How to get started with OKR for small businesses

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By Tom Murray

When people think of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), they normally associate them with large companies, rather than start-ups and small businesses. But this association is far from the truth, as many small businesses need to make sure that they are pulling in the same direction as larger companies in order to be successful.

If you didn’t already know, then Google itself started with OKRs when it was still a growing small company. So just from that example you can clearly see that OKRs can be incredible useful for small businesses. They can help inspire you to reach your common goal, establish a strong communication strategy and help accelerate your growth as a business. So, here’s how to get started with OKRs.


If you are thinking of using an OKR, then the first thing that you need to do is make sure that everyone on your team knows what an OKR is. If they don’t, then make sure you explain it to them. They need to know what they are, why they are important, and what will be expected of them. Tell your team how OKRs will benefit the company and also individuals. Make sure that they know exactly what good they can do.

Once they know, you can then start writing a game plan (which you should share with your team). It should include things like a timeline for creating an OKR, your organisation’s flow chart (this involves aligning OKRs both vertically and horizontally) and a guide to writing OKRs effectively. This will help you ensure that your OKR is a success, which means that your business will also benefit more from it.

Take OKRs seriously

Once you have decided to use an OKR for your small business (perhaps you’ve decided that Profit OKR is the way forward for you). You need to make sure that you invest as much time as you can in it. Don’t just leave it and forget about it. You need to provide all your attention to it to ensure that it is a success. Of course, this is easier said then done. But there are a few things that you can do to help yourself stay on track.

To make things easier you should make a specific person in charge of the OKR program if you can. Just make sure that your other team members recognise their authority. When people know who is in charge, then it will make running the whole process a lot easier. Just make sure that they track the progress of your OKR as well, as this is a good way to make sure that it stays properly on track.

OKRs are not performance reviews

One of the best ways to make sure that your OKR helps your small business succeed is to make sure that you don’t use them as performance reviews. As a small business, you might not have set up a review system yet and it can be tempting to link achievement of an OKR directly with compensation and decisions. However, this isn’t always the best thing to do.

The reason why this might not be a good idea is because you might find that your team sets less ambitious goals for things or doesn’t do as good a job that they can. Try and set OKRs and performance reviews as separate things, as this will be much more effective for being successful in the future. Of course, there are other ways that your business can be successful, just check out this article here about how to market your business successfully as a solopreneur.


Tom Murray has written for several years, and always enjoys learning about new products that can help benefit any business model. Tom is keen to help people, who are planning on running a successful business, to achieve their dreams.

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