The Internet has revolutionized modern business. With the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) indicating there will be 3.27 billion internet users by the end of 2015 there is no denying this is the future of modern business. As a project manager you have already used the online platform for various purposes including communicating with your remote teams, managing client projects, serving clients, etc.
However, there is need to go beyond this and capitalize on the huge numbers to be found online. As an project manager you have invaluable skills that can help you transition successfully from project management to business ownership.
With the numbers of internet users expected to grow exponentially over the next few years there are infinite opportunities for project managers to become business owners. Whatever your age it is never too late to start. Sam Walton the founder of Wal-Mart for instance started at 44 years so age is not an issue when it comes to starting a business.
Why Start an Online Venture?
There are even more reasons to start an online business whether as a full time engagement or a side hustle. Here are some reasons:
- Passion projects: If you have a knack for programming it is time to start making money online. Millions of companies require software solutions and you can offer this online. If you are good in design you can start an online designing agency and start making a living working with clients across the globe. In essence, an online business enables you to work on what you are passionate about.
- Low startup costs: Starting a business two decades ago was a herculean undertaking but today you can easily start your company from the comfort of your home. Indeed most business owners are now turning to home offices to cut costs.
- Increased earning potential: As a project manager your earning power is limited but with an internet business you can make money 24/7. With few overheads you will enjoy even more revenues.
Learning from the Best
Of course there are many other reasons to leverage the numbers on the Internet and start a web based business. However, there is a catch. Transitioning from management to business ownership comes with myriad challenges. For starters you might not have any entrepreneurial background which can be risky for any startup.
Luckily there are precedents across the globe to show that indeed successful project managers can turn into successful business people. From Bill Gates who was involved in writing software for the first Apple computers to Steve Jobs who worked on various computing projects it is clear that project management skills come in handy when you want to start your own business.
The Entrepreneurial Mindset
In its review of project manager behavior PM Times Magazine says that super project managers have an entrepreneurial mindset. This means they have a predisposition towards entrepreneurial activities and the associated outcomes. If you are a project manager with an entrepreneurial mindset then you have a high chance of succeeding in your online business if you start one.
These highly motivated individuals are ready to take risks even if they don’t have any entrepreneurial background. In the simplest definition an entrepreneur is any person who can organize and control an enterprise even when there are risks involved. This is exactly what you have been doing as a project manager. Only your objectives and scope of work will change when you start running your business.
Making the Transition Successfully
If you are ready for the challenge of becoming an online business owner you must start by leveraging your project management skills for your business. It is time to look back at those skills that made you a successful project manager in order to start applying them during the transition.
There are other crucial factors to consider if your business is to succeed. These include:
1. Market Study
The best businesses start by identifying a need and supplying what is needed in the market. Some of the most successful brands today including Virgin Atlantic were started when the owners identified a gap in the market.
The airline for instance started as a way of solving British Air arrogance and high prices. This worked miracles and Richard Branson is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. In essence, learning your industry is crucial to making in-roads and succeeding in the industry you want to venture in.
2. Business Definition
Just like in your projects you must start by charting out what you want to do. The best idea is to write it down in a business plan which acts as your roadmap. In your definition make sure you set out the vision and mission you have for your business before setting out. You should also set time plans for the business including when to launch, when to start marketing among other important activities.
3. Build on Your Networks
As a project manager you are always in contact with important stakeholders in the industry. If for example you want to start your web design company you can rely on some of these networks to get clients and invaluable ideas on succeeding in your target market.
If you have started a business and you don’t get clients fast it is not time to give up. Starting an online business is very challenging because you don’t have a physical address. You need to be consistent in your marketing.
The best idea is to invest in professional SEO services for instance to improve your website’s visibility online. An SEO expert will help you drive quality traffic to your website which in turn becomes your customers. You also need to be persistent in your social media platforms to build your brand.
5. Invest in Expertise
It is true you are starting off but then you have to invest in experts who will help your business to succeed. The best thing about an online business is the fact that you can outsource most of your personnel needs. Remote database administrators, SEO consultants, web developers and other ecommerce experts come in handy in helping you succeed online.
6. Passion is Key
Before starting off make sure you are picking a business idea you are passionate about. Successful online entrepreneurs are enthusiastic in their business. Passion helps you become noticeable in the industry and with time your online brand mentions will increase. The result will be more quality traffic and eventually higher sales conversion.
7. Leverage Your Management Skills
As a project manager you had to rely heavily on effective management skills. These include handling clients, task and time management and dealing with other team members. When you start your own operation you have to rely on these skills to enjoy higher client retention, improved client-relationships, on time task completion and overall organization of your business.
You also have to improve your multi-tasking skills as you will now have to handle much of the business. It is true you might have a team working for you but your decisions will be even more critical.
Transitioning from your project manager role to business ownership is a daunting affair. However, you can rely on your rich reservoir of experience to succeed. You must be passionate about the project you are starting while also making use of market data in decision making. It is also crucial to build on the networks you have already built in the industry as you start your business.