IMPES

2. Principle TWO

Measure the Health Of Your ESO

IMPES

2. Principle two

 measure the health of your ESO

In the same way that flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, it is important for ESO leaders to focus on their organisation’s internal health before scaling up the delivery of support programs for entrepreneurs. Also consider that funding partners are making an investment not only in ESO programs but also the ESOs themselves, their capacity, growth, and increased impact.

In the same way that flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, it is important for ESO leaders to focus on their organisation’s internal health before scaling up the delivery of support programs for entrepreneurs. Also consider that funding partners are making an investment not only in ESO programs but also the ESOs themselves, their capacity, growth, and increased impact.

In the same way that flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, it is important for ESO leaders to focus on their organisation’s internal health before scaling up the delivery of support programs for entrepreneurs. Also consider that funding partners are making an investment not only in ESO programs but also the ESOs themselves, their capacity, growth, and increased impact.

Home 5 The IMPES Principles 5 Principle Two: Measure The Health Of Your ESO
2.1 Measure Your ESO’s Financial Health

Critically assess what finances you will need to not only continue your work but also to scale it and grow your team over time. What kind of resources do your goals for the future require?

Measuring your finances means understanding what you have in the bank now as well as what you may have in the bank tomorrow. This kind of measurement should come from the finance and leadership team. You may even have financial success metrics looped into your Theory of Change.

Questions to ask when measuring finances could include:

  • Do you have strong budgeting, accounting, and financial reporting systems in place?
  • Do you have a clear and approved budget for the months and year ahead? 
  • Do you have confirmed funding in place for upcoming projects? 
  • Do you have a cash-flow forecast in place, and are you covering your expenses for a comfortable period of time? 
2.2 Operational Health

Operational health means having the systems in place for the effective day-to-day management of your ESO and programs. This could include having a clear plan with timelines, objectives, and metrics; clear and effective systems for Human Resources (recruitment, onboarding, retention, development); financial processes and controls; project management and reporting; MEL (including client management systems, database, etc.), office management, etc. 

Do you have strong systems and processes in place that provide a solid foundation, making you ready for growth? Or, if you scaled quickly, would things quickly fall apart?

2.3 Team Health

Like any organisation, an ESO’s internal culture is crucial for organisational success. Do you have a strong leadership team in place? Do you have the right people on your team, and are they in the right job? Do you have the capacity to deliver on your Theory of Change and goals for the future? Are your team members aligned with your vision, mission, and values? Are they aligned with the impact your ESO exists to create? 

Your leadership can reflect on these questions, but you should also ask your team. In the same way that we ask entrepreneurs for feedback, getting feedback from your team on the ground will give a clearer picture of what is working (and what is not). 

Without a strong and healthy team, your work is not possible. Take the time to define what a healthy and engaged team looks like, how you can build and maintain a strong and positive culture, and how you will continuously reflect on, measure, and improve this culture.

The principles in practice

Create a clear business plan or strategy that outlines goals for your organisation, including  objectives that focus on the health of your ESO.

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Create a clear business plan or strategy that outlines goals for your organisation, including  objectives that focus on the health of your ESO. Along with the intended impact you wish to create, consider what it looks like if your ESO is ‘healthy’ enough to operate and achieve that impact and whether it has the foundations in place to be able to scale. 

Specific areas of the business to review on an annual basis as part of a ‘health check’ could include:

Financial

  • Do you have a clear budget for the year ahead?
  • Do you have a strong accounting system in place and up-to-date financial records?
  • Are you clear on where you are spending money and where most of your funding comes from? 
  • Do you have a clear cash-flow forecast, and is it looking strong for the next 6-12 months?
  • Do you have a pipeline of strong potential partnerships and funding?
  • Do you have strong financial controls in place? 
  • Do you have a strong financial team (CFO, finance manager, accountant, etc.)?

Operational

  • Do you have clear policies and procedures for daily operations (office management, internal policies, etc.)? 
  • Do you have clear Human Resources policies and procedures, and are your team fully aware of them?
  • Do you have a strong MEL framework, Client Management System, data collection methods, and database in place? Is all of your data in one place?

Team

  • Do you have the right people on your team, and are they in the right jobs? 
  • Do you have a positive and passionate team culture with a strong leadership team in place? 
  • Do you have high-quality onboarding, performance management, and capacity building procedures? 
  • Are your team engaged and supportive of each other? This is particularly important during times of ongoing crises, such as COVID-19, when mental health and employee engagement are a significant issue for many organisations across the world. 
  • Do you have a defined vision, mission, and Theory of Change, and are your team aligned around your shared organisational goals? 

🩺  Operationalising a regular health check

Your leadership team is best placed to conduct a regular ‘health check’ of your ESO and set clear annual and quarterly goals to address each of these focus areas. It is important to measure progress against areas for improvement so you can recognise and celebrate improvements and wins over time.

THE PRINCIPLES

A set of living, open source Guiding Principles for ESO Impact Measurement, led by a Community of Practice, and developed with input from key stakeholders.

Explore by Principle, or start with

1: Understand what success looks like for entrepreneurs

2: Measure the Health of your ESO

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3: Measure immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes

4. Understand and align with the goals of key stakeholders

Illustration of Groups of Entrepreneur, Partner, ESO, and Funder Stakeholders

5. Invest in Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning (MEL)

6: Practise data collection methods that are accessible for diverse entrepreneurs

7: Validate what you measure

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