We all know we need clear organisational goals in place to get to where we want to be. But identifying what they are and really drilling down to the steps that are needed to get there isn’t always easy – especially if you’re growing a small business. That’s where OKRs come in.
You can use the OKR framework to outline where you’re going and implement clear business objectives so that you can look forward to solid business growth with a detailed plan in place. We go into this in more detail below…
The challenges of setting goals for small businesses
For small businesses especially, setting goals can feel challenging. You may ask yourself questions such as:
- Are our company goals too conservative, or too lofty?
- How do we get from here to there?
- We want to do so many things, but where do we start?
- What do we focus on first?
- Do we have the right resources and capacity to achieve our business goals?
You want to think big, but you also want to be sensible. The truth is, your goals don’t need to be far-fetched or unrealistic, nor should you worry about looking too far into the future – in fact, the simpler the better at first. You just need to have them and put a system in place to measure your progress so that you can work towards putting another set of goals in place to reach the next stage of your business.
Why are small business goals important?
Without clear goals, you’re essentially going to an undetermined location without a map. When we have something specific to work towards, and detailed steps to get there, we can be confident in the direction we’re heading and what we’re building.
Each milestone moves us closer to where we want to be – further towards the ‘ultimate goal’. To do this, you need to know what you want and be able to accurately measure your progress along the way.
Small businesses also tend to have more of a need for structure and planning than bigger companies if their ambition is to scale up and expand over time. They rarely have the departments, manpower and financial resources present as is the case in large businesses, so it’s even more important to prioritise and determine which areas are best to concentrate on and where to allocate time, money and energy.
Small business goals vs large business goals
There’s nothing wrong with thinking big. Look at the bigger picture first, what you eventually want to achieve, and work backwards from there. Small business goals will look different compared with their larger counterparts, but there are similarities in the structure and nature.
So, what are some good business key results for small businesses? Your company objectives will be unique to your business, but examples include:
- Hitting £60,000 in sales by (date)
- Expanding the team by two people by (date)
- Reduce product wastage by X% by (date)
Notice they all have something in common – they’re very specific. They include indicators to help you measure progress, such as numbers, and there’s a date set to make them time-sensitive.
With OKRs, we first establish the wider objective (‘Grow my business’) then identify the key results associated with that – for example, ‘Increase revenue to £250,000 by next year’, and ‘Launch a new product by April’.
That main goal is actually comprised of several smaller goals, which need to be focused on both together and independently to reach that overarching objective. Incremental growth is stable growth – so breaking down big goals into smaller chunks like this makes your markers for success much more tangible and manageable.
Small business goals must be adaptive
As your small business grows you want to retain the spirit and essence of what you do. Your goals must be adaptive in order to grow with you and help you to scale up efficiently and successfully.
Consider how your goals can help you to grow, whilst remaining true to your passion and purpose. Key objectives should be about expanding and growing that ethos and philosophy, rather than focusing on numbers alone and getting so big that you end up losing what differentiates you from competitors along the way.
Staying on track to achieve your business goals
It’s not enough just to have the goals – you also need to know how to stay on track to achieve them! This is where lots of people fall off the wagon with their goal-setting intentions – they’ve put the plans in place, but fail to monitor their outcomes or properly measure progress.
That’s the beauty of OKRs – it provides your business with an adaptive, personalised goal-setting framework that moves with you over time, allowing you to track the outcomes as you go. You can also use OKR software to enable you to check in with your goals and monitor progress so that you can adapt your approach accordingly.
If you’re ready to take your small business to the next level with OKRs, book a call with a Giant today.