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What is OKR and how it helps to manage a company

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This is a story about how we increased team performance and the quality of work. Here are the topics in this post:

  • What is OKR?
  • Weaknesses of OKRs
  • Benefits of OKRs
  • Top 3 mistakes in OKRs
  • How to set OKRs

It was several years ago when we began using OKRs in my company. Being a CEO, I struggled with crucial problems in management, which were losing focus and decreasing team motivation.

The team didn’t see the main picture and didn’t understand why they did what they were doing at that time. There were many side projects in the development because we didn’t have a clear focus. Employee engagement was very low. It was a classic team management problem.

Then, we began to use OKRs and we have come a long way from “it doesn’t work for us” stage to “wow, it works and it’s amazing” stage. At that time, my friends from other companies, which saw our results, asked me to help them to implement OKRs too. It was the time when Focus was born.

In this article, I share the main mistakes usually companies do trying to implement OKRs and how to set it in real life, not in theory.

However, it’s crucial to say that OKRs don’t fit everyone. It’s not a silver bullet that empowers your organization and makes a dream team. OKR is a framework, which has strengths and weaknesses.

Before speaking about strengths and hot to set OKRs, I want to mention the main OKRs strengths and weaknesses.

OKRs weaknesses

  • It’s hard to implement. There are two reasons why it isn’t easy to set in the company. First, making the inspirational and ambitious objectives is not as simple as it may seem. Second, not everyone likes to use new things in life or work. At the same time, it’s crucial for OKRs implementation that people in the team want to set ambitious objectives for themselves. People can hesitate about trying something new and go away because it’s easy to keep everything as usual.
  • Implementation and setting OKRs to take a lot of time. Discussing objectives, team meetings, attaining the consensus, choosing the right key results, and defining really inspirational objectives, destructuring companies objectives to the teams… All of that needs time and you cannot set objectives top-down because OKRs don’t work like that. Otherwise, it will not be OKRs.
  • Psychological barrier when the person doesn’t complete the goal. An OKR that was accomplished on 70% is a great indicator. However, not everyone likes it. For some people, it’s crucial to complete the goal of 100% or they think that they didn’t work enough.

OKRs benefits

  • At our expertise, a team increases its engagement. The managers begin to see the fire in employees’ eyes because of interesting goals, which they set for themselves.
  • OKRs increases transparency in the teams. Everyone begins to understand how his or her job impacts the total result. Also, it helps employees to see what their colleagues do and what it matters for a company.
  • It gives clear focus. We stopped to do different side projects, which grabbed our attention and focused on the main things for the company. It’s hard to achieve ideal focus (probably, impossible) because you always have operations like customers’ requests or bug fixing, which take your attention. However, we see that using OKRs helps teams to understand the main focus and make decisions based on core things.

If these benefits are important for you, then you should take a look at OKRs.

What is OKR?

Few words about what OKR means.

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is the methodology for setting the goals, which is used in companies like Google, LinkedIn, Uber, etc. It aligns the teams with transparent goals and metrics. Using the OKRs, a team sets goals bottom-up and it helps to increase employee’s engagement because people feel more responsibility when they create their own goals

Objective is a big and very ambitious goal, which should motivate the team. It’s not a SMART goal. It’s more about vision and inspiration for everyone.

Ambitious goal means that it’s really hard to achieve 100% of it. For instance, 60%-70% achievement is the best result for an objective in Google. 100% OKR achievement shows that objective was simple. 40% or less tells that probably you either didn’t plan it well or you didn’t achieve solid execution.

And yeah, ambitious goals mean that you should not calculate employees’ bonuses based on achieving OKRs. If you connect bonuses with OKRs, then employees will not set ambitious goals for themselves to be sure of completing objectives.

An objective doesn’t have metrics and it’s hard to understand how well it is achieved. For this moment, Key Results are coming to help us, which are the other letters in the OKR acronym.

Key Results make an objective countable. It’s metrics that display traction and how much is left.

A team might choose either one key result or several. It’s crucial to set fewer key results. The ideal amount of key results is three when five results are maximum. The less is better. It allows the team to focus on what matters.

OKRs examples

Objective: Achieve record acquiring new customers

Key Results:

  • 25,000 signups
  • Keep CAC on the same level $20
  • Increase Visitor-to-Trial conversion rate from 5% to 10%

Objective: Close maximum deals

Key Results:

  • 100 new companies
  • Increase market share from 10% to 15%
  • Hit quarterly revenue of $500,000

Objective: Make clients love our service

Key Results:

  • Reduce average response time from 20 to 5 minutes
  • Reduce average closing tickets time from 40 to 12 hours
  • Increase NPS from 65% to 80%

____

If you want to check the main OKR mistakes and see how to set OKRs, you can go here.

