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Project Management Through the Eyes of a Small Business (PAVERART)

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

For small businesses, surviving (and ultimately thriving) against larger, more dominant players starts with building a winnable plan. Picking your battles. Defining the "what and how" of your business.

Being small has some potential advantages, mostly centered around speed and responsiveness. But speed does not happen simply by being smaller, it happens through a smart plan (what you plan on doing) and most importantly, how you execute (how successful you are implementing your plan).

The right plan in my opinion is a question of FOCUS: Are you putting your energy against what really matters?

There's a tool I've embedded into my thinking to help with this....

A pretty widely accepted axiom of business: The Pareto Principle, more commonly referred to as the 80/20 law: What are the very few inputs (20%) that ultimately drive the lion's share (80%) of the outcomes?

If you can understand your 80/20 in all areas of the business, you've tilted the odds in your favor to execute in impactful areas, and very likely have increased your "speed" of achieving better outcomes.

The 80/20 applies to customers, labor, marketing, and even projects....see if the below illustration makes sense.

The PAVERART Website Re-Build (completed 7/6/19)

Re-building a website is a major under-taking for any business. But I would argue it's like any other project, opportunities to do great work on time and on budget with great energy, OR NOT! Projects are binary, they either hit their objectives or they don't!

For a small business, I would argue that the WEB-SITE could be one of the most critical elements of the business. Interestingly, for LARGER companies, they are often an afterthought: Outdated, clunky, NOT something the people are proud of.

In the case of the PAVERART Web re-build project, here was our 80/20 as it related to setting smart, impactful objectives that got us a great outcome, FAST.

1) First and foremost, improve the user experience. Our product is HIGHLY visual, it's actually in our company name as "ART." Therefore, we needed to dramatically increase the focus on displaying our images in a much better, more visually appealing way that puts the spotlight on our PAVERART designs. No improved designs viewed by the users, failure!

2) Become "independent" and empowered in all things "PAVERART Web management."

In other words, be able to leave the project with complete independence from third parties. That meant we would need to be active participants in the building process, not just the creative input side of the equation. Leave the project and we still can't manage our own site? FAILURE!

All projects can have massive numbers of objectives. Laundry list objective sets run the risk of trying to boil the ocean (that takes time!), the 80/20 is about max impact for most efficient inputs.

I can rattle off many objectives for a website project: Blog content, seo, automated forms, campaigns, etc. It can be never ending. Time and money......these all were determined to be in the 80% bucket, not the 20%, so we launch when the 20% are done.

Small businesses can't afford to do everything (boil the ocean).

Next time your thinking through a project, challenge yourself to do it in 1/10th the time via an 80/20 lens. Business is won in the trenches (marketplace), not in the grind of tons of activity where projects over-grow and grind on endlessly.

As always, would love your comments, areas of agreement, disagreement, other approaches!

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