to have one key metric in their business. He suggested that most companies should use revenue as the key measure of how well they are progressing. 

Using revenue as a metric seems like a greedy and self-centred measurement, but it really isn’t. Some left-brain (logical) arguments for using revenue as a measurement are: 

  • Revenue is your lifeblood as an organization. Even non-profits need to ensure that they have enough revenue to continue.
  • Revenue and impact likely correlate. The more revenue you have, the bigger the impact your organization is having. (This is not always true. And sometimes when it is true, the impact you are having is not positive.)
  • Revenue indicates a response to your offering. Whether you are a for-profit or non-profit organization, the fact that you have income indicates that someone was willing to give you money to keep doing what you are doing. 

The Truth About Revenue

Whether or not you feel morally feel that money should be your key indicator — It is. What charity is more significant? a $2 million organization, or a $50 million organization. If someone offered you $10 or ten-thousand-dollars, what would you accept? Even if you have taken an oath of poverty, refusing the $10-thousand would be irresponsible. You should take the money and redistribute it as you see fit. 

We all understand that revenue can lead to greater opportunities. So revenue should be one of your key indicators of success. This doesn’t mean that you pursue revenue to the detriment and destruction of everything else. Income is important, and so is making the other changes you want to in this world.