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Project management: a growth tool for small businesses

Have you missed important deadlines? Do you run over budget often? Then it may be time to employ some project management techniques to help you keep on schedule and to budget and grow. Project management will help to allocate the right resources to a project and keep track of how you are progressing through your projects. Here are six steps to follow to grow your business through project management.

STEP 1: Identify the different functions in your business

You need to identify the functions your business needs to do to complete its day-to-day tasks. For example, your small business needs to take care of its production. Depending on the type of business you have, these functions may look different but for a company which produces a product, you will need to look at making the product, packaging the product, marketing the product and potentially couriering the product. Each of these functions has specific processes. You will need to look at the functions in each department of your business.

STEP 2: Review the processes for each function

Now that you have identified the functions in each part of your business. You need to review the processes that are in place. Even though you may have processes which work, they may be clumsy and you could be losing money because of a process which is not optimised. The Mindtools article on improving your business processes offers some good questions to use when you review your processes. They are:

  • Where do team members or customers get frustrated?
  • Which of these steps creates a bottleneck?
  • Where do costs go up and/or quality go down?
  • Which of these steps requires the most time, or causes the most delays?

You should also get your employees involved in the process to comment on what they like and dislike about the process and how they think it could be improved. By involving your employees you will improve the adoption of the new process.

STEP 3: Choose a project

Now that you know what you need to improve you can create a project to deal with the changes.

Firstly you need to make sure your project is focused. There may be many different parts to the problem but ensure you focus on one item per project. For example: if you were working on the rebranding of your company: the first project you may work on is designing a new logo and brand colours. This might highlight that you will need to change all your digital and non-digital collateral. But you should make this a second project and not add it to the first project. Your project should have a start and end date.

STEP 4: Allocate resources

Now you need to allocate the resources you have available to the project. If you don’t have the resources in-house then you will need to recruit outside help and this might come with a price tag. You need to make sure the price is within the budget that you have defined for the project.

STEP 5: Track the project

One cause of projects failing is that there is miscommunication within the team. By using a project management tool like Asana or Trello, you can ensure everyone is on the same page with the project. You can also check and see how the project is progressing and what potential problems may occur.

STEP 6: Review the project

When you have completed the project you need to review what was a success and what was unsuccessful. This will help you to make tweaks for the next project you wish to tackle to help your business grow from strength to strength.

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