In the fast-paced environment of a growing startup, it can be confusing as you adjust the KPI’s and processes to better fit your business’ needs, but with proper planning, the transition can be smooth and exciting.
While setting the right KPI’s for your business is one of the most important parts of growing your startup, it is much less intimidating than it seems.
To start, you’ll need to identify the long-term goals of your business, including your brand mission. Now, define quantifiable metrics that will help you reach those goals. It’s important not to be narrow-minded here and to consider a variety of factors that affect your goal. For example, if your goal is to sell more product, then metrics could include website visitors and loyalty accounts created, not just sales.
The next step is to identify where you currently are in that metric, and identify where you want to be. Once this is determined, set both a frequency of how often this KPI will be measured and who will be in charge of overseeing its success.
Quantifiable - they should be easy to identify and measure progress
Attainable - they should be realistically within the reach of your team
Focused - they should be obviously tied to the success of your goals
Simple - they should be easy for any team member to understand
Timely - they should stay relevant with current times, and be open to change
Once your KPI’s are in place, they give teams a sense of greater purpose and a tangible goal. It’s important to monitor and report on KPI’s regularly and transparently, keeping your team in the loop of the progress as it's achieved.
With growth comes more employees, more customers, and more responsibilities. With all of this “more”, things often get cluttered and lost in the fast-paced environment. Process management is key to fulfilling your KPI’s and reaching your goals efficiently.
To start, define what processes you already have in place. Whether it be marketing, order fulfillment, brand strategy, or customer relations, processes are everywhere in a business. For each process, define a goal that aligns with the broader company goals, and set specified KPI’s for that particular process.
Now, the next step is planning out the process and mapping out every step. This can be visualized easily in a flow chart, where each action is connected with the actions that precede and follow it. It’s important to focus on communication in process management. Often, the most problematic areas are when different teams or groups work together, but both have different ways of doing their job. In the chart, find those areas where different teams communicate and set up clear process steps that allow them to seamlessly hand the work off between teams while keeping a consistent standard.
This is also the area to focus on slimming down and speeding up. Identifying unnecessary steps, loopholes, and redundancies smooth out the kinks in the workflow. Operational efficiency is the goal here, allowing easy collaboration and a simple-to-follow guideline for every process in the company.
With processes drawn up, it’s time to implement and test them. As you see results, it’s important to measure the process’ KPI’s and identify potential bottlenecks or areas with room for improvement. Process management isn’t a one-and-done thing, it takes testing and revision.
While it can seem intimidating, implementing great process management strategies into your startup not only improves efficiency but breeds self-reliance. Your business should eventually reach the point where operational processes are sustainably fulfilled and management can focus on growth and leadership.
As you set KPI's and improve processes, ensure the information is easily accessible for all employees with clear documentation. Communication of the big picture as well as the detailed processes are essential to productivity. With effective KPI’s defined, and clear processes set, internal operations can sail much more smoothly, allowing you to focus on steering the ship.