Is project management the missing link for entrepreneurship?

This is our third article on entrepreneurship!

Introduction

There has been a great deal of emphasis on entrepreneurship and the need for more and more entrepreneurs in the region (West Asia and the Arab World) to help create jobs for the future of the region. There is also a lot of enthusiasm and encouragement for new entrepreneurs – but are we forgetting something? It is great to have the “spirit” but is spirit enough? Do our prospective entrepreneurs know to how to take their dreams from the idea into effective operation? Is business planning over emphasized or is it enough?

In this article will offer an opinion, try to answer these questions, and offer a suggestion on what (we think) is missing for entrepreneurs. It is the author opinion that project management is the missing link that could make the crucial difference between success, challenge, and even failure on any new venture.

Challenges

There are too many challenges facing an entrepreneur today – some of them are the legal structure and regulations. Other challenges are  related to the fear of failure and the stigma associated with that. Even if we overcome the fear of failure we will encounter the challenge of availability of capital. With capital resolved or at least somewhat resolved than? Do we have the right infrastructure to help the entrepreneur launch the business? Do we have the necessary support? How about beyond the launch of the business what support– business / cash / logistics / management / etc. – is available for someone following a dream but only to realize that realizing the dream is much more challenging than expected. How do we help the entrepreneur or small business owner to sustain and grow?

Business Planning

Most, if not all, venture capital, foundations, and other sources for funds – in addition to business schools and MBA programs – focuses on a business plan as an essential deliverable / requirement to seek funds or start a business. Here we ask once again, is the business plan enough?

It is our view that a ‘traditional’ business plan is not enough. Quite a few business plans, that we call ‘traditional’, focuses on the business aspects with a heavier focus on operation of the business. The question is: are these traditional business plans provide a proper focus on the venture (most call a “project”) from idea to launch of the business?

The Missing Link

It is interesting to point out that many call a new venture a “project”, as we mentioned in the earlier section. We like the word project but most definitions of the word project come back to a project meaning something that is temporary. So is the venture temporary? We hope not!

So is the word ‘project’ the wrong one to use? Yes and No.

The business is not a project; it is a business, a venture, so to be academic the word project is not the proper one to use for the new business. Let us call it venture or business. Yet to launch the business is exactly what we call a project – the launch project is to take the venture from the idea to operations. Our objective here is not to get into an English lesson rather to define the proper use of words in order to have the proper context and fully understand the missing link.

So what is this missing link? Well if launching the business is a project, than how do we manage it? Where is project management in managing the launch of the business? The next section will provide a methodology to follow in launching the business.

A Proposed Sequence

Our proposed model will focus on the venture launch from idea to initial operation, using the missing link – project management. Future articles could focus on the use of organizational project management to help build and sustain a small business and grow it.

The proposed model, which is derived from the SUKAD Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects™ (CAM2P™), is a project life span model that divides the project life span into three distinct phases; which we explain here.

The Project Life Span for Launching a Business (Per SUKAD CAM2P™ Model)

Project-Life-Span-for-Entrepreneurs

We will explain the model in the next post … in a couple of days!