If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year and four months, it’s that anything can happen when you own a business. Things don’t always go the way you expected and life always finds its way through the cracks of your business foundation. Everyone goes through growing pains when starting a business, so there’s no need to try to win the spring when you’re competing in a marathon. Be as patient as possible throughout the entire life cycle of your business and know that most of the bumps in the road quickly fade into the rearview mirror.
The purpose of this blog is to help young entrepreneurs, like myself, understand that success takes time. I’ve written this from a project management perspective based on my experience owning and managing a digital marketing agency in 2018 for a year and 4 months.
Initiating a project can be super fun, but also be the route to a businesses failure in the future. It’s very easy to get excited and not set realistic expectations and goals during the initiation phase. It’s important to develop a quality team and create a base identity through a series of project documents, mission, and vision statements. You need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are you going to sell or provide?
- Is there a market for this service or item?
- If so, who is your target market?
- Can you financially sustain the initial start-up costs?
It’s important to execute a risk analysis early on so all project stakeholders are aware of what they’re getting themselves into. A risk analysis can also give a sense of what it will take not to fail in the long-term. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect your business to be.
If you find that there’s too much risk involved, then it may not be the best time to start the project. If you find yourself in this situation, no need to feel defeated or panic, just be patient and you’ll know when it’s the right time to initiate the project again.
I would say that planning your project and strategizing your business development is the most important stage in the life cycle of any project. It’s during this critical phase that the project team sets deadlines, financial goals, and creates some type of work breakdown structure. The following needs to be identified during this phase:
- Who’s responsible for what actions?
- How long does it take to turn these actions into deliverables?
- How much does it cost to perform these actions to turn them into deliverables?
After answering those 3 questions, you can then begin to strategically plan your project with your team. It’s very important to document this entire process to reference throughout the entire project life cycle. Documenting your project planning saves time, money and effort.
It’s important to be very patient during the planning phase. Listen to what your project team has to say, don’t rush deliverables to ensure quality, and be patient with yourself. It’s important not to breakdown during the planning phase so you have the capacity to execute your plans without getting anxiety before the project even starts.
Executing a project relies on clear communication. Because we live in such a technological society, this precise communication needs to to be delivered both verbally and digitally, in writing. If project plan details slip through the cracks, the project could fail early on in the execution phase of the life cycle.
Be sure to be patient when communicating project information. Do not rush when your talking, writing, or typing. It’s important that the message is clear, concise and direct at all times. Always be open to answering questions or becoming more hands on to cultivate the relationship with the client early on and lead by example to open the channels of creative and technical communications.
You will also need to be patient when your project team or stakeholders are communicating information to you. Not everyone will have the communication skills that you have. It’s also easy for the most important subjects to get misconstrued in an email, direct message, or text. Make a habit to communicate over the phone or face to face and then memorialize your conversations in writing.
Closing or carrying out an on-going project can be tough, which is why you’ve documented every move you’ve made, communicated the project plan to all stakeholders clearly, and remained patient. You never know if a project is going to close successfully, so it’s important to take each step of the project life cycle page seriously and keep meticulous records of conversations, email communications and financial documentation.
Again, patience will be a key ingredient when closing or sustaining a long-term project life cycle. Don’t rush closing a project and don’t jump the gun on moving forward with an on-going project without making sure your work ensures quality and you have your bases covered. What step of this process do you think is most difficult or do you find you struggle with most?