Planning, OKRs, KPIs, Oh My!

As we get to our launch, it becomes more and more important to ensure our plans are solid. As I mentioned previously, a start-up does not have a set rhythm like an established company. For example, an established company has sales, human resources, capital expenditures, etc. Not only do these companies have these ongoing activities, but the corresponding accounting records give managers the “score”.


In contrast, early-stage start-ups, do not have a lot of these simply due to their stage. As such, it truly is up to us to ensure we take action and to get to where we want to be, it becomes ever more important to, not just act, but act in a manner that ensures the most chance for success. This is hard to conceptualize for folks that work at large companies that have all this embedded into their daily lives. If not for planning and OKRs we could very well come in on any day with no agenda, not a thing to do other than whatever we felt like doing that day. That is really cool, but not very productive at this stage.


Enter planning, OKRs, and KPIs. These terms have been around for longer than the current “trendy name”, but they are critical regardless of nomenclature and as such very important to our progress. This is by its very nature a “work-in-progress” and that works well because it is not static but evolves as the Company grows. At this stage, we have mostly OKRs that have an implied or embedded KPI in many cases. What do I mean?


Example)

· OKR: Sign the first 100 hotels. This has an embedded KPI of “Hotels Currently + 100” or,

· OKR: “Beta Test Agreement ready for Customers by _____”, which has a deadline, but does not have a KPI.


The fun part is getting the OKRs set up because that forces you to think about the business, not as an idea, but as a functioning business. A business with priorities that you must get accomplished to move the whole thing forward, sometimes on will alone.


As we get the broad strokes in place and define the early KPIs (e.g., ARR of $500,000), we also get to review the existing plans, systems, and how these all work together (or not, that can happen too). This will take us a few weeks to review, update, and put in place but it is worth every minute. As things speed up, this planning and work will be essential to scaling.

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