The Project Management Problem for Small Business Owners

Project Management Problem for Small Business Owners

As an entrepreneur, I’m familiar with just how many great ideas you have for your small business.  The ideas that pop into your head in the shower…during meditation…on a long walk…while having dinner with the family.

The next great idea for a product or service that’s going to make you successful. Put your business on the map. Make you a respected expert in your field.

Am I right?

One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is turning all of these great ideas into reality.  As an entrepreneur, you’re often the only one working on your business.  Or you might have a limited amount of help. There certainly isn’t a team who you can gather together to take your idea and trust to make it happen without any further personal investment.

And there’s nothing more frustrating than the awareness of all of these great ideas that just aren’t moving forward. Or that do begin to move forward but then *POOF* the whole thing falls apart after all that effort and you aren’t sure why. Or you do finally finish putting your great idea together, launch it into the world, and then it isn’t well received by your customers.

There has to be a better way.

When I listen to clients, especially those who worked in corporate jobs before embarking out on their own, talk about the problems they think are at the root of why these ideas don’t turn into business success, I hear a lot of buzz words:

  • I just don’t have the right systems in place
  • I need better structure for my business
  • I’m just not good at project management

But what does that all really mean?  And is it really where the challenge lies? I don’t think so.

When I started writing this post, I googled ‘project management for small business owners’ and ‘project management problem’.  I wanted to see what was out there, and the search results confirmed my suspicions.

Even many of the experts just talking about these surface-level solutions.

The problem isn’t having the right project management software.  It’s not figuring out the resources to have more financial capital behind the idea. Or more human capital.

So What’s the Real Project Management Problem for Small Business Owners?

The real project management problem for small business owners is at a foundational level.  It’s the forgotten step between

I have a great idea!

and

Rushing to implement before it’s too late…or before you forget about it…or to finally find the product/service that’s going to transform your business.

It’s a forgotten step that doesn’t appear on workflow diagrams, gantt charts or in that fancy project management software you bought.

The project management problem for small business owners is about not taking the time up front to pause, take a breath, and really look at the idea to make sure it’s right for your business.

As you consider whether or not ‘a great idea’ is really ‘a great idea for my business’ next step’, it’s important to ask yourself:

  • how does this idea connect to the purpose of my work?
  • what business goal does this idea help me to accomplish?
  • do I have the capacity to lead this idea to completion?
  • what is my vision of success for this idea?
  • how does this idea serve my clients or customers?
  • who needs to be involved to make this idea a reality?

All of these questions need to be answered before you can proceed to figuring out how the idea is going to be executed, by who, and on what timeline.

When you take the time to answer these questions for yourself, it can help you to:

  • see clearly whether or not your great idea is in fact a great idea for your business at this time
  • understand how your idea helps to move your business forward
  • recognize how your idea supports your clients or customers

It can also help you to see how the idea is a great one…but maybe not for your business at this time.

With this clarity, you can choose to move forward into making your great idea manifest – figuring out the steps needed to turn the idea into reality, by who, and what the timeline is – with greater connection and alignment to your business purpose.

This, in turn, creates greater energy and commitment to getting the work done, doing it well, and ensuring it connects with your client or customer’s greatest needs.

You can use the questions I shared above as a guide every time you have a great new idea. If you’d like to dive more deeply into project management done the Genuine Contact Way, you can also join me next week for our free monthly interactive training.

It’s called Holistic Project Management for Small Business Owners: How to Actually Turn Your Ideas into Reality While Staying Connected to Your Vision and Values. You can learn more and register (for free!) here.

Rachel Bolton
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Senior Consultant and Coach

Rachel Bolton is a senior consultant and coach specializing in work with small business and start-ups at Dalar. She works internationally with small business leaders as a mentor and coach, with a focus on assisting small businesses to build a solid foundation for optimal growth from a clear and inspired purpose, strategic vision, and appropriate structure for the business’ development.
Rachel Bolton
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  1. Tushar
    | Reply

    Hi, thank you for this post very informative useful information about project management problem for a small business I agree with your point that The real project management problem for small business owners is at a foundational level. It’s the forgotten step between I have a great idea! and Rushing to implement before it’s too late, Great piece of article

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