In January, many people set goals for the coming year and determine the specific steps needed to carry them out. Goals can involve ongoing activities, such as swimming three times a week to get in better shape, or clearing off one's desk every afternoon to make it easier to begin each morning with clarity of mind.
Goals can also involve projects, which typically have a beginning, middle and end. For example, introducing a new product or service, implementing proprietary technology at the back-end, breaking into a new market and becoming a Certified Payments Professional are some of the many projects ISOs and merchant level salespeople have taken on with much success.
No matter what your next venture will be, first conduct research to determine the project's feasibility. Use the Internet; interview people involved in the area you're interested in; find out how much opportunity the sphere holds and what would be required of you to jump in; study the competition and determine what only you can offer; and then assess whether serving the vertical would be in sync with your overall business goals.
Also, just because something can be done now, doesn't mean it should be. For example, perhaps you'd like to open a new office, but doing so now might stretch you too thin, whereas if you focus on improving customer service instead, you could acquire more than enough resources to establish a new location next year.
If you green-light a project, define exactly what it is and what its objectives are. Brainstorm alone and with others. Pin down your expectations. Also assess your skills and capabilities. What do you know that will be worthwhile to the project? Where are you weak? What can you learn or acquire, and in what areas will you need to seek assistance?
Fears might surface during this process. Perhaps, you're talented at sales, but have never done well on tests, so you've avoided the CPP exam. If so, seek others who have overcome similar difficulties. Find out what strategies they employed, and come up with your own plan. Ask mentors to guide you as well.
Once you have a clear idea of what you can do and what you'll need to delegate, get your team in place. Pick folks who will become fully committed to the venture's success.
While you may become the overall project manager, your team can help you determine the timeline, tasks involved, and who will complete each task. Be flexible. If someone suggests a process unfamiliar to you, consider it strongly if it has provided good results for others. Decide how progress will be monitored, and implement your plan
Close down the project when completed, and evaluate the results. Get input from all participants. Look for what went well and lessons learned that can be applied to other projects. Then, do an even better job next time.
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