In this episode of XojoTalk from August 30, 2016, I talk about Business Tools for Software Developers: SaaS tools, value pricing practices, sales processes, and project management. Enjoy!
As a small business owner, you are usually tackling sales and marketing with a vengeance. Often, you want to hire someone to take over that role, but did you know they require very different skills? It is rare the same employee can effectively do both. The skill sets just aren’t the same.
Inc. wrote an article on the qualities to look for in salespeople. They are hunters, with discipline. Salespeople are confident, charming, intelligent, and resilient. They have amazing people skills and usually aren’t all that organized or structured. They go hunt for new business, chase leads, and love, love, love to close a deal.
I was invited to be a guest blogger on Xojo’s site to share some insights and tips for project management so developers can get beyond the chaos. Xojo is a development platform, which allows the creation of native cross-platform desktop, web, mobile and Raspberry Pi™ apps.
Below is an excerpt from my post, but you can find greater details about these tips for project management on the full post on Xojo’s site.
Tips for Project Management
Having problems controlling your projects and clients enough to enjoy your life and have fun developing software? If you can put a few systems in place, then you will deliver better customer service, increase your productivity, and communicate better. Here are five tips to help you on your path of reigning in the chaos:
- Manage Scope – Keep a Wish List
- Projects Must End! (But What About the Bugs?!?!)
- Project Manage Your Own Business
- Avoid Interruptions
- You’re Always Selling
Acquiring a new client is tough when you’re a service professional. After you’ve identified a lead, you have to walk him through your sales process and sell your services. Besides those big picture things, you have to also:
- contact him initially
- schedule meetings
- have the meeting and ask good questions
- follow up on questions after the meeting
- determine his needs
- determine the value you can bring him
- write a proposal
- share the proposal with him
- get approval
- send an invoice
- get paid
You are running a small business. You diligently plan your sales, your finances, your resources and your marketing. And, you get things done. But, you are overlooking an integral area in your business as far as growth. You cannot scale your company unless you follow consistent processes by creating SOPs (standard operating procedures.)
It is important that your team know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. If your team can consistently repeat the same activities, you get better customer service, increased employee productivity, and better internal communication. You will retain your employees longer and will be able to attract better team members. It can even affect your branding if your team isn’t doing and saying the same things for your customers.
How much do project details matter? Can you overcome small mistakes because of getting details wrong? If you dial into a conference call at 1pm EST rather than 1pm CST, you are likely to figure out that you’re early, right?
In most cases, you can make up for small mistakes. However, if Dan is the CEO of the business you’re selling to and you called Don at 3pm CST rather than 3pm PST on the 8th rather than the 6th? Well, now you’ve blown it.
When managing deadlines, a project manager often tries to figure out why they will be missed on a large project only to discover that the designer couldn’t say “no” when a client asked for additional items without his knowledge.
How can you avoid this altruistic problem? It rarely results in goodwill from your clients, as they tend to forget these things when deadlines are missed. Rather, the client is frustrated, if not outright angry, while you try to explain that the end date will not be met. Regardless of your explanations for doing what he asked, he voices a reasonable concern that boils down to this: He didn’t understand what he asked would take longer or cost more.
I know, it sounds boring, but I promise that structure, schedule, and systems will help you make the most of your efforts. There is something about consistency that is soothing. Plus, if you aren’t always thinking about what to do next or what you might be forgetting, your mind can be opened up to more creative thoughts. Continue reading