4 Tips That Help Entrepreneurs Avoid Project-Centric Risks

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When it comes to branching out on your own, no one can accurately point out the trials and tribulations you’re likely to face as a first-time business owner. As unique as each idea is from one another, so are their risk factors. As exciting as it is to make your vision of a product/service offering a reality, both your personal and professional lives spiral out of control if you try to do everything yourself. This is where an oft-overlooked aspect of the business merits a closer look, namely; your resource pool.

Without the right people on board to help you get your business off the ground, you end up biting off more than you can chew, causing you to pass up potential opportunities.

Besides, you can win repeat business with your team’s time-tested ability to deploy multispeciality skills across several tasks.

Entrepreneurship is a journey that rides the rough seas. These 4 tips will help you exploit core competencies all the while remaining cost-efficient as you make your debut!

1. Shadow Your Inspiration

That Eureka moment entrepreneurs all undergo at some point have an inspiration behind them. Sir Richard Branson, for instance, credits Sir Freddie Laker’s perseverance, the founder of the ‘no-frills’ Laker airways as the inspiration to be today’s well-known serial entrepreneur. But long before meeting the airline mogul, Branson’s uncle taught him an even more important lesson; that it was possible to thrive in the road less traveled. In other words, since adversity forces you to think outside the box, your approach should be to explore alternatives and not shy away from doing things differently.

Mentoring ultimately is a give and take association. Winning buy-in from both your consumer base and stakeholders is about learning where the product or service you’re rolling out fits in. Does it pose a tangible benefit or improve an existing process? Or does it prove more sustainable despite its novelty? These questions will not only let you learn the ropes of the business but will also help you spot similar or higher-level risks and the likelihood of their occurrence. Forewarned is forearmed, after all!

2. The Artful Dodger

When you’re starting out, every project proposal coming your way can seem promising. No doubt, it can be hard to say no when you’re looking for perceivable value in return. But if you zoom in on revenue alone, unfeasible projects cut down the profits you could potentially earn.

The glue that holds profitability and productivity together is how you optimize your project time. The trouble with taking on projects that literally outnumber your staff numbers is that you’re shortchanged of potential after your projects commence. Simply put, the overwork your resources undergo hamper their performance which in turn, compromise project quality.  Worse, you won’t realize how unfeasible the project you took on is until after it starts. Consequently, you’d have to dip more into the resourcing spend as you outsource some of the tasks or the entire project. As a result, you’ll risk passing up opportunities with actual billability.

A dedicated Project Management Office (PMO) is a worthy setup to invest in from the beginning. It collates all your previous projects and categorizes them by their duration, feasibility,skills, roles, teams and outcomes. This way, you can self-assess the proposal and decline it if it threatens to deviate from your enterprise’s objective. You’ll also be doing your staff a favor by ensuring that their efforts aren’t wasted on unviable projects.

By learning where you dodge the proverbial bullet with a firm ‘NO’ , you’ll smartly stick to the triple project constraint of time, budget and scope.

3. Rightful Human Capital Investment Options

Different resourcing contracts that roll with the punches is your best route to being cost-efficient. That being said, if you throw all your savings into the logistics of setting up shop, you end up being unable to afford the basic costs-to-hire, causing you to lose potential.

Therefore, set aside a separate budget for your resourcing needs such that you can afford to make offers that are hard to resist and at the same time, get perceivable value from your resource pool. The age of the Internet has made it easier to find and connect with different resourcing types and compare their asking fee to current pay scales. For example, between a freelance voice artist who charges you $5/min and $3/min, if the market price stands at $3/min, you can price-match your project till you find the contingent workforce you can hire and rehire several times more as and when necessary.  Don’t be a martyr to the resourcing spend. Hire the right people who ply their trade with the view to sustaining a mutually beneficial association.

4. Agility and Visibility

The trick to smart resource allocation is to have total visibility into work. The ability to monitor individual contributions lets you pick out stellar resources and incentivize their performance.

While you may not intend to undervalue or overwork your staff, the risk of doing so causes personal and professional lines to run into each other. You can prevent either of these situations from arising with visibility. With a bird’s eye-view of resource timesheets, you’d be able to assess utilization rates and sift through schedules to take off double or overbookings. You can even compare actual and predicted staff bookings and predict resource availability for pipelined projects such that the required staff are informed of their future commitments in the present.

Given that most companies are increasingly turning to agile solutions, this measure lets you emphasize on team and individual task accountability.. Any concerns and issues can be addressed rather than swept under the carpet. End-to-end visibility also ensures no one takes false credit for someone else’s output. Setting the boundaries of a role and it’s responsibility keeps your staff challenged and clear on what is expected of them.

In conclusion, visibility and agility together are the building blocks to a fair work culture. It helps you shape your internal processes and policies around transparency.

Which of these tips spoke to you the most? Let us know which stage of the journey you’re at and how these pointers helped!