The ability to effectively manage and keep track of long-term company goals is one of the most critical factors contributing to a young startup’s success. Doing so successfully however is more difficult than one might imagine, especially considering the numerous obstacles and opportunities for distraction that arise during the course of scaling a business.
Startups that are doing well are often tempted into taking more projects than they can realistically manage, taking energy and resources away from existing clients and undermining its ability to retain its customer-base. For startups that are underperforming on the other hand, worrying about the company’s long-term trajectory can seem irrelevant compared to the day-to-day struggle of simply staying afloat.
We spoke with five startup founders and asked what their best advice was for achieving long-term company goals, here’s what they had to say.
1. Maximize Routes
The current best strategy that seems to be working for us at this stage is to maximize the number of routes that can get us from point A to point B. Plus added buffer time for unexpected detours and road blocks. With this strategy from the get go you know there is no one way guaranteed to get you to your long term goals. At the same time if the best option out of the non-ideal options you have taken ends up having bigger potholes than anticipated you can still count on the buffer time to fix whatever needs fixing as you keep charging ahead.
– Wallen Mphepo, Ishuu
2. Define The Outcome
- Define 1-3 year goals annually
- Track quarterly goals by department lead as they align to annual/long-term goals
- Capture weekly status reports from project leads to see how quarterly goals are progressing
- Establish KPIs that matter (zendesk, conversion rates, etc), and integrate them into quarterly goals
In essence, define the outcome initially (1-3 year goals), then drive optimization around the near term, weekly or quarterly, goals so that you can define performance and ensure you have legit results to define how you are tracking.
– Rick Rodgers, Sproutfield
3. Explicit & Simple
Keep your long terms goals explicit, simple, and ambitious. Your short term goals will inevitably shift but the long term goals should act as the North Star to keep you focused in times of doubt.
– Cameron Mclain, Challenge.Me
4. Involve The Entire Company
Goals are easy. Execution is where companies fail. Long term goals require long term execution of everything about the company, starting from product, positioning, promotion, sales, and support. Have your management meetings constantly remind managers about their area of responsibility towards the goal.
– Ken Rhie, Trumpia
5. Record Keeping & Status Meetings
A mixture of detailed and consistent record keeping combined with frequent status meetings with our core team. This process has worked very well for ExactDrive. We have had a lot of success utilizing Hubspot’s new CRM product for record keeping and goal tracking while bi-monthly core team meetings has helped us make sure we know which goals have been achieved versus needing more work applied.
– Tim Nichols, ExactDrive