We’ve all seen it: front page headlines of “visionaries” gazing into the abyss .. every sentence attesting to the incredible success that he/she’s been able to conjure in the face adversity.

There’s just one thing missing: numbers.

I don’t know how you could possibly describe someone as successful without knowing what their financial status is like.. and this is especially true of entrepreneurs.

The media has a strong role to play in terms of getting the facts straight .. and I’m continually surprised at how, over and over again, we fall for this trap. I know of at least 3 entrepreneurs who’s businesses are failing miserably (2 of whom haven’t made a single $) and yet have been featured on newspapers across the region.

I call these guys newspaperpreneurs. Entrepreneurs in the eyes of the public, but hobbyists in real life (it’s easy to mix up a business and a hobby – Justin Wilcox does an excellent job of explaining the difference).

The solution is simple

Transparency. 

For far too long, we’ve hidden behind the obscurity of the unknown (or worse, false perceptions). Nothing quite cuts through that like a nice strong dose of good ole fashioned transparency.

What should you be transparent about? Well, everything that matters.

Imagine if all companies out there published: - Revenue figures - User registrations, engagement and churn rates - Burn rates and net profit

What’s the worst that could happen? 

In fact, having done this before, I know that you’ll quickly start to realize some benefits .. especially in the early stages of a companies lifetime:

Benefits of transparency

  • Added accountability and incentive to perform (the added peer pressure, knowing that everyone in the world will know if you screw up, is a great motivator to get off your butt and get stuff done).
  • Focus on what matters. Choosing the metrics carefully means that you’re always going to have them in front of you – setup as a public dashboard. The exercise of sharing this information with the public ensures that you’ll have to find a way to get real time visibility to the metrics that matter – something alot of companies don’t have today.

My commitment to transparency

Going forward, I pledge to transparency in the ventures I’m involved in today .. and ventures I engage in down the line. This follows in the footsteps of startups like Moz, Buffer and many others.