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The Question for Small Businesses
One of the biggest limitations that a small business has is access to funding. With that in mind, every dollar has to count when making business decisions. Often, small businesses cannot even consider expenditures that would be taken for granted in other companies.
Therefore, many small or family-owned businesses decide not to invest in project management resources. Despite an abundance of affordable software options, these companies believe that they can’t afford to pay someone to learn how to use them and continue to use them on a regular basis. Will this decision end up costing small companies more money down the line? Or, is this really the best policy and should businesses wait to hire a project manager and look for other solutions instead?
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Project management software solutions are very affordable.In fact, many small businesses may already have licenses for Microsoft Office or other software packages that can be used to plan and oversee projects. In addition, small businesses can use free, online resource management tools, such as Google Docs.For more online resources with low monthly costs, see The Best Online Project Management Utilities.
Adding a project management resource to a small business can also save money in the long run. By paying more attention to the workflow of a project and by analyzing what resources are needed before the project is even begun, financial benefits can be reaped through increased efficiency and improved quality of the final product or service. But do these things really have to be overseen by a dedicated project manager with no other responsibilities?
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Despite the affordability of project management tools, software doesn’t operate itself. At least one person is needed to perform data entry, to produce meaningful reports, and to manage team members. These duties could be assigned to an existing employee, but many small businesses already have all their employees stretched to their limits.
In addition to hiring or reassigning a project manager, other employees will need to be trained on various new duties such as creating status reports and understanding the role of project management in their working environments. Making such changes can cause a lot of reluctance in the workforce, especially for those who already feel overworked and underpaid.
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What’s the Solution?
Small business leaders can sit down to determine how much money and time can be spent on an initial investment in project management. Even if a small business can allocate just 1-2 hours of manpower a week on project management, that’s a start. Begin with something simple such as requiring regular status reports (you can even use Microsoft Outlook for status report creation) and allocate a little bit of time each week for someone to review them. You can even be creative and have the role of the reviewer rotate from week to week so that there is less responsibility placed on any single person and more people will feel involved with the review process.
In short, start small – just like your business.Then, as your small business grows, your project management program can grow with it.