Project management techniques play an important role in the world around you. Many of the most visually imposing features of your life would not be there without effective project management.Let us just consider one example: the aircraft you fly away on for your vacation. That aircraft is an end result of a highly complex project, probably covering several different locations and even countries. Design, engineering, manufacturing; all these could be spread around in different offices and buildings. Each of those elements is complex and may involve several professional disciplines, with safety and comfort a feature at all times.Take away the management of that aircraft project, and then try to imagine how the resulting aircraft may have looked. Without the co-ordination provided by good management, what you would end up with, if anything, may not even look like an airplane at all. Components may not fit, or may not arrive; the wings may have been designed, but their manufacture not ordered; the wheels may be designed for the wrong size of aircraft. All sorts of bizarre things could occur, and the aircraft would not get off the ground, probably never even be half assembled.When you get on an aircraft, you are boarding the successful result of a project well and professionally managed. But what if you changed the project from an aircraft to your own future success; and then applied some basic project management techniques to achieve a successful outcome to “Project Success”? Your chances of achieving success would be greatly enhanced.You may be thinking that your success is so personal that it is simple, with nobody else involved, and therefore needs no management at all. You may argue that success, if it is going to happen, is just going to happen. The reality of achievement, though, is never that simple. An element of self management will always be needed to be successful, so why not increase your chances of the perfect outcome to “Project Success” and manage it effectively? After all, you are more complex than that sleek, hi-tech aircraft transporting you to your holiday destination.In practice, though, how can you take the project management approach of building an aircraft, and apply those techniques to “Project Success?”Applying Project Management Techniques to Personal Success.In a short article, I can only touch upon a few headings which may help guide you to guide yourself. These are important components of managing a project of any sort, and could be applied to “Project Success”. Here are some ideas which may help put yourself in control of your own success destiny.”Project Success – The Vision”Until you have a definite end in mind, you have no project. There would be no point having a project to build an aircraft, only to find in the end that what was needed was a submarine. As an individual, it is just as important to have a clear idea of the end aim; what really is the success you are seeking? Once fully identified, you can plan “Project Success”.As an individual, though, this stage can help to pave the way for a smooth project. If you take your time to visualize in some detail what success for you would entail, then you can harvest the benefits of visualization, which can be a useful personal tool in carving an opening to reach where you want to go. One idea is to sit quietly and alone, and visualize your perfect life in 5 years’ time. Then, carefully write down the main components of that future life. You could then take that as your end product of “Project Success”.Outline Plan For “Project Success”Once you have a clear vision of your overall success objective, then it is worth forming an outline plan of how you are going to achieve that success. At this stage, you may not have much idea of the detail anyway. Even for an outline plan, you may need to do some research first.For the sake of this illustration, let us assume your vision of success is to have your own business for the first time, based at home and on the internet. This is an ambition shared by millions of people across the world.Your initial research may show you that, in outline, you need to:a. choose the type of online business that you want and in what market;b. learn about website design and building;c. learn about internet marketing and offline marketing if not already known;d. study people who have already succeeded in an online business;e. work out a financial budget;f. formulate a business plan based on the outcome of a, b, and c above, taking into account e. You conclude d. will be ongoing.The above are just examples, and not comprehensive, but it is enough to give you a idea of how to get started. There are many methods of project management, which are mostly designed for big projects, but you could also include the following in your “Project Success” plan:Consider the RisksRisk assessment is a normal part of large project, but it can be just as critical for you, especially when it comes to assessing the financial implications and affect on close family. Discuss with your spouse and older children if possible; their support and understanding could be critical later.Assessing Resources RequiredThe resources you will need will be a mix of time, free information, free software, paid for software, paid for services and other items of expenditure that are essential to your success. That is based only on your first assessment of what you need to have and to do. Always bear in mind that your personal success project will need to be flexible, as you will learn much as you go along and have to adjust your plan accordingly.Assigning and Managing Project TasksThis may sound very simple: assign all tasks to yourself and carry them out yourself. But you are not that simple, and managing yourself is not that simple. In fact, you are are probably about the worse person you could wish to manage, until you train yourself not to be.While it is possible to contract out tasks, a golden rule of outsourcing is to first understand in detail what it is you are outsourcing. Leave that for later when you are accomplished in your new success role and fully understand the business you are in.So, to begin with, assign yourself all the tasks, having first listed them all down. You will not have all the resources you need, as you will inevitably be lacking in certain areas of knowledge. Note down what those knowledge gaps are, as filling them will need to be built into a more detailed plan.Create Detailed Project Plan – Task by TaskBy now you should have enough information to build a more detailed plan. Now we are not talking about building a rocket here. Despite your own complexities, this should still be a relatively simple plan for each task, and you should be prepared to change it later if necessary. Your plan is intended as an aid to your success, not a ball and chain dragging you down. You will learn fast as you go along, and need to adapt quickly.Prioritize Project TasksIn complex projects, progress can be curtailed by bad priority management. I have seen this in practice, when called in to take over the