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The Truth About Time Management: It’s Not About Time

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time management

Contributed by Aytekin Tank, founder of JotForm,

We’ve all heard the expression, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.” In truth, we’ve likely all said it at some point. Time management is a struggle for everybody, but especially entrepreneurs, CEOs and founders.

Interestingly, some people seem to get more out of our 24 hours each day than others. As author Idowu Koyenikan said, the key to making the most of our hours isn’t time management—it’s life management. People who do it successfully balance the things they love with tasks they need to complete to maintain a well-rounded, satisfying life.

To-do lists or any one of the countless books on time management can help you achieve this balance, but things will eventually fall apart unless you make a habit of productivity—and stick to it. This might mean writing down your top priorities for the day or week, using a productivity app, or creating a plan that works best for you.

The Truth About Time Management for CEOs

When it comes to time management skills and techniques, business leaders are among the worst offenders. This typically happens because of the nature of leadership positions. These individuals are driven by the feeling that they have to do everything or have all the answers. They’re also responsible for a lot: On average, CEOs work 9.7 hours per weekday and spend 79 percent of weekend days and 70 percent of their vacation days working.

Success doesn’t come from adding countless tasks to your calendar and putting in the longest possible hours, though. It comes from purposeful, intentional work, which means managing your time more effectively so you can focus on what really matters. To get there, business leaders have to reset their time-management expectations.

Simply using productivity tools doesn’t lead to better time management—developing concrete time-management skills does.

How Are You Managing Your Time?

While CEOs and business leaders have countless resources at their disposal, they frequently lack time. Here are four steps to improve your time-management skills and techniques so that you can maximize the time you do have:

  1. Take a time inventory. If you get eight hours of sleep each night, you have 112 hours left each week to tackle your personal and professional tasks. Conduct a “time inventory” to figure out how you’re spending that time. Project management involves setting goals, scheduling, delegating, and making decisions. Attention management refers to your ability to focus on the task at hand; you have to know why you’re procrastinating before you can improve your productivity.
  2. Compare how you thought you spent your time to how you actually spent it. We often think we’re using our time effectively, but that’s not always the case. You might be surprised to see how much time you’re spending on auxiliary tasksthat aren’t contributing to your success. Evaluate how you spend your time, making changes where you see the opportunity.
  3. Identify problem tasks. Figure out the tasks that drain your time the most, taking a moment to explore why they eat up so much time. Do you dread certain projects? Are you distracted? Thinking through the answers to these questions will give you quality insight into what might be keeping you from maximizing those hours.
  4. Pick a strategy and stick to it. Once you know whether a problem stems from project management or attention management (or a little of both), you can approach it with a suitable strategy. Outline long-term ways to move forward that propel you toward productivity and help you improve weaknesses.

To some degree, business leaders are always clocked in; the task list never ends when you’re building a successful business. Strong time management reduces the time spent on tasks that aren’t helping you succeed, allowing you to prioritize activities that benefit you and your business. Reset your expectations for time management and involvement, approach the problem in the right way, and reap the rewards of productivity.

Aytekin Tank is the founder of JotForm, a popular online form builder. Established in 2006, JotForm enables customizable data collection for enhanced lead generation, survey distribution, payment collection, and more.

The post The Truth About Time Management: It’s Not About Time appeared first on Octane Blog – The official blog of the Entrepreneurs' Organization.



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6 Ways To Incorporate SEO While Building A Business in 2020

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There’s no quick fix, or “one and done” solution when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). You have to be prepared to play the long game to see the full advantages of SEO when developing a site — and it’s worth it to see your site rank highly on search engine result pages.

That said, there are some methods that will give you a quick boost. Shift more attention to the most significant ranking factors and tactics that will give your site the ability to rise to the top of the search results this year.

Choose a Responsive Design

User experience is a big deal these days. Google loves to serve its users the best results possible. If your website isn’t easy to use on a mobile device, you’re going to suffer a setback in ranking. Think about it, have you ever landed on a site where you had to zoom in to read the text and scroll side-to-side to read all of the content? This was most likely the desktop version of a website. It was made for larger screens and doesn’t reformat to fit on different screen sizes.

