|Small Business Information|
Operating Your Small Business ? Everything Really Is a Project
Do you operate your business as a series of projects, using project management tools and skills to advance your projects from conception to completion? Or perhaps you're new to project management tools and skills and haven't considered applying them to your own business? Most of us fall somewhere in between.
Running a productive and efficient business, whether for one person or for 500, is a series of projects of various sizes and complexity.
For example, here are some projects a typical solopreneur may have:
-- Creating/upgrading your business identity (logo, stationery, biz cards, etc)
-- Creating/upgrading your web site
-- Setting up or upgrading your computer equipment
-- Setting up or reorganizing your filing system(s) whether computer-based or paper-based
-- Doing your tax reports
-- Creating your marketing referral engine
-- Creating passive-income revenue streams (teleclasses, ebooks, e-classes, white papers, reports, etc)
If you aren't using project management tools and skills to run your business, your productivity is suffering.
Now, if you don't have a full client/work load, then perhaps you don't think this is an issue you need to be concerned with right now. May I offer to you the suggestion that the time to increase your efficiency and productivity with new tools and skills is precisely when you don't have all the clients or work you want or need?
Learning something new like this helps keep your enthusiasim charged, which spills over into your marketing activities, which helps engage your prospects in your business. It's all good.
So where do you start?
I recommend that my clients start by using TraxTime, a little PC computer program available inexpensively at www.spudcity.com.
TraxTime allows you to setup projects or clients and then track the amount of time you are spending on that project or for that client. You can run reports (which are great for attaching to your invoices) of how much time you've spent by day or by week.
TraxTime functions like a little time clock you just punch in and punch out of the various projects and clients as you move from project to project throughout your day. When you get in the habit of using TraxTime, you'll find you can then analyze how/where you are spending your time quite the eye-opener for many solopreneurs. (Where you actually are spending your time can be quite different from where you think you are spending your time. And in the soloprenuering business, time is our most critical resource.)
Once you get the hang of tracking your time, you next use this history of how much time it takes for you to perform certain tasks and projects to begin forcasting the time you will spend on upcoming projects and tasks.
For forcasting, task dependency identification, and scheduling, I use an Excel spreadsheet in its most basic text-only format. I identify all the tasks in a project and enter them into the spreadsheet in column 1 in the order (from top to bottom) of how they must be completed. Then I use the cells across each row to specify the due dates (via time allocated). I reserve the last column of the spreadsheet for recording notes of special circumstances or decisions that have or will affect that task. And I use color to highlight those cells where tasks are critical (yellow) or off-schedule (red). Works great for most solopreneuring projects.
I've used this method for projects as complex as requiring me to track the work of 12 subcontractors, so I know it works. (Yes, I've used Microsoft Project. I find it too cumbersome to setup and manage for most projects performed by solopreneurs. But if you already know/use it, please continue.)
No matter which project management tools you use in your business, do start thinking like a project manager and setting up, tracking, and running your business as the series of projects it really is.
Copyright 2004, Rose Hill, Inc
Rose Hill, Founder and Owner,of Biz Whiz Expert (http://www.SoloBizVille.com) and Team Member of Solo-E.Com (http://www.Solo-E.Com) has been self-employed since 1990 - first as a technical writer and publications project manager, and now as a business coach for solopreneurs.
Knowing how to run corporate departments and how to market corporate entities, products, and services did nothing to prepare her for successfully running and marketing a one-person business. That is why Rose created the SoloBizVille and SoloBizU community - to specifically to help solo entrepreneurs jumpstart their business success without all the trial-and-error learning.
*********** Find more articles like this at http://www.Solo-E.com ? Keeping Solo Entrepreneurs Juiced in Business and in Life. Our team of Solo Entrepreneurs are comprised of small business experts who support others in finding business success with the flexibility and freedom to have a life, too. Network with other freelancers, self-employed and Solo Entrepreneurs in our forums, enjoy our articles and newsletter, and find other online training opportunities. ***********
Top 10 Record Keeping Mistakes Business Owners Make (and How To Avoid Them)
If you interviewed business owners of failed businesses, a majority will tell you that they didn't understand or feel comfortable dealing with the "book work". Your ability to understand and perform day to day accounting tasks in your small business is a critical success factor. Here are some tips to help you avoid the most common mistakes business owners make.
Small Business Spoiler - Procrastination
One of the most common issues that comes up for business owners is procrastination -wasting time, putting obstacles in the way of taking action towards goals, making excuses for delays, creating confusion/busyness etc. Procrastination is a self-defeating behavior.
Small Business Mistakes: Are You Making Enough of Them?
That's right are you making enough mistakes in your business? Some of you are probably annoyed at my question; others are thinking "Geez, Rose! If I made any more mistakes I'd have to run screaming back to a day job!"
