Entrepreneurs can sell almost anything that someone else wants or needs. Aside from products or professional services, creative entrepreneurs can also sell unsolicited projects or project management expertise for things that are yet to materialize.
In short, entrepreneurs can sell non-tangible, forward-looking projects through the leverage of intellectual capital, creativity and innovation. Thus, entrepreneurs can employ very minimal cash of their own in a projects-based business compared with capital-intensive ventures such as manufacturing, retailing, hotel operations or trading.
With prudent cash flow management, entrepreneurs can build wealth from an idea whose time has come without taking a big mortgage on their homes. Progress billing together with bank- or investor-financing with the contract as security might be most of the funding that the entrepreneur needs to complete the project.
Selling Project Management Expertise
When a business owner or government agency, say, the US DARPA or HSARPA solicits a Request for Proposals for a certain project, the bidders will essentially be chosen based on the financial bid and technical bid. Here, the technical bid will almost always feature project management expertise. This is to ensure that the project can be completed successfully.
Thus, a good reputation in the implementation of prior projects is of key importance including the demonstrated expertise of the bidder in the specialized technical skills that the project owner requires.
Another point in focus is that selling project management expertise is not limited to the act of selling to the project owner.
Entrepreneurs also sell project management expertise to sources of project funding such as banks, investors or grant providers. Funding institutions or venture capitalists are more likely to do business with entrepreneurs or organizations with known management reliability and efficiency.
Likewise, entrepreneurs sell their project management expertise to industry networks such as sub-contractors, joint-venture partners or suppliers for better payment terms, on-time deliveries, better line of credit and other benefits. Cooperation and collaboration on projects multiply resources that the entrepreneur will otherwise not have.
Finally, entrepreneurs also sell their project management expertise to the general and/or specialized publics. Winning the support of the public will minimize potential risks to the project such as protests to stop the project or poor sales during operations due to bad publicity. Small corporate responsibility projects that support the bigger project demonstrate the entrepreneur’s project management expertise.
Selling Unsolicited Projects
Entrepreneurs in real estate development will typically sell unsolicited projects through the scale-model, the community master plan, the house models plans, the virtual model, and/or the feasibility study. They will first try to sell the project to a financier or team of financiers then ultimately sell it to the end-users.
However, creative entrepreneurs like Donald Trump, when he was still starting out, first sold his unsolicited real estate development projects to people who are technically not his regular employees like the sales agent or broker representing the property owner; some lawyers to determine the legal feasibilities of some of his ideas and how to solve certain legal issues; to the architect who made the building plans; and to the public via newsworthy events.
Researchers are also like project-based business entrepreneurs in the sense that they sell ideas for unsolicited technology projects or study projects to win grants or research contracts through any of the following:
- One-page Concept of Operations or CONOPS
- One-Page Proposal Abstract
- Proposed Methodology
- Project Proposal
Note that creative entrepreneurs engaged in projects-based businesses are actually selling plans rather than selling tangible, finished products. Packaged with the plans are assurances that they can complete the finished products through a demonstration of their integrity and reputation.
Creative Business Project Management Fundamentals
In summary, these are the main points of creative business project management for entrepreneurs who are about to venture into a projects-based business:
- Projects are mainly about intellectual capital, creativity, innovation and the reputation to succeed.
- Projects-based businesses infused with creativity and sound planning will typically require very minimal cash to generate bigger amounts of sales.
- What entrepreneurs actually sell is the simplified plan first then detailed plan second backed with assurances that the project can be completed.
- Anybody can be a project stakeholder.
- Project management expertise equates to good reputation.