Plenty of people in the traditional workforce fantasize about becoming entrepreneurs. It isn’t really hard to see why. Owning a startup, or any form of your own business, is a huge accomplishment worth being proud of, and it grants the freedom to be your own boss. That’s just one of the reasons you should start a company. Others include boosting your income well beyond what you’re used to once you have a successful business going, and financial freedom will allow you to build the lifestyle that you really want, even if it’s following the 4-hour workweek.
Of course, being the founder of a small business isn’t easy. The often-quoted statistic that over half of small businesses fail within their first year is, fortunately, a myth, but is it true that only 30% of businesses manage to survive past a decade. This is still a staggering failure rate; it’s just over a longer period of time. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need more than a good business plan. Getting your startup off the ground is just the first step. You’ll need to grow to maintain and grow to achieve true success, and smart goal-setting throughout your run is the best way. Here are a couple of great ways to do that.
Use the OKR framework.
OKR stands for objectives and key results, and this management framework is a great way for any business to set and track goals across all departments and team members. This approach was invented by Andy Grove at Intel, and it became popularized later when venture capitalist John Doerr brought the approach to Google. At this time, Google was still a relatively small company, but following the OKR system played a significant role in turning them into the tech giant everyone knows today.
Essentially the OKR system is broken into two major parts. Objectives are your overall business strategy, and key results are the ways you measure progress toward those goals. Here are some brief guidelines for each.
Objectives: These should be brief and easily understandable. They’re meant to be understood by everyone from the CEO down to the newest employees. A great idea could be to integrate Salesforce into business processes before the next quarter. This could affect team members across multiple departments, and alignment with this goal is crucial.
Key Results: These are clearly defined and measurable. For the Salesforce example, key results would include things like obtaining the platform, integrating it with your social media platforms, and introducing it to the sales team. The faster you can do these things, the more successful the objective was.
OKR tools let you automatically track your goals and progress to them, which boosts employee engagement and encourages accountability. Over time, you’ll learn to use OKR software more efficiently, and you’ll be able to set smart OKRs every time.
Embrace SMART marketing.
To build a truly successful company, you’ll need great social media and traditional marketing on your side in addition to a lean startup idea. The SMART framework is an excellent one to use for your marketing team. SMART is an acronym that describes the traits that every good marketing idea should have.
Specific: Your goals should be tailored to both boost your revenue and build your brand image.
Measurable: Like with OKRs, you’ll have ways to track your goals. A social media campaign is a great way for new businesses to get attention and develop customer relationships. If you see your startup tracking more on social media, you’ll know you’re succeeding.
Attainable: It’s always important to set realistic goals for your team. If you find you’ve had too ambitious goals in the past, you’ll need to use your data to support more attainable ones.
Realistic: You’ll need to verify that your goals are actually reachable. This becomes easier once you have more data to work with.
Timely: Marketing strategies need to capitalize on the latest trends and predict the near future. Goals that aren’t timely won’t succeed.
These methods should set business owners well on their way to creating smart goals for their companies. If you need more advice, you can always check out books for the new entrepreneur. As you grow in your role, you’ll probably find new ways to bring out the best in your business and influence people to work even smarter.