Business Good experience Lifestyle

Resource Management for Small Businesses 101

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Summary: Resourcement management is critical for small businesses, for whom every project is significant. Whether you have a dedicated resource manager or assign these tasks to a project manager, these strategies will bring your projects to new heights.

For small businesses, each and every project is significant — far more so, generally speaking, than the ones larger businesses undertake.

There’s so much that goes into making a project successful, from the skillsets of your team members to the project management methodology you choose and follow. Small business resource management, meanwhile, is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.

What, exactly, is business resource management?

Resource management describes the process of determining what resources are necessary for a given project, figuring out how to obtain them, acquiring them, and developing an approach for allocating and using them effectively. Some businesses employ a dedicated resource manager, but this is less common for smaller organizations, and the responsibilities associated with this role often fall under the purview of the project manager. For efficient resource allocation, many project managers use kanban boards, seamlessly integrating this visual tool into their workflow to enhance organization and optimize resource utilization.

Many items are categorized as resources: material goods, time, your budget, and the people themselves. The resource manager is tasked with deciding what is necessary for given initiatives and how to most effectively leverage these resources.

Resource management has many benefits and advantages, including enabling businesses to plan and budget appropriately, using the skillsets of team members effectively, and building transparency into the process.

8 best practices for small business resource management

1. Have a project plan in place.

As part of your project plan, determine the resources you will need to complete the project and meet your goals, fulfilling the requirements for the initiative. This should include your budget, the timeline, benchmarks, and the particular skills you will need, among other elements.

Of course, the project plan is a blueprint for the entire initiative, so it will encompass areas, such as communication methodologies, a profit and loss (P&L) analysis, and more. But the resources section is key because it will dictate what, precisely, you need to tackle the project successfully and serve as a guide for helping you find them.

2. Use flexible software.

Software will allow you to keep track of the resources you have and need, as well as provide you with data like key metrics and analytics, invaluable insights that will enable you to more effectively leverage and acquire resources in the future.

There are plenty of systems that incorporate resource management features, and there are even some that are dedicated to the process. Take, for example, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Despite its name, it can be used for small businesses in addition to large ones — some systems are geared toward medium and small organizations.

3. Centralize resources.

Using software or other systems, centralize your resources so that everyone on your team has access to what they need to complete their responsibilities successfully. Ensure that everyone involved knows where to find given tools and has the permissions level appropriate to their role.

By creating a central repository, you will improve efficiency and save time that might otherwise be spent on hunting for the appropriate and necessary resources for the project.

4. Choose a foundational project management methodology.

There are many project management methodologies to choose from — Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban, and Waterfall, to name just a few. Because resource management is a subfield of project management, it’s important to choose a methodology that aligns resource management with your overall project management strategy.

Typically, organizations rely on one specific methodology that they follow for all or most projects. Working with the project management team, review your procedures and consider which methodology is most appropriate for your organization and team.

5. Have scalability in mind.

You’re a small business now, but you may not be forever. You are more than likely looking toward growth. In order to evolve as an organization, your resources must be able to pull their weight. So, as you build your resource base and allocate specific team members, physical items, and budgets to individual projects, always have scalability in mind. Are they flexible enough to grow with you and extend beyond their current capabilities? This is necessary for the health of your business.

6. Underscore collaboration.

In order to effectively maximize the value of your resources, team members need to work closely together, collaborating to make the best use of everything you have and leveraging them as a team. Ensure employees understand with whom they should be working and why collaboration is so important — not just to any one project but to the entire organization and its ability to thrive.

7. Anticipate the unknown.

There are many things that can occur that are simply beyond your control as a leader or project manager. It’s still your job, however, to anticipate the unknown — challenges, threats, and obstacles. When you’re in the planning phase, consider everything that could possibly go wrong, and create a plan for resolving these challenges. That way, if the worst does happen, you will know what to do.

8. Continue to review your resources and strategies.

Your resources will, of course, change from project to project. As your organization and its projects evolve, continue to assess and reassess the resources and strategies you have in place to support your efforts. Consider the abundant data you have at your disposal, evaluating how you and your team members are using the resources you have and still need.

For small businesses, project success depends on numerous factors, but a well-honed resource management process is one of the most critical. Think about how a dedicated project manager could help you reach your goals as an organization, and ensure that you have made resource management a central facet of your business strategy and plans.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.