When you walk into many small businesses, you’ll see sticky notes around people’s desk. These reminders are prompts for projects or other items they are working on.

For a lot of small businesses, the “project plan” only exists in the owner or manager’s head.

Around the world governments and big business see the value of project management. Why do some small businesses not take advantage of project management techniques and tools? Why do they not get help from companies who provide project management services?

Project management makes sense for even the smallest business

Project management is a management process. A management process is a series of actions, changes, or functions that bring about a result.

Applied to project management, the “actions, changes or functions” are temporary endeavours to develop a unique product, process or service i.e. bring about a result.

All businesses (whether for profit or not for profit) are or should be focused on results. Small Business projects include: setting up a company website; setting up premises in a new location or expanding the current location; or developing a new product.

Some misconceptions

Why do small businesses choose not to adopt project management? What are the misconceptions about those reasons.

My business is small and I don’t need the overhead of project management or a project plan

All small businesses, at some point, need to apply for a loan, conduct a marketing campaign, expand, or supply larger companies that have formal management processes. Using project tools like stakeholder analysis, communication planning and risk management will assist in those tasks. Project management gives businesses a competitive advantage over competitors who do not.

I am an expert in the industry so I don’t need project management

Many small businesses are started by a person who has expertise in their industry. Having industry expertise is critical to business success. However, industry expertise does not mean project management expertise. Expertise in running the projects needed to convert industry expertise into successful business outcomes is also critical. A quick Google search shows some of the top reasons small businesses fail are: poor planning; lack of management and lack of capital. Project management, while not a guarantee of success, can assist small businesses prevent some of the common causes of failure.

I can’t afford project management or project management consultants

A common myth is that to implement project management processes or use a consultant requires a huge investment. Would you conduct your own legal services, do your own tax accounting or design and build your own website? If you want to stay in business you wouldn’t. Just like other professional services, small businesses should look for help in implementing project management processes. In some cases, let someone else manage the project end-to-end. By taking away the burden of the day-to-day project management and letting you “run the company”, these service providers can actually save small businesses money. The project management consultants can help you build your own framework and tools that you and your team can use on future smaller projects.

I need to act now and can’t wait; project management will slow me down

Rushing into action without understanding all that is required to achieve success is dangerous.  It can lead to negative outcomes. Poor planning and rushing ahead could lead to serious harm to the business. Project management provides the tools to analyse if an initiative will, or will not, provide the desired outcomes. Planning, budgeting, risk assessment and defining outcomes is vital for success.

It will require more time to follow project management practices

Having a process to follow may add time to the duration of an activity.  If you added an extension to your company’s building, would you rather a quality end result, or would you prefer it done quickly but with lots of problems (leaks, bad workmanship, etc)? High quality building works always use project management tools. Given that small business well is essential and project management can help ensure things are done well.

Project management can actually reduce the time needed.  It can remove delays and misunderstandings when all the players know what must happen when.  They know what is expected of them and can plan to deliver.

Project management is valuable for any size business. By getting help with managing your projects you reduce risk and will achieve success from your plans.

Are you working on a project for your business?

We can provide practical project management to help you achieve the outcomes you’re seeking.

Some of the best ideas for your business’s future may be in the minds of your staff.

But how do you tap into those ideas?

Over the years suggestion boxes in staff kitchens have worked to some extent. But these do not allow ideas to be built upon and expanded. There is limited visibility of suggestions by others in the business.

Staff engaging in the business by collaborating using a future wall.

Use a Future Wall

If you have renovated a house or built a new house you may have created a “mood board” with pictures, cloth swatches, paint samples etc that you might use.

A Future Wall is similar. 

It is a place, physical and/or virtual, where you and your staff post ideas about potential futures for your organisation. Whether it be pictures, articles, quotes, ideas, goals. 

Your Future Wall will be unique just as your business is unique.

No two Future Walls are the same. It will evolve and develop. 

For some businesses it is only used during strategic planning periods. While for others it becomes part of their day to day culture with a constant gathering of ideas to shape the business.

A Future Wall may be used company-wide or just in certain sections of the business.

Why Have a Future Wall?

Future Walls are a fun way to engage with your staff, especially during times of major change or planning.  It’s an opportunity for staff to think about your business creatively.

You might be surprised the talent that you will uncover.  Staff across the business can come together to share ideas and make suggestions that may not be in their “area”. 

This can help break down silos between teams.

A Future Wall can encourage continuous improvement and innovation. You can gather ideas that you and your leadership team may not have thought of. 

How Do You Create a Future Wall?

Your Future Wall can be physical, for example a pinboard/whiteboard in the staff room. Or it can be virtual. There are multiple online tools which can be used as forums. You can also set up a chat space on your intranet. Or you may choose to do both. 

The physical and the virtual Future Wall’s each have their own benefits. 

A physical wall in a location regularly visited by all staff keeps it front of mind. If you have multiple sites, you might have multiple Future Walls, one on each site.

A virtual wall is great for businesses with staff working remotely.  It also provides a place for staff to post materials they find on the internet. 

You might want to have both a physical and a virtual.

Making your Future Wall a success!

The key to the success of your Future Wall is creating excitement for participating and shared ownership of the wall across the organisation. 

  • In the early days this may be achieved with fun competitions. For example, offering movie tickets for the most creative, or most original idea. 
  • Encourage managers to include time at the wall in their team meetings.
  • Set up a team with people from multiple areas and levels of the business to gather and collate the information posted on the wall. This can then be communicated back to everyone.

    For the Future Wall to be sustainable staff need to see that their ideas are being considered and used to shape the future. Again, this can be by leadership stand ups at the wall and leadership communications on how an idea has been adopted.


Would you like to encourage your staff to become more engaged in the business and collaborate on how to build into an even better business than it is today? Create a Future Wall.

If you would like help setting up a Future Wall that fits your unique business give the E2E The Change Agency Team a call.