Project Management Tips for Startups

Project Management Tips for Startups

A startup's definition is comprehensive and pretty vague, from single founders with no team to some of the biggest tech companies globally. People still think of companies such as Google (22 years old), Facebook (16 years old), and Uber (11 years old) as startups.

What is considered a startup? This question is quite challenging to answer because no one has managed to figure out a universally accepted definition. One of the popular opinions claims that a startup is a company in its early stages of development with the tendency of fast growth. It usually features 1-3 founders who focus on capitalizing their platform, service, or product.

But, how long is a company considered a startup? If you are testing the market and discovering various ideas on how to sell your product, you are still in the startup stage. On the other hand, if you have found a way to deliver products or services that many people want and get heavily compensated for your effort, you may no longer be in the startup stage. You can move your business to the next chapter, enterprise.

Another thing worth mentioning is startup vs. small business, as people tend to mix these two terms. A startup is typically associated with tech-oriented companies with high growth potential. They face many challenges, usually regarding financing, because investors want the highest potential return on their investment.

That's why these types of companies are focused on fast growth and scale. When it comes to small businesses, they may be happy with their structure and staying small forever, which isn't the case with startups.

Types of startups

1. Lifestyle startup

Founded by entrepreneurs who generate profit by living the life they love. Let's say you are a yoga instructor who opens up a studio and makes a living by giving yoga lessons. Or let's assume you are a web design student who enjoys making logos and considers starting a logo design startup.

2. Small business startup

As the name implies, small business startups are launched by the regular people you meet on the street every day. Their goal isn't to become big but to create a comfortable living for their family and friends. Small business startups usually involve bakers, grocery stores, beauty salons, among others.

3. Scalable startups

Skype, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are perfect examples of scalable startups. More often than not, this type of business is related to the tech niche. They have the potential to increase their revenue quite fast while maintaining incremental costs at a minimum.

For example, a company develops software, and they only have to cover the initial investment, while the rest can be mass-produced.

4. Startups designed to be flipped

In the last couple of years, we have seen numerous Android or iOS app startups founded to be sold to larger companies once they've become popular. Their goal isn't to reach a billion-dollar revenue but to spike potential investors' interest and sell their business for $10-$50M. For example, Facebook purchased Instagram.

5. Large company startups

They focus on innovation and have a limited life span. Large company startups try to develop revolutionary products and services that consumers quickly recognize. However, considering market shifts, competitive pressure, and user preferences, they tend to create new innovative products for new users, targeting different markets.

6. Social startups

Social entrepreneurs are no less driven, passionate, or ambitious to make an impact than any other business owner. However, compared to scalable startups, the social ones want to make the world a better place by not taking market share or acquiring wealth for their founders.

Managing Startups

We should note that many entrepreneurs underestimate the power of project management for their startup. However, when the right project management techniques are implemented, there is no room for mistakes. Of course, your startup will have to face numerous challenges, such as completing projects, budgeting, delivering value to its clients, and planning. Still, the project manager is the one who makes sure your business is efficient during the early stages of development.

On the other hand, people who have experience with startups state that project management is crucial for business success. Keep in mind the sooner you start with project management, the better results you'll achieve. Regardless of the business stage you're in, a project management system is required to keep you off the ground.

Project Management Methodologies and Frameworks

This article is just a small part of the story about project management and it's best practices that we covered in great detail in our flagship ebook.

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Discovering the right project management method can often be a hard nut to crack, so you should think carefully about what works for your business. Maybe your competitors found that the traditional Waterfall method is the right fit, which doesn't have to be the case with your business; perhaps your startup requires the Agile method.

You can't go wrong with project management, but you have to understand your needs.

Determine your business structure:

  • How big is your organization?
  • What are your objectives?
  • Do you have complex projects?
  • What outcome do you expect?
  • Do your clients prefer a specific method?

Once you establish your needs and select the right methodology, you will make the first step towards success.

Tips for Startup Project Management

Set achievable goals

Every entrepreneur shouldn't set goals just for the sake of having them; you need goals that are good and at the same time realistic. If they are achievable, you will be flooded with a sense of well-being and happiness. Successfully managing a startup means creating a strong foundation.

  • Figure out who your clients are
  • Create a reliable project plan
  • Be spontaneous and proactive
  • Ask yourself what's the purpose of these goals
  • Learn from your failures

Entrepreneurs have the freedom to make their life the way they want it. However, don't think their life is a bed of roses. They face daily challenges that set them back, from stakeholders' complaints to budgeting issues and missed deadlines. If you find yourself in a similar situation, make sure to turn those problems into an opportunity for growth.

Don't underestimate yourself

In your startup journey, you have to take some time to evaluate your position and consider where this path leads you. For instance, why do you want your business to grow: to get more freedom, earn more money, or fulfill your long-lost dream?

To get one answer, you might need to answer the following questions:

  • Do you have some particular skills?
  • Do you consider yourself a responsible person?
  • What is your passion?
  • Are you ready to work during weekends?
  • How big is your budget?
  • Are you ready to become an entrepreneur?

Plan your milestones

One of the main tips for startups is milestone planning, and it has a significant impact on your business's success. In this case, you will know what's happening with your project at any time of the day. However, you have to define the milestones suitable for your team. Determine the importance of each milestone to help your team stay focused on goals.

Talk to your team

In project management, the more effective the communication you have with your team, the better the project management is. Daily communication ensures that requirements are under control and that your team is informed about every step in a project.

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