By Anne Hand, Managing Director, Inlet Partners LLC, Ed. M., PMP

Anne Hand

I had been freelancing and doing independent consulting on and off for years before finally taking the leap – resigning from my job and registering my LLC, Inlet Partners, in 2022.

The idea of starting my own business initially felt too big with too many unknowns to keep track of, but my project management skills gave me the confidence to take the risk. These skills gave me a strong foundation to build on, increasing my business’s chances of success despite the uncertainties I would inevitably encounter.

Starting a business can be overwhelming, but having strong project management skills can make the process smoother and increase your chances of success. Here are three ways project management skills can help when starting your own business:

  1. Business Focus as a Project Charter

Defining and documenting a clear vision for a project or business is, fundamentally, developing a project charter. Both processes involve defining scope, objectives, and stakeholders. By using the same basic process, you can define the scope of your business idea, identify your target market, and determine the product or service that your business will provide. Clear objectives, in particular, are crucial to the success of a project or business. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to ensure they are realistic and achievable.

  2. Developing a Business Plan

One of the benefits of project management skills is the ability to break down complex tasks into manageable steps. This skill is valuable when creating a business plan, which outlines goals, strategies, and tactics to achieve success. By approaching the task of creating a business plan as a project, you can define your end goal, break down the steps required to achieve that goal into smaller, more manageable tasks, assign timelines and resources to each task, and create a plan that includes milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress. This approach ensures that each step is completed efficiently and effectively and that you stay on track towards your ultimate goal: having a successful business.

  3. Mitigating Risk

Starting a business involves risk, but project management skills can help minimize that risk and increase your chances of success. One way to do this is by creating a risk management plan. This document outlines potential risks to your business, and strategies for mitigating those risks. By thinking proactively about the risks your business may face, you can create a plan that helps you minimize their impact and ensure that you’re prepared to handle any challenges that arise. For example, consider the risk of a product launch failure. By using project management techniques, you can create a plan that outlines the steps required to ensure a successful launch. You can also identify potential risks, such as a lack of market demand or manufacturing delays, and create strategies for mitigating those risks.

In summary, project management skills are crucial for anyone starting their own business. They can ground your business idea, develop a comprehensive business plan, and mitigate potential risks. By using project management techniques, you, too, can increase your chances of success and ensure that your business gets off to a strong start.