When you started your small scale business, did you feel that you were stepping into the unknown?
All business owners feel the same - nervous yet excited for what the future holds. There are high hopes to see the small business blossom into a successful, revenue-generating enterprise.
But only a few are able to hit the jackpot!
You might have top quality products and services, but all that is futile if your internal processes are broken, employees work in silos, and you have an unsystematic, unstructured approach to getting work done.
This ultimately hampers your business growth, crushing your hopes of turning the small business into a large, profitable organization.
Project management can bring you on the right track. It infuses clarity and transparency in your work processes, making them more structured and streamlined.
This blog sheds light on everything related to small business project management:
- How project management can benefit your small business
- Tips to improve small business project management
Let’s dive in.
How Does Project Management Boost Your Small Business?
There is a common notion that project management is required only for big businesses, mainly because of their large employee count. But that’s not true.
Whether you have 20 employees or 2000 employees, a powerful project management software is essential to work smartly and efficiently.
In fact, project management is indispensable for small businesses, as it helps them achieve organizational goals within budget and with fewer resources than large companies.
If you are unsure of adopting project management for your small business, you will make up your mind once you learn about the substantial benefits it provides.
Here are some of the salient benefits of project management for small business:
1. Delivers Projects Within Budget
Project management is all about planning, organizing, and prioritizing projects so they can be delivered on time and within budget, even when there are limited resources.
Being a small business, you will have to confront various challenges when it comes to managing projects. First and most crucial being budget and second your small team.
With a project management system, you can proactively plan all projects, allocate tasks, and keep track of who is working on what. You can also monitor the number of hours project members spend on a particular project and reallocate resources to a different project if there is a requirement.
Tracking the time and resources invested in projects ensures that you stay within budget and deliver projects according to promised SLAs.
By adopting project management, you can defy all odds and deliver all your projects successfully.
2. Intelligent Insights Into Projects
Being a small business, you cannot afford project inefficiencies.
You need to have a detailed understanding of every aspect of your project, right from its current status and tasks to time spent on projects, due dates, and much more. Besides, a project management tool also gives you a sneak-peek into billing summaries of all your projects.
These actionable insights are instrumental in bringing any gaps and flaws to the spotlight, enabling you to make smarter project decisions. The best part is that you can share reports with your clients using a secure URL.
Clients can view your project reports to get a summary of all your project activities. This makes project progress transparent and increases clients’ trust in your work.
3. Well-Aligned Project Teams
No matter how small your project team is, members need to work in sync with one another. They should be fully focused on your project goals and work collectively to achieve them.
Project management ensures seamless communication and collaboration among team members. It allows easy file sharing and effortless communication via task comments. Commenting on tasks is a great way to discuss project details as well as resolve the bottlenecks right away.
Embracing project management keeps your project members closer, helping them join forces and give their best to the project. With better collaboration in projects, your small business will reap the rewards in the form of higher efficiency, greater innovation, improved problem solving, and overall project success.
4. Project Expense Tracking
With limited financial resources, you cannot afford to ignore a single project expense.
Effective project management enables you to track all the expenses incurred during a project. You can calculate estimated costs and additional expenses, identify discrepancies, if any, generate invoices, and share them with clients in a click.
All your expense sheets, estimate sheets, and invoices can be viewed from a single location, making it effortless for you to keep tabs on how much extra money you are investing in a project, the amount paid by clients, pending bills, and much more.
5. Injects Clarity & Increases Accountability
Things can go haywire, and situations can move out of control if not managed on time.
That being said, it is crucial for the project process to be crystal clear, with everyone well-informed about who is working on what. Even in a small team, there is a high risk of miscommunication and misunderstanding, leading to poor quality, delayed deliverables.
So, whenever a task is not completed on its due date or project progress is hampered, you can simply question the concerned members. No confusion, no blame games!
Effective project management can make this possible. It consolidates all your projects, tasks, and sub-tasks, along with teams working on them, on a single platform. A decent project management system helps you add users and create teams for your projects and define their responsibilities so that nothing is left to chance.
6. Moves Projects From Inception to Completion Seamlessly
You might have the drive and the focus required to lead projects to success.
But, without a proper project management system, you will not be able to channelize your efforts in the right direction.
The process becomes cumbersome, deliverables aren’t on time, and most importantly, project quality goes for a toss.
That’s where effective project management plays its part. It aids you at every stage of the project, right from planning and prioritizing to managing, analyzing, and delivering.
Using a shared calendar, you can plan your project, create tasks and sub-tasks and assign teams. You can even visualize milestones and get real-time updates on every development or change in a project.
This methodology makes even the most difficult projects achievable. Moving from inception to completion, meeting project expectations, and keeping clients delighted - all of this becomes possible even with limited resources.
7. Measures Team Productivity & Prevents Project Failure
You may have two or three teams working on multiple projects, and all these projects are equally important.
While some projects might be running as expected, some might not on the schedule. There is also a possibility that some projects might be of unmatched quality, while others lack on a lot of fronts.
How do you identify the roadblocks? How do you know whether teams are making the required effort, investing time, and working diligently towards assigned tasks?
That’s where the project management system comes to the fore. It helps you closely monitor what each member of your team is working on, the time they spend on each task and project, how speedily they are working, and much more.
This gives you a clear picture of how constructively your team is working. The more efficient and productive your project members are, the better will be the project output.
That was all about how project management can be advantageous for your small business and contribute substantially to its growth.
Let’s now quickly look at the strategies to improve project management for small businesses.