Responsive sites will resize images and reorganize the blocks of content according to the size of the screen. If you want to test whether a website is responsive, open up a web page on a desktop or laptop. From the full screen, shrink the window by clicking and dragging, and you’ll see the sidebars move, the navigation and header will take on new positions and the content and images will line up differently. 

Mobile search volume accounts for more than half of the total searches made online (see chart below). A responsive, mobile friendly site is no longer an option, but a necessity, when it comes to providing an enjoyable user experience.

Create Keyword Clusters

Making a list of keywords that your ideal audience would use to find the content you’re offering will also boost your SEO ranking. Plug each keyword into a keyword tool to generate additional ideas. Assess the best options for keywords to include in your content strategy by grouping them into pools based on search intent. You’ll notice that many of those keyword options will be subtopics large enough to write an entire blog post about, in which you can provide more detailed content optimized for a related keyword.

For example, if you own a home improvement business, a central page on your site would be kitchen renovation. And because there are so many choices to make when renovating a kitchen, you could then go into depth and create a new page for every option, from counter tops and backsplash tile to faucets and refrigerators. When you’re planning your content, structure the website to feature central pages that are optimized for the most central, competitive keywords and most important aspects of your business.

Publish articles on the related subtopics in full detail in order to provide as much information on those major keyword topics, to show your expertise in your field, and to demonstrate authority within the content of your site. Google looks for this as partial evidence of your status as an expert in your niche.

Google also loves when there is a distinct organizational structure. By linking the subtopic posts to your major product pages, you signal what pages are most important to your site by creating a keyword cluster.

Image source: https://webstyleguide.com/wsg3/3-information-architecture/3-site-structure.html

Optimize Your Content

On-page optimization enhances the likelihood of your page being ranked for your target keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing and place your keywords strategically. For instance, use your target keywords in the front end of your titles, and keep your titles under 60 characters or they will get cut off in the search display.

Place your keyword in your URL. The most effective URLs are those that are under 5 words and summarize the title or content on the page. Keywords should also be included in the meta description. Using your keyword in the beginning of the meta description will improve the click-through rate for users. As will placing your keyword within the first 100 words in the first paragraph of your content, and using keywords and keyword synonyms in the subtitles.

Use structured data markup whenever possible. If you can provide a rich snippet, you may get a boost in the position your site is displayed.

Make Your Pages Quick and Nimble

With a heavy emphasis on user experience, page speed can make a huge difference in how your site performs. If you’re an ecommerce site, it becomes extremely important because every second your page takes to load will cost your business money from lower conversions.

 graph-seo-png

 mPulse Mobile Case Study on Page Speed Vs Conversion Rates, Image source: https://digitalducats.com/page-speed/

Test your mobile page speed here. You can improve your site speed by reducing image file sizes, using plugins, and using a content delivery network to give your website additional page speed.

  • To reduce the size of your images use Kraken or Smush.
  • W3 Cache is one of the most popular WordPress plugins that increase page speed, but you can decide for yourself by choosing one from this list.
  • Choose a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to reduce your pages load time from a list of options here.

Get Other Sites to Link to You

Establishing credibility and authority is a necessity to be competitive in search results. Backlinks are a powerful way to prove that your content is credible and authoritative because essentially it is being endorsed by the websites that link to you. But stay away from paid links, or any link scheme used to manipulate ranking in an underhanded way. Unnatural linking will lead to penalties and should be avoided altogether.

One approved method of link building is to become a guest author. There are guest posting sites in every niche and having knowledge about your business is all you need to create an article that can be submitted to a site for publication. It may take a few weeks to get a response, and you may need a few submissions before receiving acceptance. Get into a routine for guest posting to build backlinks as fast as possible.

Ask People to Share Your Content

A social network is a priceless asset for expanding your audience and getting more traffic to your website. Build your network by being active on the social media site that has the most impact on your business.

Install social sharing icons on your site and include a call to action to get the most shares. A retweet study revealed that content with share icons received 4 times as many retweets with the phrase “Please RT”.

Conclusion

Although there is a lot to put together to achieve a first page result, it’s a long-term game plan. Start building your website with SEO in mind to give your site the best chance at the top positions in search results.

 



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Building a product too difficult to use: How signups didn’t translate to active users

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Andrew Kamphey has been involved in the creator industry for more than 15 years. During this time, he has started several projects related to creators and influencer marketing.

This is the story about one of those projects that didn't take off: Creator Growth Lab. We want to know what went wrong, what were the lessons learned, and how those learnings improved the way he tackles new ventures.

