The Ultimate Guide to Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for Your Small Business

OKRs - a wood the word with the acronym OKR on it.

As a small business owner, you’ll quickly find that you can get lost in tasks and easily lose track of goals. OKRs are not only for large corporations; it is a performance tracking system that can help your business achieve its goals.

What Are OKRs?

First, let’s start with what OKRs are. OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, is a framework to help you set measurable goals. Additionally, it is a way for you to track progress on your goals.

Small businesses can use OKRs to help track and measure progress towards specific goals. By setting measurable goals and tracking progress, you can track what you are doing against the goals. It also ensures that you are making the most of your resources and staying on track towards reaching your objectives.

How do OKRs work?

OKRs typically consist of a list of objectives, each with one or more key results. For example, an objective might be to increase profits by 20%, and a key result might be to increase sales by 25%.

Individuals and teams are responsible for setting their OKRs; however, they should be aligned with the company’s overall objectives. Periodically, everyone’s progress is reviewed and updated accordingly.

The beauty of the OKR system is that it is customizable to fit any company size and business type. This framework works for a one-person business, or it can be more complex for a larger company with multiple teams.

How to Use Them

Create effective OKRS by setting challenging yet achievable objectives. It is also essential to ensure that each objective aligns with your company’s strategy.

Once you set objectives, set key results. You use key results to measure and track your objective; these results let you know whether you have met your objectives.

Finally, it is vital to regularly track progress towards the objectives and key results. This monitoring allows organizations to course-correct as needed and ensure that they are on track to achieving their goals.

Using OKRs by Themselves

Writing Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) can be a great way to focus your team and track progress. However, writing effective OKRs can be difficult.

If you want to write your OKRs, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound
  • Key Results should be quantifiable, so you can track progress and see if you’re achieving your objectives
  • Be realistic in setting your objectives and key results. It’s essential to set goals that challenge your team but are still achievable
  • Make sure everyone you work with is aware of your objectives and key results and is working to achieve them

If you need help drafting OKRs, several templates and tools are available online.

OKRs with Scrum

The way OKRs work with Scrum may vary depending on the organization’s specific implementation of Scrum. However, in general, OKRs can help track and measure the progress of teams working in a Scrum environment. It also keeps everyone aligned on the team’s objectives.

Additionally, OKRs can track and measure the progress of specific Scrum tasks or initiatives. They can help ensure that these tasks are completed on time and within budget.

OKRs with Kanban

With OKRs, you can use Kanban to visualize your workflow and track your progress against your goals. In your Kanban board, create columns for your OKRs and add cards to represent tasks associated with completing the objective. As you progress through your tasks, move the cards to the appropriate column. You can also use Kanban to track how close you meet your goals by adding a progress indicator to your cards.

Examples of OKRs?

Your OKRs for your small business may resemble those of a small business but on a small scale. Examples include:

  • Increase sales revenue by a specific percentage
  • Reduce the cost of goods sold by a certain percentage
  • Expand the company’s market share by a specific percentage
  • Increase customer satisfaction ratings by a set number of points.

Goals and Tasks

Understanding the relationship between goals and tasks is crucial to understanding OKRs. A goal is a high-level outcome that you want to achieve, while a task is a specific action that you need to take to achieve that goal. To achieve your goals, you need to create a roadmap of specific tasks that will help you get there. The OKR-framework creates that roadmap.

Each goal should have a few specific, measurable objectives associated with it. Likewise, each objective should have a few key results associated with it. You can use this framework to track and measure your progress towards your goals over time.

How You Can Benefit from Using OKRs

Even if you are a one-person organization, there are many benefits to using OKRs, whether with another framework or by itself.

Stay focused

Having quantifiable, measurable goals is a great way to stay focused on what’s important. Setting and tracking objectives and key results can help clarify what you need to do to achieve your goals and provide a framework for measuring your progress.

Also, if you hire a business coach or consultant, you can get specific support to attain your goals and objectives.  

Stay motivated

As a solo or micropreneur, you are no stranger to pressure or disappointment. OKRs allow you to see visible progress and focus on high-priority risks.

Sparking Creativity and Innovation

Having clear, specific goals helps you stay result-oriented and breeds the environment to develop innovative solutions.

Things to Consider When Setting Up OKRs

Strategic Skills

If you are new to setting up OKRs, consider getting an OKR coach or consultant to help you become familiar with the system. There are also various tools to help you manage OKRs.

Team Size & Structure

Make sure you consider your team size and structure. Small startups may hire specific talent, such as a marketer or web designer, to help with specialized tasks. Make sure you consider the impact on those vendors to make sure all tasks align with a goal.

Your Role

Setting up objectives and key results is an essential process for any business, regardless of its size or stage of development. But it’s especially critical for business owners, who need to ensure that their objectives are aligned with those of their company. Still, some business owners may hire a project manager to help them track the goals across their mini enterprise.

However, no matter what role you play, you’re ultimately responsible for ensuring that the business meets its targets and grows. And to do that, you need to have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re going to measure it.

Use OKR to Launch and Grow Your Business

OKRs are a way for you to accelerate your company goals. Jowanna Daley empowers small businesses by helping them get a framework in place to cultivate success. Give us a call today.