Why Founders Should Manage Expectations Before Managing KPIs


A new challenge has bloomed for founders and managers in the Covid-19 era–how do they set key performance indicators (KPIs) for the years ahead? 

The start of a new quarter prompts common questions from senior executives across Asia: What are our revenues and sales targets? How do we achieve our intended goals?

These same decision makers are now being forced to answer an alternative set of questions: Which staff do we retain, furlough, or layoff? Will our funding dry out? How much further will our revenues drop?

We identified three fundamental areas where decision makers need to direct their attention over the coming 12 months, in order to set the stage for KPIs to create positive outcomes.

Staff retention

Employees are the foundation of any company. A study by Radford Global Technology revealed that the technology sector has a 15% voluntary turnover rate. With the impact of recent events, businesses across Asia–especially startups–are seeing layoffs as high as 50% of the workforce.

The first KPI any company should focus on over the next year is to maximize stability by reducing turnover. In order to develop and execute any KPIs, a stable, motivated team is the be-all and end-all. 

Take this time to reassess your company mission, values and culture, and secure the best talent who are both motivated and capable of helping the company deliver on overall business expectations.

Client retention 

A report by Startup Genome, a research and policy advisory organization found that globally, 65% of startups have less than six months of runway–most will face a double-dip recession, with sales dropping up to 80% depending on the vertical. 

To counter this trend, businesses must pivot and look at new opportunities while cutting costs on a long-term basis and optimizing their geographical presence.

In order to build KPIs for future growth, take this time to understand your clientele and the problems they face. Identify trends that may become the norm in years to come, then revisit your business model and ask yourself what changes need to be made to adapt to these trends. 

Whether these changes are small, large, or none at all, taking the time to understand your target audience’s future needs could be the difference between a solid foundation for future growth and sales-building, or a continued decline into inevitable failure.

Build KPIs from the bottom-up, not from the top-down

Businesses could have anywhere from half a dozen to hundreds of KPIs. We advise founders to get back to the basics, and focus on the following four functions: sales, marketing, management, and finance.

  • Most KPIs are not targets to be looked at blindly; understand the underlying purpose of a KPI, and you will understand an overarching pain within the business.
  • Start small, and divide and conquer. Focus on three KPIs you know you can achieve, and use that achievement to propel yourself forward into the more difficult tasks.
  • Not all KPIs can be hit–focus on what you can control. Most KPIs are aspirational, so you don’t need to break your back trying to meet every single expectation. Find out the pains of the business and try to align yourself the best you can to hit the KPIs.
  • Lastly, think outside the box. While we adapt to the new normal, digitization and work from home are top-of-mind for most firms. Take the time to establish new measures of performance. 

Always remember the innovators who identify and double down on new trends will prevail.

William is the CEO and Founder of Konsyg and Manni is a serial entrepreneur. 

About the Authors

William is the CEO and Founder of Konsyg, an on-demand provider of sales services for tech companies. He began his career as a Media Relations Manager for Wai White Dragon, a publication for Shanghai’s elite. Since then, he has held roles in education, marketing, and business development, most recently as APAC Knowledge Manager for Google, and Director of Sales at TradeGecko.


Manni Sidhu is a serial entrepreneur who has lived and worked in seven countries across four continents. He started his career in F&B with the rights to expand Nando’s Chicken, and has since worked in consulting and fintech before co-founding Coleegs, a PR company powered by technology that helps businesses get media coverage in top-tier publications across the globe. 



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