When it comes to managing the relationships inherent in subscription businesses, leveraging traditional financial models — like gross profit, net margin, and EBITDA — is like sticking a square peg into a round hole. With subscription models, there’s an entirely new set of metrics to keep you up at night. The good news? There’s only three of them.
First I recommend you look at growth. How much do you want to grow and what will that cost the business? Basically, your growth efficiency index, or GEI. After you’ve achieved your GEI, you move to retention (or the flipside: churn) and then recurring profit margin. And then this becomes a cycle…do we want to invest? Great! This means we can grow at an even faster rate by accepting a higher GEI.