We are all striving to grow and expand in our businesses. To increase revenue and achieve success. But what is the formula to actually activate sustainable growth for your startup? It all begins with goals and metrics.
Do you know why we practice goal-setting and establish KPIs each year and quarter?
There are many people that have mixed feelings about goal-setting, but I think we can agree, that you need to be aiming for something in order to hit anything. The goal-setting process is a critical one. Not just for motivating the team and keeping everyone on track. But it is an essential process for you, dear founder. It's important because it means that you need to reconnect with your big vision-- with your big dream-- and get strategic about how to get here.
There is no magic wand or secret sauce to success. It is simply the process of moving forward with a vision and keeping yourself aligned with your goal.
Shiny object syndrome is real. Wikipedia defines it as, "the situation where people focus undue attention on an idea that is new and trendy, yet drop this as soon as something new takes its place." This is where a lot of founders get stuck and why 90% of startups fail according to Investopedia. The reason being mostly because founders are not "cracking the code" when it comes to marketing. They aren't sure how to get to their goals and to be effective in their communication.
But this isn't as complicated as you might think. There is a 3-step formula that I use to keep my team on track and how I am able to uncover the correct marketing and communications strategy for dozens of startups I've worked with.
It all starts with one simple principle: analyze what isn't working to get to what works.
What do you do when you come to the end of the quarter and you haven't reached your goals or hit your KPIs? What kind of analysis do you do? How do you adjust your targets and tactics to move forward?
See, for many startups, this is the missing piece. You may think that this level of formality is only useful for big organizations. Startups want to be lean and agile, right? That is great, but it shouldn't come at the cost of intentional planning and analysis.
Let's start at the beginning. What exactly is the role of a founder?
In my opinion, the founder's most important role is to hold that big, vivid vision and share it with the team. To keep everyone aligned.. and to measure performance and keep those accountable for results.
A good founder needs to help their people succeed. Founders don't need to have all the answers. They need to enable their team to do great work. To be supportive.
So how do you keep the team accountable and moving towards your vivid vision?
There is a formula for management that I find very helpful.
3 Steps to Growing your Business
Designate time to formally sit down with your team, remind them of your big vision, share wider business goals, and get their input/buy-in to what goals they can accomplish in a quarter to help the company succeed. If your team cannot offer ideas and suggestions, you need to find better people.
2. Weekly Team Scorecard Review
Create a marketing scorecard that reflects your business goals. Set targets for each piece of marketing and hold individuals accountable for the results. Designate the same day/time each week to come together to review the scorecard performance, give updates on goals, and discuss any tasks for cross-collaboration.
Need help creating a scorecard? Grab my FREE template here.
3. Regular 1:1 with key members
Commit to building deeper relationships with the people you work with. During 1:1s with my team, we don't discuss tasks and to-dos. This is high-level relationship building and connecting. We talk about their life goals, their workload, and any area they feel stuck in. We talk about ideas. This is the time when my team understands that I am here for them. This is leadership in action.
Do you know what happens as you establish regular meetings like this and deepen your connection? Your team starts performing better. They become more invested in you and your business. They are happier because they feel appreciated and understood. Connecting with your team is so important.
This is the rhythm of management. It doesn't need to be complicated. You don't need to be putting out fires left and right. You plan-- and in planning, you and your team are making your best guess on how to achieve the goals of the company. It isn't mandatory to complete all the goals at any cost. It is more important to be striving and improving. To be open and transparent about what each person is responsible for.
Goals should be discussed regularly and a scorecard analyzed. Remember, you can't improve what you don't measure-- and so filling in and reviewing your scorecard is how you operationalize measuring and improving.
Something magical happens when you get together with your team and look at the numbers. Didn't reach your targets? Well, watch how the team activates to solve the problem. By interfacing with your team, you will uncover solutions and ideas that you would have never come up with on your own.
Now, if you're thinking that your team isn't creative or they don't add that kind of value to the company, I have a question for you:
How much time do you spend developing and connecting with your team?
This is the last piece of the puzzle and why having regular 1:1 with your key team members is critical. For me, this looks like a bi-weekly 1:1 for 30 mins with the most important players.
And, by the way, this should go without saying, but your team doesn't need to be full-time employees. I do this with contractors and freelancers. And it is a beautiful thing because they feel safe and stable working with you as a client and you get their loyalty.
All this to say, implementing these 3 steps is essential for growing and winning in your startup. This is the work. I challenge you to use this as a model and commit to being consistent in its practice every week/ month/ year.
Don't forget about the tortoise and the hare. This isn't a race (although it may feel like it at times). Building a successful business means understanding your customer and serving them well. It is a process of persistence and discovery. I promise that you will get there faster if you are smart and intentional about how you manage yourself and your people.
Take a listen!👇🏻
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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.