Running Blogtec for multiple years, had me think a lot about strategy and trying different systems for that. For a few quarters, we’re now using a system that’s working well for us. The system is oriented by how Airbnb used to do it. To learn more about that, I can recommend this source.
Getting Started 📄
Every quarter, we sit together with the team to plan what we want to achieve and focus on next quarter. The whole management team is involved in this.
In the end, your strategy will have three layers:
Goals: Measurable key goals of the quarter, e.g. “10.000 EUR revenue” and “400 new users”.
Focuses: Focuses to achieve these goals, e.g. “Try new acquisition channels” or “Improve customer onboarding”.
Key Initiatives: Key initiatives are the key projects of a focus. For “Try new acquisition channels” that could be “Run 5 podcast ads” or “Go to in-person event XX”.
Before starting to build the strategy, you need to create a “Strategy Paper”. This paper will be the working document for the team doing the process, and later on shared with the entire company. I suggest Notion or a similar tool, so you can make comments and discuss inside the document.
Step 1: Setting the Goals 🏆
Creating the strategy always starts with the goals. This can be one to three goals, while I usually prefer 2. The first goal for me is always the revenue because this is what matters in the end. Depending on your bottlenecks, you can add additional ones, e.g. new paying customers, churn rate, or profit.
Important is that the goals are measurable. During the quarter, we review our goals every week and see if we’re on track. If we want to acquire 29 new customers this quarter, that means around 2 customers per week. Therefore, we review every week with the leadership team if we are on track or not. The goals are set by the CEO of the company; however, you can get advice and opinions from others.
Step 2: Deciding on Focuses 🔎
Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to create focuses. This happens together with your leadership team. What you should do is share your goals with them and then have them come up with focuses.
It’s also fine to already add initial key initiatives, so key projects that are crucial for those focuses, as well as key initiatives that do not fit to a focus yet. Even if it sounds a bit contra productive, some focuses start out as key initiatives, plus already seeing some initiatives behind the focuses helps to pick them.
After everyone added their suggestions, you should decide on 4-8 focuses together with your leadership team. I usually go with 4-6, but it depends on how you structure it and how big your company is.
Step 3: Choosing Key Initiatives 🚀
Once the goals and focuses are decided, it’s time to finish the key initiatives. Share the decided goals and focuses with your team (here you can also invite more team members) and have them come up with initiatives.
Afterward, you prioritize the key initiatives with your leadership team. From my experience, it helps to have a “Head of Growth” person included as well. If you don’t have one in your company, you could get an external consultant.
Step 4: Finalize and Share 📣
Once the key initiatives are done, your strategy is complete, and it’s time to share it with your company. Schedule a meeting with the entire company and present your goals, focuses, and key initiatives for the next quarter. Also, make sure to explain why you chose your focuses and initiatives.
I suggest that you start the meeting with quickly sharing your company’s vision and values. This way, you have a constant flow that ensures that your entire company is always aware of your vision, values, and strategy. This has a significant effect on your team’s motivation! That everyone knows where your company is going helps to create focus, as everyone can ask himself, “is what I’m doing right now fitting what my company wants to achieve?”.
Setting the right strategy is crucial for a company to succeed. I struggled with this for a long time until we started using our current system. However, executing the strategy and not losing focus is just as important. To learn more about how to master that, I will share an article about that soon.