Only two things matter in business, especially early stage businesses: Customers & Cash

A wise man once told me that customers and cash are the only things that matter in early stage businesses.  I recall hearing this statement and thinking, “it’s not that simple”.  Well, yes it is.  It’s that simple folks.  I’m sure all you super-duper smart people reading this will tell me otherwise, but think about how a businesses survive.  In the most simple terms businesses survive because they make enough money (i.e. sales revenue from customers) that cover the company’s expense base.  And the remaining money (cash) can be reinvested in the business. And we get cash from either customers or investors.

So you can debate all you want to about the importance of products, technology, brand, scaling, disruption, viral loops, flywheels, unfair advantages, TAM, SAM, CAC, LVT, MRR, ARR, etc. All of this is irrelevant unless you have customers (i.e. sales revenue that funds your company’s operations) or cash (which you get from customers and/or investors).  Without customers or cash you company will end up on a list similar to this one.

Tell me why I’m wrong (Bill O’Reilly voice).

P.S. Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of Bill O’Reilly.  Just had to document this fact on the internets : )