How to Improve Project Management For Your Small Business
Being a small business, you might have witnessed projects going off track and team members losing sight of your ultimate objectives. There are many other bumps that come on the path, leaving your team frustrated, your project hampered, and your clients disgruntled.
Simply adopting a project management system is not sufficient. You need to know how to make the most of it.
Here are some astounding tips to improve project management for your small business.
1. Define Project Goal & Scope
Working on a project aimlessly can be a turn off for your team. At one point, they might lose focus and start taking your project lightly.
Having a clear project goal and determining your project's scope is critical. This should be done at the very beginning before the actual work starts.
While doing so, ensure that you don't end up having a lot of goals, as it can derail your project. Keep it as narrow and focused as possible. Just set one broad goal that you want to achieve by the end of project completion.
Inform your team about it and let them visualize how the final output will look like. This will be a motivation for them to contribute their best.
One goal leading to another goal is a common phenomenon that happens during project management. This is a trap.
You already have a small team and limited resources, which you need to use wisely. In that case, you first need to achieve your current goal and then move on to the next.
2. Develop a Project Plan
Create a project plan that acts as a guiding force for your team. Discuss project expectations, resources available, project budget, and final delivery with your client.
Keeping this in mind, create a smart plan, defining all your tasks, sub-tasks, timelines, and individuals who will be working on the projects. Allocate tasks to all your team members and determine who is responsible for what in the very beginning, to avoid confusion later.
Have an estimate of the total time your project will take and the additional expenses that are likely to be incurred.
This will give your project team greater clarity around all aspects of the project, helping them meet deadlines faster.
3. Monitor Team Performance & Project Progress
For your small business project management to be successful, you need to keep a constant eye on your team’s performance.
Tracking the status of their tasks and the hours they spend on each task will give you a peek into their work style. It will also highlight their priority projects and time management skills.
These insights are also helpful in analyzing the pace at which your project is progressing. Identifying roadblocks gets a lot easier when you have such valuable information at your fingertips. You are then better positioned to make smarter decisions that can boost your team’s productivity and project performance.
Project reports can be of tremendous help here. AI-powered and presentation-ready reports conduct an in-depth analysis of your project activities. Based on the analysis, they present a summary of all your project tasks, due dates, financial summaries, and much more.
4. Keep Your Team Members on the Same Page
Your project management efforts can lead to nowhere if your project members stay disconnected and continue working in silos.
For any project to be successful, it’s critical for your project team to stay well-informed of any updates, changes, or developments in the project. All your team members must work in absolute sync with one another and stay on the same page at every stage of the project.
This enables them to initiate meaningful conversations, give valuable suggestions, and provide much-needed support when team members face any bottlenecks.
For example, a project management tool like ProProfs Project allows your team to share files on the go, communicate with one another via comments, prioritize tasks, and work on projects collaboratively.
5. Assess Projects Post Completion
When you are done and dusted with a project, it is essential to analyze whether the project progressed according to your plan.
Assess the outcome and compare it with the expectations set when the project started. Does it meet those expectations, exceed them, or fails to achieve the standard set?
Keep a count of the total time spent on the project and compare it with the estimated time. Remember to consider all the additional expenses incurred during the project process. Match the estimated cost with the final expenditure and determine the areas that led to an increase or decrease.
Check the time spent on each task to understand if your project is on time or behind schedule.
Do not forget to put your project under the ‘Quality Check’ process. This is crucial to bring existing gaps, flaws, or poor quality work into the spotlight.
6. Manage Users & Streamline Work
No matter if your team is of 10 members or 100 members, no matter if you have two teams or 20 teams, streamlining the project management process is essential.
Your aim should always be to infuse clarity and transparency in your project so that the chances of blame-games among members, disoriented processes, and inefficient workflows are at a minimum.
Suppose you have 20 members in your team. What if these 20 members have no idea about their access rights? With no defined user roles, the situation can turn very chaotic, as anyone can do anything. In such a situation, when things go wrong, you can’t hold anyone accountable.
That’s precisely why you need to manage users. Every member you add to your project should be assigned a particular role, depending on his or her experience, knowledge, or position in your organization.
For example, you can assign roles such as administrator, team manager, project manager, task manager, collaborator, and guest. Every role comes with default permissions, which can be customized.
Besides, you can also:
- Identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses and delegate tasks accordingly
- Understand your team to the core - what every member is proficient at, work styles of team members, focus level of your team, etc.
- Reward top-performers and keep them on their toes always
- Communicate with your team regularly
And, lastly, keep your eye on the doughnut (end goal) and not on the hole (hurdles that come in the way).
Power up Your Project Management & Boost Your Small Business
Being a small business, you have to be on top of everything - marketing, sales, development, etc., to win more customers and make a name for yourself.
Project management is a critical business tool that acts as a catalyst for your growth by channelizing your efforts in the right direction.
Effective project management leads to timely deliverables, super-productive teams, and, most importantly, customer happiness. To improve project management for your small business, you need to set a well-defined project goal and scope, track the team’s productivity and project status, communicate as often as possible, and assess projects once they are completed.
Follow the above game-changing tips, adopt a project management tool like ProProfs Project, and weave a success story for your small business.
Q. How do you handle multiple projects with a small team?
Handling multiple projects can be challenging when you have a small team. In that case, adopting a powerful project management tool is the best way out. It empowers your team to work efficiently on each project, allocate the required time to every task, track progress, collaborate with team members, and much more.
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