Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, invested $10 billion into developing the metaverse in 2021 alone. This is just one example of a massive corporation that invest billions of dollars in a problem in hopes of finding a solution. In Meta’s quest to build the Metaverse, it can blow through cash as it hires the brightest engineers, builds the best facilities and conducts extensive market research. Unfortunately, this is a luxury that’s not available to small businesses or solopreneurs.
To expand their businesses, small business owners must use limited resources efficiently. They don’t have entire departments they can assign to tackle a project. It’s common for small business owners to wear multiple hats within their organization. They might run a meeting in the morning, hop on a sales call during lunch and then fulfill a few order statements before leaving for the day.
In order to achieve growth and reach their goals, small businesses must find ways to run their existing operations more efficiently. This is why so many small businesses are hiring project managers.
What Is Project Management?
According to the Project Management Institute, project management uses specific knowledge, skills and tools to deliver something of value to people. In other words, project management is the facilitation of meeting a goal, and the term can apply to any number of purposes.
Project management means developing a new product and bringing it to market. It could be opening a sales office in a new city. It could even be sending emergency supplies to a country stricken by a natural disaster. As long as the goal has a definitive start and end point, it falls under the umbrella of project management.
A straightforward way to tell that project management is becoming more prevalent is the rise of project management software in the workplace. These days, businesses of all sizes rely on multiple types of software to keep everyone on the same page.
The best way to describe a project manager’s role is to envision a professional football team. On this team, the employees are the players and the business owner is the head coach. The project manager, however, is like the offensive coordinator. While the head coach is responsible for the entire team’s performance, the offensive coordinator is solely in charge of the offense.
Like a football team needs an offensive coordinator, a small business will nearly always thrive if it hires a competent project manager. Let’s examine three reasons why a company might employ a project manager.
1. Create Clear Organizational Communication
One of the project manager’s most significant roles is that of a communicator, which includes both external and internal communications. External communication involves speaking with clients to set adequate expectations and timelines. Internal communication, on the other hand, means ensuring that all employees understand the task and the best way to achieve it. This involves holding employees accountable on a day-to-day basis to reach long-term goals.
2. Blend the Bigger and Smaller Pictures
Business owners are responsible for setting high-level goals for their company. They must generate big ideas to meet monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. However, a year is a long time. It’s common for employees to lose sight of these goals once the day-to-day routine takes over. After a few weeks, employees might have forgotten about the new plan entirely.
The project manager acts like an impartial third party that sits in between these two groups. The project manager monitors the employees’ performance and relays progress to the small business owner.
3. Complete Goals on Time and Budget
Bringing on a project manager can be one of the best decisions a small business owner makes. In one fell swoop, a small business owner can offload part of their workload to a competent 3rd party while improving the company’s chances of success. Since the project manager has a singular focus, they lead the project to its conclusion within the set timeline and budget parameters.
A project manager serves as a strategic liaison for a company. Many are not full-time employees but work under contract for a set period of months/years in order to help a company meet its objective. Once completing the goal, the project manager is on to the next task or project, maybe with another organization. In an era where freelancing and flexible work are becoming the norm, this is yet another reason why a career as a project manager looks more attractive than ever.
Project managers are also generally hired based on their expertise and industry knowledge. If you are interested in following this career path, it’s a good idea to consider pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Earning this advanced degree will help you develop relevant skills such as project risk, procurement and quality management. The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) offers one such program that can be completed entirely online in as few as 12 months.