Hispanic Small Business Advantage
One thing I have noticed in my travels to different markets is that Hispanic Small Business Owners have a very distinct advantage. They are friendly and very involved in their communities. Hispanic Business Men and Women are very socially active and if you look at their incredible unity, there is nothing slowing down this Hispanic Middle class from becoming upper classmen. They are incredible relationship builders and smart and savvy business people. Just look at the number of organizations propelling their simultaneous hard work ethics:
Lack of Vigilance Can Harm the Bottom Line
The easiest way to lift profits is to cut the fat out of costs.
Why the Over Regulation on the Franchising Model?
Franchising is the fastest way to build small businesses, provide jobs, create money flows. Currently the Federal Trade Commission wishes to increase the over regulation on the franchising sector. The way the Federal Trade Commission conducts itself provides little incentive or allows few new entrepreneurial companies to merge from the ashes to become the next Wendy's Hamburger, McDonalds, Duncan Donuts, Century 21, KFC, Dominos Pizza, Midas Muffler, etc. Why? What are we really saying here? More complicated laws slows progress of the species, to move commerce forward.
Choose Your Own Guru
What is a guru?
Site Selection - Slice of Life, A Car Wash and Detail Center DownTown
There is a continual trend we are seeing which I can remember participating in over a decade ago, when cities were trying to figure out how to increase sales tax revenues when the large box stores outside of town came into nearby or surrounding areas. For instance a big and easy example would be Wal-Mart. Sam was smart and built his stores just outside of town near towns, which drew from neighboring towns of 5,000 or more from three to five directions. If you look at an over lay of Wal-Mart stores to an atlas of that state you will see the rural America can get anything they need at the best price without driving all that far.
Franchises Must Meet Legal Definition to be an Actual Franchise
All franchises must meet the legal definition of a franchise no matter what they call it before it is an actual franchise. This is the Federal Trade Commissions take on the franchise rule. It is not illegal to call a company a franchise even if it is not one and if it is not it does not have to follow the rules. In this opinion of law, I do have a quick summary of thoughts for the Federal Trade Commission Franchise Rule Making Group:
Expanding Franchisee Advice
Franchisor expansion policies are not as simple as one might think. On the mind of every businessperson is the idea of expansion. We think we will make more money when you expand to a second, third, fourth, etc. unit, store or work truck. So you would think if you are franchisee of a large franchise system that the franchisor would want to help you into that additional outlet as soon as possible or, like some franchisors, much sooner. After all they will make more royalties and have an additional unit or push pin on their map of the country or state. The franchisor's goals are actually more complicated than that. Our goal is your success-profit-happiness. Running an additional unit can create tremendous amount of headaches, which a franchisee may or may not be ready for.
Entrepreneur to Employer
You make the decision to go into business and for some time work from home or in leased premises and your business starts to grow.
Is Your Business Property Safe and Secure?
Security Professionals provide the products and services necessary to create a safe and secure workplace for you and your employees. Products such as lever hardware, panic and exit devices, desk locks and high security key control systems, as well as security boxes and safes, can help you protect your business and property. In addition, electronic access control systems can be designed to restrict access to the building or business complex in order to increase security and control.
Professional House Cleaning - The Dirty Little Secret
Are you tired yet of all the books out there telling you how easy it is to start a house cleaning business? I'm not inferring that all their information is bad, but let's be honest about how "easy" it really is.
Restaurant Operators - What Skills do you Need
A tongue-in-cheek look at the skills required to operate a restaurant but?on he whole they come pretty close to the truth.
Local Government Relations for Small Business
Most small businesses simply go about their daily business and serving customers without ever worrying about local government relations. For some it turns out okay but for others it can become a disaster. You never know when a new project down the street may call for new plans to adjust the roads or put in center medians. If you are on a busy road you rely on traffic from both directions. A five-month road project can kill a business and what if it is in your busy season. If you are in retail that could be Christmas Time; imagine half you customers not being able to turn into your driveway? Then imagine after the holidays are over you have to deal with a center median which does not allow cross-over traffic. Or a do not cross over the line sign with a police car enforcing the new laws from your drive way leading into your business?
Private Franchising is not Real a Real Franchise
One major issue not being addressed right now in the regulatory definitions which guide consumers and lawyers in business opportunities and franchising is the new term being used; Private Franchising. The Federal Trade Commission decided it would revise its definitions of such opportunities in 1995, but failed to address this issue. The use of the term; Private Franchising has grown over the years.
Promote Yourself More Successfully
One of the great challenges for independent professionals and small businesses, especially when starting out, is generating visibility to ultimately lead to generating sales.
Creating a Dynamite Account Plan
Why do you need an account plan?
How to Remove Stress from Owning a Business... Forever!
I meet and talk to hundreds and hundreds of business owners every year and do you know what I've discovered? Virtually all of them are regularly suffering from stress.
Over Disclosure Hurts Businesses
Many investors and business ethics professionals are calling for more transparency and regulators are calling for more disclosure. Yet in the franchising industry this can spell disaster indeed. Often Competitors seeking information about companies will collect these documents and use it to the disadvantage of franchising companies.
|home | site map|