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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 world can’t afford entrepreneurial extinction

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closed businessContributed by Pam Kosanke, global marketing leader for EOS Worldwide.

We’ve seen more than our share of changes in the last six months, but one of the most disturbing has been the rapid disappearance of small businesses. While large corporations consolidate their power (and the stock market rises in response), entrepreneurs are becoming an endangered species. This has widespread implications for our economic future and the health of our world, and we need all hands on deck to reverse the trend.

Most people have no idea how much value entrepreneurs bring to the US economy. Before the pandemic hit, 44 percent of economic activity in the US came from smaller businesses. Since the pandemic, 42 percent of small business owners have reported shuttered operations. 

That’s a recipe for stagnation. Innovation suffocates when the dominant force is an oppressive, controlling government or a handful of monopolistic companies. It thrives when entrepreneurs have the freedom to explore ideas, create innovation and jobs, and change the world. Entrepreneurs—especially minority entrepreneurs—are the key to getting us out of this tailspin. To use a more timely metaphor, entrepreneurs are the economic vaccine that’s going to prevent future illnesses and get us back to health.

Here are three strategies to protect you from endangerment and keep your innovative ideas, jobs and businesses alive and thriving:

1. Put your mask on first—figuratively speaking.

You’ve probably heard it a million times: When you’re leading in any crisis, you need to take care of your primary needs before you can take care of others’ needs.

In terms of navigating the entrepreneurial world during the pandemic, your top priorities should be keeping yourself healthy, positive and motivated. Only then will you have the strength and energy to be empathetic and compassionate to those around you.

Staying healthy includes checking in mentally, too. Ask yourself if you’re truly committed to navigating this crisis as an entrepreneur. Don’t simply ask yourself, “Do I have what it takes?” Make yourself answer the bigger question: “Do I want to do what it takes?” If the answer is “yes,” then it’s time to get moving.

2. Don’t overlook the importance of virtual meeting strategies.

When the world went virtual in early 2020, companies with existing strong meeting strategies transitioned operations online with relative ease. Those without them floundered.

This aspect of entrepreneurship might seem like a trivial detail, but it’s not. Meetings dominate our professional lives. Unfocused and out-of-control meetings chew up everyone’s valuable time and energy, and they can send your business spiraling.

To avoid this, focus on the structure, organization and frequency of all your meetings. Share your expectations and ground rules with attendees before every event. For instance, you may ask Zoom participants to turn off their cellphones and limit distractions. You may also want to make better use of chats, polls and breakout discussion rooms to promote involvement and avoid monopolizing every session.

3. Tap unrealized potential by getting serious about combating racial and social injustice.

COVID-19 isn’t the only disease we’re fighting right now. It’s nice to say that you’re all about inclusivity, but you have to back up your words with actions. Doing so isn’t just “PC” or politically wise. If you want to remain competitive and nimble, it’s the right thing to do and a vital business strategy.

For example, a Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have innovation revenue that is 19 percentage points higher. As an entrepreneur, you need to tap the full spectrum of talent and potential for your business. When you do that, you also fight injustice. A win-win!

One step toward more inclusivity is to rethink your traditional methods of recruitment and hiring, as well as your onboarding processes and policies. Invest in unconscious bias training for yourself and everyone on your team, and use what you learn to make interviews and job descriptions as nondiscriminatory as possible. Then generate an action plan that sets up diversity as a core belief in your organization.

Don’t just talk about equity; live it. You might be surprised to see how many customers (and talented employees) come your way when you align your corporate values with their personal ones.

The silver lining

We’ve never seen this kind of fear, uncertainty or health and economic stress felt around the world simultaneously. But here’s the silver lining: Many entrepreneurs are realizing that the ways they’ve been forced to collaborate and communicate during COVID-19 are actually an improvement. I’ve heard several say, “We should have been operating this way all along.”

Whether you’re already an entrepreneur or are taking the first steps into business ownership, stay the course. The road may be rocky at the moment, but survival isn’t just for the lucky few. It’s for leaders like you with the foresight to acknowledge the changing landscape and pivot with confidence.

At this point, you might be a little tired of hearing, “we’re all in this together,” but it remains true. It’s been a rough year, but we’re all figuring it out together. Now more than ever, we must keep supporting one another and moving forward. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the world depends on it.

Pam Kosanke is the global marketing leader for EOS Worldwide and a Professional EOS Implementer®. She has experience at both the corporate and small business levels and is eager to help entrepreneurial leadership teams and companies learn to champion brand skills, gain more control, and experience real traction in their business.

The post The world can’t afford entrepreneurial extinction appeared first on THE BLOG.



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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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Online commerce runs on copywriting. Here’s how to write unignorable landing page copy

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Here's a copywriting template that works for home pages / landing pages. Check Copy Ipsum to see how it looks.

  1. H1 Headline -> Come up with a good headline. A big idea that hints that here is something your reader really, really wants (and can get from you).
  2. Sub-headline -> For example, you may be selling a SaaS accounting tool, but the big message is: "Peace. Of. Mind." So explain here in clear and simple words what your product does and for whom it does it. And clarify the big claim you made in the headline.
  3. CTA button -> Tell the reader what to do next
  4. Add here logos of your biggest clients. Because social proof gives you credibility.
  5. H2 headline ->Now that you grabbed your reader's attention you need to interest them enough to keep reading. The right way to do that is to write a headline that appeals to their selfinterest. So explain here the consumer problem your product solves.
  6. Body copy -> Because you want to generate empathy. So write from the consumer’s perspective. Avoid jargon. Write with your ears, use the same language your target audience uses. And position your product as the solution to the problem.
  7. H2 Headline -> Highlight the number ONE benefit of using your product.
  8. Body copy -> The ONE BIG REASON to buy your product. Be specific and convince the reader why your product delivers the promised benefit. This should be an emotional benefit like, "how does this product make me feel or look?".
  9. Testimonial -> "Place here a real testimonial from one of your favorite clients."- Client name, CEO at Company Name
  10. H2 Headline -> Give the reader a second reason to buy your product.
  11. Body copy -> And also prove them in some way that your product does what you say it does. This benefit is not as big as your number ONE benefit, but it is reason enough to persuade the reader to buy your product. This should be a functional and specific benefit. Like, "saves you $1,040/year", "Saves You 10 Hours a Week", "Lose 40 Pounds in 30 Days", "Learn how to code in 12 weeks." These are just examples, but you get the point.
  12. Testimonial -> "Place here a real testimonial from one of your favorite clients."- Client name, CEO at Company Name
  13. H2 Headline -> Show why your product is remarkable, and what your readers can do with it.
  14. Body copy -> This should be a benefit to the consumer based on a product feature or a physical characteristic that makes your product special. Highlight specifics— facts, special features or anything the reader needs to know to make a decision. Remember this: In 2001, when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod to the World, he didn't pull it out of his jeans pocket and say, "The iPod. A 5GB MP3 player". He said, "The iPod. 1,000 songs in your pocket."
  15. Testimonial -> "Place here a real testimonial from one of your favorite clients."- Client name, CEO at Company Name
  16. H2 Headline -> Close with a strong call to action persuading the reader to act. For example, if you're selling a SaaS accounting tool a strong call to action is: Restore your faith in accounting.
  17. Body copy -> Remind the reader what's in it for them if they buy your product.
  18. CTA button -> Tell the reader what to do now.

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