More and more small businesses have recently been concerned about their resource management. But this shouldn’t be a surprise as to why. The events of the past few years have completely changed the way the world does business. And unfortunately, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are more likely to feel the impact of the changes.
With the pandemic shaking up remote and hybrid work and the Great Resignation following shortly after that, it’s becoming clear that businesses need to invest more in their workforces. Likewise, they need to become more cognizant of the work they are putting on their employees. This is why the focus is shifting to companies implementing some more resource management practices into their project workflows.
If you’re the manager at an SMB looking to make the jump to resource management read on. See why this practice isn’t just for the “big boys” anymore and small business owners can benefit greatly from some minor tweaks to their scheduling process. We’ll also provide a few tips and suggestions for finding the perfect resource management tool for taking your business to the next level.
Why small businesses should manage their resources
In the past, enterprise resource planning (ERP) was something only large companies engaged in. And it wasn’t deemed necessary for small businesses to bother with the allocation and management of resources. But times, they are a-changing. And here are a few reasons why this practice is getting picked up by SMBs.
Helps remote and dispersed teams stay in the loop
Remote work was on the rise prior to the pandemic, but we all have seen what’s happened in the meantime. Since more companies are adopting permanent remote and hybrid policies, it’s important to know what your workforce is engaged in when you aren’t all co-located. Resource management software can give managers a bird’s eye view of what’s happening, scheduling issues that arise, and a rundown of projects’ progress – all without micromanaging your team or spending hours on a Zoom call.
Always schedule the right amount of work
When scheduling new work for an employee, it can be difficult to determine if you’re putting too much on their plate. And if that’s the case, you run the risk of burning your people out. On the other hand, maybe your staff doesn’t have enough to do, and that can have similarly negative effects since those who are bored and unchallenged at work also perform poorly.
Resource planning helps you achieve a goldilocks situation with your employee scheduling – not too little, and not too much. By tracking their utilization and keeping an eye on the different projects running simultaneously, you can ensure that everyone is working with the right amount of responsibilities.
Prevents costly delays
We all know that time is money, and delays can cost a lot of money. When your staff is waiting around with nothing to do, it doesn’t feel great to be siphoning money. And unfortunately, if some people’s jobs are dependent on another person’s, it can be difficult to prevent such issues. With resource management software, it’s possible to drastically reduce the number of delays that occur within the project’s lifecycle. Oftentimes it’s as simple as visualizing when tasks begin and end to ensure that the right jobs are starting on the right date.
Develop good habits for growth
When we’re children our parents try to instill good values early on, brushing our teeth, and eating our veggies. For businesses in their early stages, it’s necessary to do the same thing in a way. By developing better resource management habits you arm yourself for more sustainable growth.
For example, when you begin managing your resources, maybe you’ll notice that there’s no need to hire an extra freelancer, instead, you can just move some workaround. Likewise, it might not be necessary to buy 2 bulldozers, if you can get what you need from the one on hand. Resource management is a different way to invest in your resources that don’t require costly business-altering purchases.
Resource management software for SMBs
Here are some of the top-rated software for planning and managing your resources.
- Ganttic – a customizable Gannt chart for resource scheduling and management.
- Resource Guru – a lightweight resourcing tool with drag and drop scheduling.
- eResource Scheduler – a simple scheduler with financials and timesheets.
- Smartsheet – a spreadsheet-style planner with a birds-eye view of resources.
Choosing the best resource management for your SMB
Not all tools are created equally. So when choosing a resource management tool, keep in mind:
Nobody wants to spend an arm and a leg for software, although it seems like it’s often the case. According to Capterra, about 50% of SMBs spend between $1,000 to $10,000 annually on project management software. And another third of companies plan to spend between $11,000 to $50,000 annually.
There’s a lot of software out there that promises to “do it all,” and while that may sound lovely to ears, it can really hurt the pocketbook. Bulky, bloated tools with millions of features no one uses might not be the best choice for SMBs looking to dip their toes into the resource management pool. Especially when there are plenty of tools that can keep you running lean. A lot of software comes with freemium packages with limited capabilities. Or keep on the lookout for tools that have more flexible pricing plans where you only pay for what you’ll use.
Project resource management isn’t usually for one. Even if there’s a primary PM who’s doing the majority of the planning, it’s important to consider all the people being planned. Will they have access to the planner? Or will you export the schedule to another platform and email it out instead?
While the latter is much more time-consuming (which often defeats the purpose), the former can be more expensive, depending on the number of licenses you need and the number of people with access to the plans. Your best bet is to find resource management software that doesn’t charge for extra users. Or ones that make it easy to view the schedule via a shareable URL.
Where do you see your business in 5 years? Hopefully growing and thriving is in your forecast. But it’s necessary to set the wheels in motion now to get you where you want to be. It’s also important to consider software that will grow alongside you and won’t hold you back later on down the line. Be on the lookout for tools with built-in integrations in case you want to add more apps to your workflow. Or even better, software with an API helps you build your own specific workflow with the integrations you need. It’s also important that software can easily be expanded to incorporate more features.
Set your SMB up for Success!
Resource management isn’t just for large organizations anymore and in fact implementing these practices now can help small businesses grow at a more healthy pace. While also becoming more successful in the long run. Getting started today means you’re setting your future up for the best results.