Everything is a project. Yes, everything! From making your breakfast to achieving a goal, things we often think of as tasks are actually projects. So, it’s project management NOT to-do lists that you need.
What does this have to do with entrepreneurship?
Well, one of the main reasons I see business owners fail to get things done, reach their goals or grow their business is because they struggle with project management. And fundamentally understanding the concept of projects.
What is a project?
According to the Project Management Institute, a project is defined as a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result”.
Projects have a beginning, middle and end. And they include a series of steps, tasks, subtasks, and at times phases.
Tasks vs Projects
People tend to think of the things they want to get done as tasks. “Tasks” are then put on a to-do list when they’re really projects. This results in the well-meaning entrepreneur feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed.
For example, let’s say you want to reach more customers. You begin by pondering how to do that and realize the answer is marketing. Then, you ask yourself, “Well what does that mean?” Next, you explore ideas like doing a social media campaign, passing out flyers, creating a loyalty program, etc. Finally, you decide to execute the tactic of doing a social media campaign, but then the problem strikes. The seemingly simple tactic is stopped before it’s even started.
Why does this happen? Because these “tasks” are much more complicated and involved than they initially seem. They aren’t tasks, they are projects. Meaning they have multiple steps that need to be outlined, planned and then executed.
Doing a social media campaign involves:
- Brainstorming content
- Taking photos and/or creating graphics
- Creating content related to the post
- Creating a call to action
- Crafting captions
- Creating a posting schedule
- Tagging people
- Publishing the post
- Responding to comments
- Sharing the post in groups, IG Stories, etc.
- Analyzing the results and making changes
What seemed like one task has become a project involving up to 10 tasks or steps. And now we instantly see why things aren’t getting done!
The magic of projects
To overcome this barrier and start finally doing the things you say you want to do, shift your perspective to seeing things as projects and treating them as such.
Step 1: Charter the project
Start by defining your why. Which means getting clear on the purpose and intention of the project.
What is your desired outcome?
- Gain customers
- Promote a new product
- Increase customer loyalty
Step 2: Make the plan
Next, you need to outline the plan to reach your desired outcome. This involves figure out all the steps involved, what the deliverables are and what tasks or steps are dependent on each other.
Brain dump all the things you can think of that need to be done to achieve your end goals. Then, put those tasks into an order that makes sense. Figure out what resources or people you need involved. Assign tasks to the appropriate person (even if it’s only you). Set deadlines for each task.
Step 3: Start the project and work the plan
Now get to work. Don’t skip steps, start with task number one.
Make sure to keep everyone involved on task and up-to-date on progress. Keep an eye on your timeline/deadlines, budget and progress.
Step 4: Finish the project
See the project through to the end. And be sure to assess the process and results.
Tools to help
You’re going to need tools. From pen and paper to software there are tons of options.
Here’s a list of some popular project management software:
For ongoing endeavors, like marketing tactics and monthly reporting, your projects will become systems and processes. Once you get the plan mapped out, replicating that process on a regular basis is the secret sauce to efficiency. But we’ll talk about that in another post.
Project management is the magic solution to get unstuck, mobilize yourself into action and reach your goals. Just remember “everything is a project”.
And if you need help figuring out how to leverage project management in your business, book a free business consultation with one of our coaches.