It was a good question. It was a tough question. I struggled with it, and in the end, I had to reframe it in order to answer it. I couldn’t get past the fact that expectations imply something that happens that’s out of the founder’s control.
And that’s what I want to talk about in the post: How important it is for an entrepreneur to understand what’s in their control and what isn’t.
What outcomes can you determine?
I’m not an academic, but I am a long-time entrepreneur with a varied history of companies, products, roles, skill-sets, and experiences. In all of those experiences — good and bad — customer acquisition costs, as a metric, is something the team has a lot of control over.
Admittedly, there’s the part of that equation where the conversion has to happen, and that’s not something that can be flipped like a switch. But there are plenty of switches, sliders, and knobs that can be manipulated to produce a different, and hopefully more positive, result.
I had a similar question when an entrepreneur asked about a metric to apply to finding product-market fit. P/M fit is a bit different, because it’s not binary and it’s more of a goal than a measurement. But like CAC, it’s not something for which you wait to see how the data shapes up.
Whether it’s a target cost of customer acquisition or the achievement of product-market fit, there are a ton of variables the entrepreneur can control in order to produce a better outcome.