Tuesday, 29 October 2019 08:00

4 Ways to Improve Your PM Efforts When Expanding Your Business

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Running a company nowadays has become a fairly seamless process, especially if we rely on a number of digital, automation tools that help us stay on track with our chores and responsibilities.
We have email notifications, alerts for social media, analytics and reporting tools that collect and analyze relevant data for us, and we use cloud-based storage solutions to share data across borders with all of our clients and employees. When it comes to expanding your business, however, even with access to a vast number of tech tools, your ability to put them to good use will greatly shape how successful you’ll be in the process. 
Too many growing businesses fail to contain and streamline their growth and development through proper project management systems, and end up returning home defeated and wondering what went wrong. Sometimes, your local operations will suffer when the time comes to allocate funds and expertise to a new market, while at other times, you take a leap of faith without fully understanding the legalities and intricacies of any new market you’re about to penetrate. This is where optimal project management can make all the difference, when you know how to utilize it to your advantage.

Define your projects based on the market

No business chooses its new targets haphazardly. You already know how to recognize markets with great growth potential and spot where your brand fits well so that you can have a strong position in that new market. However, your projects will not be defined in accordance to the same old goals and key metrics you’ve automatically used for your local endeavors. It’s time to do some research and understand what makes this new market tick, and treat it like a unique project that it is.
Perhaps a project located abroad will require a greater budget (or a smaller one, for that matter), or maybe you’ll need to go through a series of projects before you can even start launching your business abroad. Have you adapted your logo and your brand voice to the new market? Is your team ready and trained to deliver work based on these new parameters? Expectations change based on each new market you wish to enter, so it pays to understand all the fine details you should take care of before you start creating automatized projects that have worked for you in the past. 

Choose the right tools for international operations

Not all project management tools are created equal. They might not be inherently better or worse, but they do fit certain criteria and certain business models, depending on your needs. In the case of companies looking to expand into new markets, you should look for scalable project management solutions that are easy to integrate with other technology you use. Not sure where to look for reliable PM tools that fit your needs? You can follow in the footsteps of companies that have similar needs and priorities. 
For example, Netflix uses Confluence for their project management needs, and we all know just how vast this content platform is, and how many ongoing projects they have on their plate. Maybe this particular example is too expansive for your taste, but researching what the world of PM has to offer will greatly help you find the finest solution for you. 

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Include your local partners

Expanding your company often means that you need to find and work with on-site partners of those new markets you wish to impress. Whether for legal, organizational, or resource purposes, partnering up entails changing your own internal structure so that you can exchange relevant information and collaborate effectively with your new partners scattered across the globe. 
For businesses eager to enter the Asian Pacific market, wanting to set up a local office may pose unique challenges from the perspective of legal ownership. In such instances, working with partners such as Invest Islands means you can get the right information on available real estate options, your legal rights, and how to proceed in terms of establishing yourself in Indonesia. In order to avoid delays in communication, missing files, and misunderstandings, using scalable PM tools in which you can include at least one representative of your partner can be useful in your endeavors to expand your business abroad. 

Monitor and reallocate your resources on the go

Although most well-established companies focus on deliverables almost exclusively when working on their projects, entering a new territory means that you cannot be certain your old project management approach works best. A certain level of flexibility within your project plans is a must. As the project unravels, you can see which teams need more resources, intellectual as well as financial, which deadlines are breached, and which tasks pose the greatest challenge for your employees. 
  • Refine your project goals depending on the market needs and your resource capabilities, and leave some “wiggle room” to make changes as each project moves forward.
  • Empower your employees to make changes when they see an opportunity, since micromanagement will not work in a growing business environment much like it never did even in a smaller business you once started.
  • Consider adding certified project managers to your teams, since running an international operation will always pose a far more complex challenge. 
  • Add post-project assessment, so that your analysis can benefit your future projects within the expansion. That is the only way you can tweak your PM efforts and educate your employees on how to be more productive and more efficient with their work. 

Project management may be an established, well-oiled routine for your existing structure, but when the time comes to penetrate new markets and expand your reach, you’ll need to think beyond your current scope even in terms of project management. Use these tips to improve your PM skills and your expansion will be much more efficient and streamlined for it. 

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Jacob Wilson

Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.

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