key, time critical, part of a large project installing a new computerised accounting system. I soon realised why it had fallen so far behind. Project team members were, against their own better judgement, being forced into spending time on trivia that the project leader liked doing, rather than driving the key areas of the project forward.Beware of your own inclination to do the same. In “Project Success” you will have to manage yourself, according to priorities, but not according to your comfort zone. It is how you respond to this challenge that will dictate whether you will be a successful online businessman, or someone who is just playing with it for fun.Controlling and Monitoring Progress of “Project Success”. This is where you will be tested in your own self discipline and management ability. You need to establish points in the plan where you will review progress. In a normal project situation, the project management team would probably have regular management meetings, where those heading each key task have to report progress and co-ordinate with others.You need to do the same, as yourself, and perhaps review progress once a week or, at minimum, once a month. If you can get a mentor in your chosen business, then that would be a great help; or you may like to get your spouse or a friend to add a critical input to your progress. The important thing is that you must make an unemotional assessment of how you are progressing, where things are going right or wrong, and what, if any, changes to the plan need to be made. A plan is a plan is a plan; change it if you have to, and do not think of changing it as an admittance of defeat, it is a triumph of actual knowledge over guesswork.By using some of the disciplines mentioned above, you can help guide yourself to a successful conclusion to “Project Success.”
Smart business people are leveraging the power of Internet marketing strategies to attract more qualified customers to their small business. Small Businesses that you would not expect to find on the Internet are now using online marketing to draw in customers like a magnet. Traditional small business marketing methods are expensive and the results are not measurable. Positioning yourself as the expert in your field and providing valuable information to your potential customers will magically attract qualified prospects to you. This article will provide valuable small business marketing ideas to help you develop marketing strategies for your small business.My time is limited, and I have found that using the search engines is a great way to find products and services that meet my needs. The information available on the Internet lets me compare products and services and get reviews from other customers who have purchased the products I am looking for. Last week I purchased a generator for my home through the Internet, and I needed to find a local electrician to install it. I hate calling people from the yellow pages, so I decided to search the Internet for someone who could help me. I found three different electricians. Electrician A had very good information on their website about some simple electrical jobs and things to watch out for when picking an electrician. Electricians B and C simply had a “yellow page” website with a phone number and address. Because Electrician A had shared valuable information with me first, I already trusted him more, but I wanted to get three bids to make sure I paid a reasonable amount of money for my job.I sent all three electricians an email asking for a bid on my job. Then I spoke with each of them on the phone to answer their questions and give them directions to my property.Electrician B bid on the job sight unseen. Electrician A and C both made time to come out to my property and look over the job before bidding.Electrician A made a couple of good suggestions that actually saved me money and helped me avoid a costly mistake. Electrician C bid almost twice what the other two electricians did. After getting all of the bids, I chose Electrician A because he took the time to come out and look over my job, and actually helped me save money, even though he did not have the cheapest overall bid. Electrician B, who bid on my job sight unseen, had the lowest bid, but would have actually cost me more money because of the issues that Electrician A had pointed out when he took the time to come out to my property to see the job before bidding on it. Electrician C looked over the same job site as electrician A, but did not give me a lot of confidence when he did not point out the same issues that Electrician A had. The combination of a website with valuable information to help build my confidence coupled with free advice to help me save money actually won this electrician my business. This is an example of how effective marketing a small business using the Internet coupled with a consultative sales approach can help attract and win customers for your business. Because of their power to attract customers, I have implemented these Internet marketing strategies in my own small business. I have a website that has valuable information available to the prospective customers who search for my services. Because of this useful information, the customers who find me already trust what I have to say. They know something about me before we even speak with each other. This helps filter out the tire kickers and helps me leverage my time to work with only those customers who truly have an interest in my services as a small business Internet marketing coach.By reading this article you’ll learn why it is important to market your small business on the Internet. You will learn small business marketing ideas that will attract more customers to you who are already interested in what you have to offer. You will learn how to gain the trust of these customers allowing you to win more business and make more money.Why it is so important to market your small business on the InternetMore than ever, people start their search for information about products and services on the Internet. In fact, as a business medium, the Internet is growing while many other sectors of the economy are declining. Your customers are looking for you on the Internet…trust me I know this. The question is “are they going to find you when they search?” and if they do, “will they learn enough about you to trust you and contact you to do business?” Many people no longer think of the yellow pages when they are searching for information about a product or service. The major search engines are the most accessed websites on the Internet. Google has over 91 million searches per day, and Yahoo has over 60 million searches per day, together they represent 151 million searches per day. Now the population of the United States is just over 304 million and the population of the whole world is just over 6 billion (Wikipedia – Jul 2008). One out of every two people in the United States could be searching for something or one out of every 40 people in the world could be doing the same. This is a staggering number of