What Small Business Owners Need to Produce Results
How Productive Is Your Work Day?
It’s miserable realizing the clock says 6pm and you’re not going home because you weren’t productive. Why isn’t there enough time in the day to get everything done? Why is it so hard to consistently produce results?
I know these feelings. It sucks.
It especially sucks to read stories about highly successful entrepreneurs waking up at 4:30am, exercising, meditating, and going home before 4pm to relax knowing that they crushed their day.
How do they do it? Is it all just lies?
I’ve tried it all. I’ve meditated, I’ve exercised, and I’ve woken up early—not 4:30, but early enough. I’ve followed every friggin’ productivity tip I come across. While every major article on productivity recently attributes success to these habits, none of it—and I mean none of it—made a bit of difference in when I left work. None of it contributed to more family time. None of it helped me consistently produce results.
What has helped was learning and implementing the fundamentals of something that has been around since the Great pyramids of Egypt were built. What has helped is learning a very specific discipline which has been formally taught in business schools (and now online) for decades.
Project Management To Increase Work Productivity
From the moment I learned the fundamental concepts of project management, my accomplishments increased and my work day got shorter. I leave work every day feeling in control. I achieve every objective I set out to do in less than 8 hours. Project management fundamentals can capture more revenue from your customers and increases your employee’s productivity and satisfaction.
Now before you click ‘back’, hear me out. I know what you’re thinking: project management is the most boring topic in the world. Not only that, the term “project management” immediately conjures up hideous amounts of documentation, enormous Gantt charts, and endless metrics that do nothing for you or your customers.
But what if you had proof that project management could be used as more than a tool to get stuff done? What if it could also be used as a tool to get more money from your customers?
You’d listen for a minute, right?
How We Made an Extra $200k With Good Project Management
I never thought of project management as a tool to grab extra revenue until my CEO committed our company to delivering a huge project to our customer 3 months early in exchange for a $200k bonus.
My entire team panicked. Not the normal “oh man this is going to be hard” panic, but the “OMFG WE’RE GOING TO LOSE OUR JOBS IF WE DON’T GET THIS DONE” kind of panic.
Once we calmed down and got it together, we started following our project management process by-the-book. Without it, we absolutely would have failed and lost our jobs. The project management process literally saved us and generated a massive bonus for our company.
Our example isn’t the only story of project management increasing profits. During my high-school years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I heard rumors that construction on a major highway would be rewarded $100k for every day the project was done early. Every day! What happened with them? They finished construction WEEKS early, landing them millions of dollars in bonuses.
I tell you this because I want you to know 2 things about project management:
- You can use it as a sales tool to get more money from your client for an early delivery.
- Even if you don’t get bonus money for finishing early, you can save a tremendous amount of time and money by finishing your job early. Just as an example, we not only got $200k in bonuses, but we saved $691,200 in development costs!
Yes, if you know the fundamentals of project management, it can make hundreds of thousands of dollars of difference.
Project Management to Consistently Produce Results
So you can make a little extra money from time to time, but what about getting work done and reducing that feeling of overwhelm? Just recently, Forbes published an article reporting that only 7% of workers feel productive during the workday. 93 out of 100 employees don’t feel like they can get their work done, and there’s a good chance you’re one of them. They blame their suffering productivity on:
- interruptions from colleagues
- stress from commuting
- office politics
Forbes is right about one thing: “If only a small percentage of your people feel like they’re getting their best work done during their allotted working hours—something is clearly broken in the traditional workplace model.” But they got the solution wrong. Their solution? Forbes argues to allow employees to work from home.
That’s where I call bull. I’ve worked from home for the past 10 years, and working from home is not the solution to feeling (or being) more productive. After all, some days I’m productive, and some days I watch cat videos on Youtube until my coffee gets cold :-|. What Forbes failed to notice is that interruptions, commuting stress, and office politics can all be reduced drastically with good project management.
- If you are getting interrupted by your colleagues, your team doesn’t have a believable schedule to meet, nor do they have the communication structure to talk/vent at appropriate times. The fundamentals of project management can fix this.
- If you are stressed out about commuting, then you don’t have (or know) your mission like you should. I know people that commute 90 minutes each way, every day to get to work. They could change jobs, but they don’t want to because they have a mission. Good project management fundamentals create great project missions that provide you with drive and direction in such a way that things like commuting aren’t stressors, but necessary to getting your job done.
- If you are bothered by office politics, then your colleagues aren’t clear on their goals, aren’t unified, and don’t understand their role in the team. Project management fundamentals build teams where each team member knows what they have to do, by when, and who’s counting on them. There’s no time for office politics.
Do you see the theme here? There are no tricks. No special “secret techniques.” Just fundamentals. In other words, project management fundamentals provide a framework for productivity. Period.
You Don’t Have To Be Shooting Humans Into Space
I’ve studied the way NASA does project management. It’s by-the-book awesome—especially for a geek like me. It has to be.The stakes involved in shooting human beings into outer space are massive. If they didn’t have the fundamentals of project management right, the rockets they built would literally results in good people dying!
Now, your projects aren’t life or death, but a poorly-run project could harm your company just as much (if not more) as a well-run project could benefit it. After all, a poorly run project could results in terrible delivery quality, blown schedules, costly budget overruns, and all-around chaos from day-to-day.
Incorporate Project Management Into Your Business
Here’s your call to action: incorporate project management techniques into your business. Not as a profession or even as a practice. But as a set of tools and techniques to get organized, get work done, and consistently produce. Just Googling “project management” will be a good start.
But if you’re looking for some tips from a seasoned pro, check out my article 25 Eye-Opening Lessons with Proven Project Management Results. You can read the whole thing in one sitting, or we can email you a lesson every day for 25 days.
However you decide to learn, once you start learning the fundamentals, you’ll be in a position to capture more revenue from your customers, increase employee productivity and satisfaction, and build a plan for success from the very beginning of any new endeavor.
Guest Author: Michael Mehlberg
CO-FOUNDER | TECHNOLOGY, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, MARKETING, AND SALES
Mike Mehlberg got tired of doing the bidding of large companies, running their Engineering, Product Management, Marketing and Sales organizations. He created Modern da Vinci to to help small business owners live their passions and achieve their goals, growing an organized, healthy small business with a competitive advantage.