A business may be started for many reasons: to pursue a passion, provide a service, or to just work for yourself instead of someone else. The main distinguishing purpose of a business, versus a charity or a hobby, is to make money.
What is the purpose of a project? The purpose of the project is to get things done. Not just the everyday routine things, but a something new. Of course, everyday routine tasks get things done. So how is a project different? A project transforms an idea into reality and has a definite beginning and end.
A small business might think of projects as jobs, contracts or other initiatives. Projects are a temporary endeavor to CREATE PRODUCTS, PROVIDE A SERVICE, or create a DESIRED CONDITION.
There are a few benefits to a successful project:
(1) profits increase
(2) the business grows
(3) stress diminishes
Three desirable outcomes to a successful project that every business owner desires.
It seems easy enough. Just come up with an idea and then get it done. Who has time to think about managing this project? It may be tempting to just go for it but projects are change processes, and with change comes opportunity but also risk.
Even if the project creates the change it was intended to, will it be worth the investment put into it? What if it costs more and is less effective than initially anticipated?
A project needs to be managed. Actively managing a project reduces the risk that either the project will not be successful or will not be profitable.
Project management is important, even to a small business, but a small business does not have the resources that a large company does to hire a professional project manager and create the extensive structure and documentation that a larger business does. This does not mean that a simplified version of the standard project management tools cannot be used to increase the success of a small business project.
Since one of my goals with this blog is to help local business with their projects I will be taking a look at project management tools to try and simplify the concepts so that they can be applied to a small business.
Do you have a small business or have you assisted a small business with their projects? What tools have you used to adapt the process to a small businesses needs? What have you found is different about managing a project for a small business versus a large one?