searches every day, which reinforces the fact that people are relying on the Internet to search for and find quality information. You can see why, more than ever before, it is important to have an Internet marketing strategy for your small business.How to attract more customers to you who are already interested in what you offerOk…so now we can agree that your business should be on the Internet, but how can you be sure that your business will be found out of all of the others out there? How can you effectively market your small business on the Internet? Probably not the way you would think. Hype-based or hard selling techniques no longer work. The way to attract customers to you is to offer valuable free information to the people who find you. They will find you because you will use the same words that people are searching for when describing your products or services. This is called search engine optimization (SEO) and all it means is that when you write the content for your website or blog, you use the words that people are typing into the search engines so that they can find you when they search. If you are using a replicated website, it is very likely that it has not been optimized to be found by the search engines. Search engines hate replicated websites.Your small business marketing strategy should include writing articles about topics that are interesting to your customers. To do this, you have to figure out who your target customer is, and what they are interested in. This is probably the hardest part of your small business marketing strategy. This is the essence of attraction marketing and is how you will build an audience for your information, which in turn will draw customers to you like magic. Then it is just a matter of placing your content all over the Internet so that it is found when your customers search. If you are a local business, there are ways to localize your content, so that customers in your geographic area can find you first before you competitors when they search.How the value you provide helps you gain the trust of your customersOnce your customer types in the search words at the search engine and your content comes up, you have started building trust and credibility in their minds. The more valuable the content you offer for free, the more trust you will build. The more frequently your content comes up, the more credibility you will gain. Securing the trust of your customers is the hardest step in making the sale. Using these small business Internet marketing strategies does this hard step for you, so that when your customers come to you, they are ready to learn what you have to offer. If the valuable free content that you offer is perceived to be more valuable than that of your competitors, you will differentiate yourself in the eyes of your prospective customer. If your content comes up first on the search engines, you are guaranteed that your customer will see what you have to offer. If what you offer is of value, you have just won a customer.You too can leverage these ideas for marketing your small business on the Internet There are many tools that you can leverage today for your small business marketing strategies. Some of these include websites, blogs, articles, images, Google maps, videos, etc. In addition to these, there are many social media options to help build your reputation with your customers. These include such things as Face book, MySpace, Squidoo, and Twitter.For example, my small business has a website which I use as the hub of my business activities. I have written articles, such as the one you are reading, which are found by the search engines when my target customers type in certain search words. My articles then link back to my website for my customers to find more information about my services. In addition to my articles, I have Squidoo lenses, and a Face book page which also link back to my website. My offline marketing also has the link to my website. Again, the target of all of my marketing is to drive prospective customers to my website where they can prequalify themselves by learning more about my business and requesting more information if they are interested. Notice, I am not chasing customers, nor am I wasting my money on the yellow pages. Instead, I am attracting customers to me through the valuable information that I provide. You can easily implement these same marketing strategies for your small business also.If winning more business and making more money is important to you…If all of this information is a bit overwhelming to you, or you just don’t know how to get started, I suggest that you find someone who can guide you through developing and implementing the Internet marketing strategies for your small business. Find someone who can show you the ropes and teach you what you need to know to be self-sufficient.Don’t just sign up with anyone who claims to build or host websites, though. Not everyone knows the secret of attraction marketing like I have described for you here. Find someone who understands these concepts and has demonstrated their ability to apply them the way that I have demonstrated it to you when you found this article. When you do find someone, the more they know the more costly their time will be. Look for someone who knows just a little more than you but who isn’t so good at it they charge you a fortune. They can show you how to set up your small business marketing strategies on the Internet, or if you don’t have the time to do it, they can do it for you. Now you know how to easily win more business and make more money. Leveraging an Internet marketing strategy will help you with the hardest part of establishing any business relationship. It will help you gain the trust of your potential customers before you have even spoken with them yet. You will be able to attract more customers to you, and the ones you attract are already interested in what you have to offer. After that, all you have to do is offer great service and close the sale. These great small business marketing ideas can give you a leg up on your competitors, and help you grow your small business. Now you know why it is so important for you develop an Internet marketing strategy for your small business. As a customer, I have found that small businesses who provide valuable information to me when I am searching for products or services are much more likely to get my initial inquiry about their products or services. Businesses who are not on the Internet or who have a replicated brochure website are usually not in the running at all. In fact, I usually forget to even look in the yellow pages. My first stop to search is now the search engines like Google or yahoo. I have implemented these small business marketing strategies in my own consulting business. Now I have customers calling me, instead of me trying to chase them or spending thousands of dollars on ads that don’t bring in anyone. Give me a call or shoot me an email and I’d be happy to spend 20 minutes on a free consultation with you to get you started on the right track.