When it comes to project management, women who are into small businesses are often at a disadvantage. Often, you do not have a lot of staff to help you. And because you probably do not have tens of thousands of customers, you have less of a margin for error if any part of the project goes awry with one of your valued customers.
In addition, most women who operate small businesses usually have very few employees, if any at all and often they are all engaged in the process of project management. Needless to say, the project management is only one of many responsibilities on their plates, making it difficult to spend much time and effort to write large project plans.
There are several obvious things that owners of a small businesses can do to streamline the process of project management, including the use of technology to their benefit, by being precise in her report, and implementing return channels, automated, to monitor progress.
Below are 5 tips for managing projects in your small business:
Business women, value time - This goes beyond timelines, Gantt charts and project specifications and for more communication with the customer as to how you work and how you will manage the project. If you do not have lots of time to provide frequent updates, they need to know. If you prefer to communicate via e-mail, they should know. Thus, if a client is not comfortable with the way you work, you have introduced it at the beginning and can make additional requirements to the schedule.
Establish a single point of contact for both sides - There is nothing worse than receiving customer information, returns or requests from 3 to 8 or from 25 different people. It is equally bad to have multiple people on your team communicating with the client, that can generate duplication of effort and potentially open the door to confusion. Having a single information channel with one person assigned to communicate with the client and team as a liaison reduces the chances of miscommunication or mediocre performance.
Use your suppliers and subcontractors - Very few good products or services are created by a single person. Outsource. A large majority of small businesses in the United States have only one or two employees, which means that they often rely on suppliers and subcontractors to help them serve their customers. Part of the successful execution of a business is to identify partners who can reliably deliver on their promises, and when you find them, you should not only delegate responsibilities, but also integrate the process of project management, making them responsible for managing their portion of the overall project. Remember, it is as much in their interest as yours to meet deadlines and milestones.
Position your major delivery dates for Monday and never on Fridays - Nobody likes to work weekends. Small businesses are often operating from areas of excess and shortage and sometimes there are weeks where everything happens at once. When these weeks occur, the last thing you want to do is rush to meet a deadline which falls on a Friday. By providing deliver on Monday, you can accommodate for a long weekend from time to time, an more importantly you will not miss the promised deadline.
Always finish a day or two before the deadline; but never deliver in advance - As a small business owner, time is your most valuable asset, you don't want to waste it; plan ahead so that in the event something pops up, you can manage that unexpected occurrence instead of waiting until the last minute to finish a project. In the same way that you often incorporate a margin in the schedules for staff, vendors and customers, you should also build a margin in your schedule. Still, do not deliver early, because you must remember that you establish permanent expectations among your customers and if you start to out delivering in advance, the customer can come to expect you to do the same at every opportunity and you might not always be able to meet that expectation.