Top 10 Project Management Tips for Small Businesses
Being a small business owners, most of the times, you don’t have adequate staff or resources at hand. Not only does this make it more difficult to accomplish your goals, but it can also mean that vital daily tasks can fall through the cracks. With a small business, it is all the more important that each part of the team knows what to do. Before you know it, sales are sub-par, employee training is nonexistent and vital raw materials can’t be accessed. Missteps like these can sink a small business fast.
Fortunately, effective project management can benefit any size operation; so even small businesses can work smarter – not harder. Project management provides a structured framework to plan for a project’s success. Whether you’re trying to ramp up production, streamline service offerings, or launch a new brand, project management can help your small business improve operations and reach its goals.
Here are ten ways to improve a small business through project management.
Ten Project Management Tips to Improve Your Business
- Define the Objectives – Clarity is important throughout the project. So first, carefully define the objectives. What is the goal for the new product launch? What do you want the employee training initiative to accomplish? Defining the objectives ensures that everyone involved knows what they’re working toward.
- Take Time to Plan – Once the objectives have been defined, create a step-by-step plan to take the project from inception to completion. Create a budget, a schedule and a procedures document. The latter should illustrate how the team will manage things like risk, scope expansion, potential problems and quality control.
- Work the Plan – Now it’s time to get started by implementing the steps and procedures you’ve generated. Do note that a project is a living, changing thing, and won’t always proceed exactly as planned. It’s important to regularly review the plan. Assess progress, and update it as needed.
- Assign Tasks Wisely – Determine who will make the project happen, including staff members, owners, vendors, customers, and financial or legal partners. Decide who is best suited to each task that needs to be completed. Find the skills gaps and fill them with appropriate personnel.
- Establish Milestones – Identify dates throughout the project by which major steps are to be completed. Milestones help keep everyone motivated and accountable.
- Leverage Outside Relationships – Work closely with vendors, financial partners and freelance contractors to help bring the project to completion. Finding reliable partners and nurturing these relationships are often vital for small business growth and profitability.
- Call in the Experts – When the situation demands it, bring in an expert for a particular aspect of the project. It’s usually worth it in the long run.
- Manage Risk – Instruct everyone on the project to watch for and report any risks that threaten the project – whether or not they can be controlled. It’s not always possible to have a contingency plan for every unexpected event, but by being aware and ready to react, you can stay ahead of them.
- Communicate – Make sure that everyone involved in a project – from staff members to clients, outside partners to vendors – are kept in the loop. Provide the information needed for decisions to be made, and status updates to everyone affected by the project.
- Learn the Lessons – Every project is an opportunity to learn and do better next time. After the project is completed, conduct a “post-mortem” with all team members to determine what went well, and what went wrong. Try to get to the “why,” as well. Document your findings and use them in planning your next project.
Leverage the Benefits of Project Management for Small Businesses
Large corporations routinely use skilled project managers to lead the projects that fuel their growth and profitability. Project management can also be used by small businesses to plan and execute any sized initiative. Try using these ten easy tips to make all of your small business projects go more smoothly and accomplish your business goals.
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This is a guest post was by Erin Palmer. Erin is a writer and editor for Bisk Education. She writes about topics such as PMP preparation. Erin can be reached on Twitter @Erin_E_Palmer.