How to write OKRs for small businesses

by Jenny Bowes | May 08, 2021

time icon 3 mins

OKRs are useful for organisations of all sizes, but they can be particularly useful for boosting growth in small businesses. But, how do you decide which OKR goals to set in these pivotal beginning stages?

In this article, we’ll show you how to write OKRs that encourage stretch and growth for your small business.

Why are OKR goals useful for small businesses?

Many automatically associate OKRs with large corporations such as Spotify and Google. But in reality, they can provide a wealth of benefits for SMEs too.

Helps business owners track goals

For many established SMEs and startups, many business owners’ focus is on survival. So much so, that 80% of small business owners in the US confess to not tracking their company goals.

However, when you’re working with OKRs, you’ll carry out regular check-ins and OKR reviews to monitor your progress over time. You can also use OKR software to ensure everyone in your organisation can track progress on their objectives too.

Encourages strategic alignment

Strategic alignment is essential for success in the business world, and OKRs can help you to achieve this.

Setting OKR goals provides everyone in the organisation with shared business objectives. This is especially useful for small businesses. Why? Because it means that less time and resources will be wasted on menial tasks, and your team will focus their efforts on tasks that are directly linked to your wider company objectives.

Encourages business growth

If you’re an SME looking to expand your business, implementing OKRs is a great way to boost your business growth.

The OKR method is all about pushing boundaries and stepping outside of your comfort zone. So, you’re supposed to set business objectives that seem ambitious and unrealistic.

Whilst this may seem counterproductive, in actual fact, it can help your small business reach new heights by encouraging you to make bolder business decisions!

How to write business objectives that make a significant impact

Writing business objectives is no easy task, even for larger corporations. However, it’s essential for growth.

Firstly, you’ll need to identify what you want to achieve. Do you want to double the size of your organisation? Do you want to increase customer loyalty? Do you want to reduce your company expenditure?

Business objectives can vary significantly depending on the size and nature of your organisation. However, some common small business objectives include the following:

  • Hire a new employee
  • Open a second business location
  • Improve business productivity
  • Maintain a healthy cash flow

The only problem is the above goals is that they are far too vague. What does a healthy cash flow look like? Where do you want to open your second location? When do you need a new employee?

To ensure your company objectives have their desired impact, you’ll need to narrow your focus, attach a time scale and identify your success metrics. This is where the OKR method comes in.

The ‘key results’ aspect of OKRs is where you’ll see real results. This identifies how you’ll achieve your overall objectives. Typically, you’ll assign 3-5 key results per objective, and they should look something like this:

  • Carry out 3 interviews over the next 3 months
  • Reduce overheads by 5% over the next 6 months
  • Secure 3 new clients over the next 12 months

Getting started with the OKR method

If setting OKR goals is new to you, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, we have a whole host of OKR guides and blog posts that will help you get to grips with the process.

Learning how to write OKRs for your small business is no easy task. But our Giants are always on-hand to help with all things OKRs! Get in touch with a member of our team today for assistance.