How did he come up with the idea to build Creator Growth Lab?🔙

He had a side hustle where he would grow people's Instagram accounts. He got his clients anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 new followers every month. Three years ago, Instagram started announcing policies that he knew would make that method not last. This is a natural thing with growth hacking. First, it works really well. Then something changes and it does not work anymore.

Creator Growth Lab helped Instagram creators to grow by themselves. They could log each day their growth tactics and measure how many followers they gained and their hashtag performance. Every single day you could go to the Lab and see your growth. Then figure out which was the best one. Optimize it and grow more.

How did he build it?⚒️

He had a monthly income from his clients. Every dollar he made, he put into Creator Growth Lab because he wanted to go fast. He quit his job in December 2018. Gave himself a month to mock a prototype. After a month, he realized he couldn't build it fast enough. It was going to take him about a year to figure out how to build it and then three more months to actually build it. He took all the money he had from his agency, and he used it to pay off one designer and one programmer.

He found a designer in Bali. And then he found through a friend, a Vietnamese programmer. His friend became an ad hoc Product Manager and they became a four-person team. It was fast. Within 30 days of working remotely, everything worked exactly how he planned.

What were his key levers to start growing it?📈

Initially, he had a dozen users that were paying him to grow their accounts, who he thought would also use this Lab. They were paying him between $100-$200/month each. It got 50 new user signups in the first month and the next month another 50 user signups.

He used his newsletter to promote Creator Growth Lab to his existing audience and got a dozen signups from that.

He sent direct emails to creators he knew because he had worked in the influencer marketing industry for five years.

What were the biggest challenges he had to overcome?⚔️

Signups weren't a problem. He ended up getting 50 signups per month for four months in a row. The challenge was to get active users. It took a while to get to the aha moment. You needed to use it each day for a week or two weeks before getting the aha moment. That's painful. Users will never get that far.

How did he realize the project was not going in the right direction?📉

Three months after launch, either lucky or unlucky, Instagram cut the number of actions you could do. That killed most growth hacks, but the product still exists. He could keep working on it. But looking back the actual problem was people didn't use it. He made a bunch of videos to explain how to use it. It was very complicated. Users needed to first decide to do growth hacks and then try to optimize them with the app. Not many people know 50 growth hacks.

He had been doing a bunch of automations on his client accounts. All of their actions were literally taken down to zero for 30 days. Within one month, he went from 12 paying clients to none.

He didn't charge them for Creator Growth Lab, it was free to sign up. He would charge later once he figured out who was it for, big mistake.

He did have the idea of Pro Accounts. Initially, it was created for individual users. He talked to a model agency that had thousands of models that were going to pay for using it. Could have been $9,000 a month. Then another person, a growth hacker, wanted to use it to manage 100 accounts. Their clients also left because of the change in Instagram policies.

In the end, how much money did he lose?💰

In total, he paid around $5,000 and never made a penny. The silly thing is that it doesn’t feel like he necessarily lost the money. Because he had been self-funded, never went above his means. Only put money into it he was making through social media.

From all your takeaways he learned from this experience, what advice does he have for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?🗣️

🍂One of the most important things was that he talked to users, but he was not listening to them. He had so much hubris and very little humility because he had been successful at helping people grow for five years.

🍂He went into Creator Growth Lab thinking he knew everything. You don't know anything. Even if you think you know everything you don't.

🍂He spent a lot of time educating creators on why to use the product. Every successful creator will tell you that they grew by making good content. Creators want to create. He had no competitors. No one was trying to do this, that’s a warning sign. It ended up being not needed.

🍂You need to talk with users, not just tell them about your product. It opened his mind. When he gets on the phone with a user he's not teaching them how to use the product. He gets on the phone once or twice a week with his newsletter readers and asks them about what's going on in their life. Just chatting with them.

🍂Your solution might not pan out and doesn't mean your business doesn't work. It doesn't mean you're not successful. It means that solution didn't work out.

🍂Figure out who your tribe is. Find them. If you talk to people for enough time, keep trying different solutions, and keep asking for their problems, you'll figure out a solution. You always have something to learn.

What are your favorite startup resources for makers and entrepreneurs?📚

🍂The Dip by Seth Godin. Winners quit. This book tells you to stop what doesn't work for you. If you work the muscle of quitting you can get to what works faster.

🍂The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. When talking to users, he realized he didn't have to go to them with a solution. He went to them pretending he didn't know anything about their problem and listened to what they had to say.

If you enjoyed it perhaps like or retweet the thread on Twitter

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