What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

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My CEO always told me that to be a good project manager, you must be an entrepreneur.

I took that seriously and started my own part-time business.

And I discovered that to be a good entrepreneur requires a lot of project management experience.

For instance, project management skills help me efficiently manage and track my resources. I don't spend more than one or two hours a day on my business, but I have clear visibility about the inventory, orders and payments. the salespeople input their data in a custom-made Excel tool and I get a daily summary report.

I also rely on my project management skills for handling vendors and suppliers. They do not over-commit, but rather rely on a well-defined scope of work and regular follow-ups for tracking. As a result, the vendors feel more pressure because if there's a delay, they know I will notice and get in touch with their superiors.

Even a small business requires project management skills and if the entrepreneur is a Project Management Professional (PMP)® he or she will rock the market.

Have you started your own business? Please share your experience.
Posted by sanjay saini on: January 05, 2010 01:05 PM | Permalink

Comments (12)

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This is very true, there are a lot of similarities between the two occupations, project manager and entrepreneur. I'm a full time project manager working for a large international fainancial services company and would love to eventually start my own company. Doing it part-time first sounds like a good idea as it will ensure smooth transition and help to eliminate/rduce the risks. On the down side, between family and full-time job, it is going to be quite challenging to allocate any reasonable amount of time into a part-time business and get it off the ground. It would be interesting to find out what your, Sanjay, part-time business was/is and how much time it takes? If there are other people who could share their thoughts/expecriences, that would be great. Thank you and all the best in 2010!

Josh Nankivel
I'm a PMP and an entrepreneur. My project management background is immensely helpful to me. But what you've said here is a non sequitur. "Even a small business requires project management skills and if the entrepreneur is a Project Management Professional (PMP)® he or she will rock the market." 1) It's the project management experience that helps, and the PMP may be a part of that but it's not the PMP certification that might make one "rock the market". It doesn't follow. 2) Running a business requires much more than just project management skills. Again, a PMP certification or even just project management experience in general doesn't mean "he or she will rock the market." It doesn't follow. Josh Nankivel pmStudent.com WBS Training Instructor

Max Walker
The PM discipline is so all-encompassing that having PM experience can be a strong asset to starting your own business, I think. PM requires the organizational skills you describe, but experience also teaches people management, basic financials, communication, contracting, etc. I've long felt intimidated at the idea of starting my own business. I know a lot of the pieces of knowledge, but am not sure how to tie them together. After building more PM skills in recent years and certifying PMP, it's not longer as intimidating.

Josh Nankivel
I can certainly agree that my project management skills in general have helped me start and run my business. From an operational perspective, the fundamentals of project management help structure my thinking and planning so that I'm working on tasks that lead to a clear objective and deliver value to my customers. Josh Nankivel http://pmStudent.com

Sanjay Saini

I agree that PMP is not a MUST requirement for running a business but it is really helpful to have it. PMP certification along with the project management experience helps us in thinking differently, mitigating risks, identifying the contractual obligation, tracking the Earned Value etc. Also been an IT manager I prefers to use tools for management and tracking rather than doing the paper work.

Kiry;, I am in mobile handsets distribution network and spend 1-2 hours daily on it.


Glen Ford
As a serial entrepreneur (i.e. nuts) I'd have to agree with the previous respondents.

If I had to identify the four mandatory skills for an entrepreneur it would go somewhat like this:

* ability to identify, frame, and explore an idea (aka strategic management)
* ability to turn an idea into reality (aka project management)
* ability to identify, recruit and build a team (aka team building)
* understanding and respect for the elements of a business and how those elements work together

Project management is the lynchpin between strategy and operations. It's the element that allows ideas to come to fruition. Plus it is the only form of the three managements that deals with the full life cycle of team building. Doing project management well is crucial to an entrepreneur.

Having a formal and practical understanding of the elements of project management can only help the entrepreneur who seeks to succeed.

Glen Ford, PMP

Lawrence, New Jersey
Certainly a sound knowledge of PM is a tremendous asset to a potential-or soon to be entrepreneur, simply because PM encompasses most of the issues that will be faced in a typical business start-up.

Yes, PM skills when applied and adapted based on the demands of small business are a real asset. The knowledge that comes from experience and hones those skills is often best gained by running a small business.

J. Walsworth
I owned and managed a small engineering consulting firm for several years and found I was most successful when I consistently applied to the best of my ability: (a) good communication skills; (b) good listening skills; (c) good interpersonal skills; (d) good organizational skills; (e) good time management skills; (f) scheduling techniques; (g) good interviewing skills; (h) standard (and basic) budgeting and accounting practices; and (i)prepared well defined work proposals. A strong, technical knowledge-base of the field was also beneficial.

I have found all of the above are also required to be an effective project manager.

If you have a marketable idea, service or product, then my experience would suggest project management skills and techniques would only benefit the business.

Alberto G. Sirvent
Good post!! What about to take the culture of "intrapreneurs" when leadership occurs to an enterprise level? The intrapreneur is like the entrepreneur but inside the company. Look at 3M Company examples.

Someone could give me some other input about this kind of approach for cultural change ?

Sushil Gupta, PMP
I appreciate the thought of linking the entrepreneurship with PM skills. I believe, entrepreneur skills are much more than PM skills and PM skills are different in many aspect from entrepreneur skills.

If I look around in my network, I see many examples where PM/PgM in MNCs quit the job, started own work and became successful entrepreneur. However creating side business along with full time working in a company is very complicated scenario from the professional and personal front. In fact, in all govt/public sector services and most of the private firm/MNC it's against the company law.

I have seen the instances where employer has terminated the service of the employee after finding the employee indulged in part time (side) business. So, I suggest entrepreneur aspirants, who are working full time in any organization, to ensure before starting side business that it's not against their company rule or ethics.

In personal front, I can imagine, it’s much more challenging than what you can think of before getting into it.

Tony Colwell
I have no doubt that project managers and entrepreneurs have some similarities and can benefit from some shared skills. Both need to be outcome oriented. I would suggest, however, statistically and in terms of psychometric profiles, good PMs and successful entrepreneurs come from distinctly different subsets of the overall population - with relatively little correlation or overlap. So, to suggest that good project managers need to be entrepreneurs, or vice versa, is, to me, intuitively wrong.

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