If you’re a start-up company, you’ve probably experienced the trials and tribulations of building an online presence. It’s not easy, and sometimes the prospect of water-boarding seems more enticing. Regardless of any way you slice it, it’s going to take some time and effort, but the better prepared you are, the smoother that process can be. I know it may seem like nothing about building an online community is ‘fundamental,’ there are some fundamental processes that will help organization and execution.
Start With Your Goals
If you could sit in on a board meeting of the most successful companies in history, there’s one thing they’ll never have on their list of goals: We’d like to make enough money to buy and sell small countries. Would they like to do that? Of course they would, but when they outline their goals, they focus on exactly how they’ll go about doing that. When you’re setting your goals, the more specific they are, the better. Much of the time when people fail, it’s because they don’t have clear goals. If you’re having trouble defining your goals, use this: S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Great goals have all of these components.
What’s going to let you know you’re meeting your goals? If your goals are sales, that might be easy – an increased in bank account balance. For goals like better customer service, better employee knowledge and others, you might have a harder time defining what ‘positive change’ is. These performance indicators are known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Each company will likely have their own KPIs for their goals, and what works for one, may not work for another. Spend some time thinking about the kind of data you need to collect in order to determine you are making a difference.
Strategizing and Brainstorming
Once you have your goals and your measuring rod, you can start to work on how you’re going to creatively achieve those goals. Start by getting together with your team and putting some ideas on the table. Just as your grade three teacher told you, there are no dumb ideas. Write everything down, and give each idea its own piece of merit. You can go back and cross ridiculous ideas off the list later. Once you’ve got all your ideas down, you can start to flesh out the ones that seem realistic. Think about your budget, your timeline and your resources.
Do the Work
This may seem like a no-brainer, and it kind of is, but how many people plan on doing something and never do it. A lot. All of this planning is useless if you aren’t prepared to follow your plan line for line, dollar for dollar. If you come to a spot in your plan where you can’t continue, then you’ve probably experienced a problem in the planning stage. Go back to your plan and revamp it.
A car that barrels through intersections, pays no attention to streetlights or pedestrians creates chaos. The driver needs to check the speedometer, keep an eye for lights and watch out for people. The driver must evaluate. You’ll need to evaluate your own goals, too. Otherwise, you may just crash and burn. This is where you KPIs come in. Take a look at them. Do the research needed to determine whether or not you’re actually making headway. This is just a crash course in community building, so take the next step and research further.
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