In Atlanta Ventures portfolio and accelerator companies, we are big believers in having and following a quarterly One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP). One of the parts of the OPSP is the quarterly goals. These are the numbers and KPI’s section of your plan. Of course, SMART goals are important, but this post isn’t about what the goals are. Instead it’s about how many of them you have. Our preference is that you have as few as possible. Here are the top goals we like for Year 1 of a startup. Usually startups should choose 3 to 4 of these.
- A Revenue or Users Goal– if you aren’t charging yet, a simple goal of how many users are on the product. If you are charging, then MRR is the no-brainer goal to focus on.
- A Product Goal– this is typically a product utilization goal (how are the users maximizing what your tool can do for them), but can also be development goals (number of springs with 100% completion, etc..)
- A Marketing Goal– web site visitors, twitter followers, demo signups, whitepaper downloads, etc..
- A Culture Goal– be creative with this one: X service projects completed together, raise money for a non-profit, run a half marathon together
When you set these goals, one of them should be explicitly stated to be THE most important goal of the quarter. Typically this is the revenue or number of users goal.
I know that some folks challenge having a revenue goal when you’re funded, saying that getting free users is more important to the value of your company. That may be true if you’re Twitter, but I don’t know any Twitters in Atlanta. In Atlanta, to make this thing take off, you need revenue. So focus, and go get it.
Woops, I digressed… I promised not to talk about WHAT the KPI’s are, yet I couldn’t resist getting that plug in for my favorite KPI.