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Letter From Lugano

Starting an Online Business: 4. Using ‘Deliberate Practice’

James Atkinson - Friday, March 28, 2014

Today's photo is a little Ticino courtyard by the Hermann Hesse museum in Montagnola.


Today I want to look at how the 'Deliberate Practice' can help your online business. Deliberate Practice involves focusing on a small number of skills to become really good at them. There are two streams in which you can use deliberate practice to enhance your eBusiness: -‘technical skills’ and ‘human value’ development:

When you adopt a form of Deliberate Practice the first type of feedback you receive should be from a mentor in your specific field. So, if you are a dog trainer you should start expanding your expertise in the dog training field.

Technical Learning & Feedback

Technical learning is an important component of running an eBusiness. All online business and sales process is technically complex and expensive. Technical learning means all aspects of your eBusiness that are NOT related to your sales subject matter.

Technical knowledge is not the sort of expertise you will share with your customers. It’s simply all the knowledge you require to properly run your eBusiness. And believe me there’s a lot to learn.

Most of your internet technology requirements can be outsourced. However, you do need to understand the capacities of internet technology and you need to keep up with online technical changes.

‘Human Value’ Development

This is the knowledge you eventually share with your customers. Constructive and constant learning and feedback of your ‘human value’ is vital. “If you’re in an accepting world, then people don’t develop or get better,” Dr. Ericsson says. “They’re in a kind of time warp.” Thus, it’s better to be continually challenged through your feedback.

To achieve expertise you need approximately 10,000 hours – which on a full time basis takes around three years. I’m not suggesting you improve your expertise for three years before you begin your eBusiness. Start NOW and keep improving!

For those who want faster outcomes, anyone can start applying the principles of deliberate practice and see pretty good results within a reasonable time.

So, I’ll repeat – this sort of expertise is NOT the area of product delivery such as video making, writing skills, pay per click and so on – it is the expertise that you SHARE AND PROVIDE to your customers. For example, the dog trainer is not going to provide video making information to his/her customers. What will be provided is dog training and ancillary information.

When you begin interacting with your customers the process will be in an educative form. YOU provide the information as your customers’ advocate. The customers in turn provide the second form of feedback. To learn about this second form of feedback.

The next image illustrates the learning and educative feedback – upon which you act:

Using the concept you can become highly skilled in providing “human value” to your customers. That is, you can become an expert in your own field – no matter what that might be.

After you adopt a form of Deliberate Practice and receive appropriate training and feedback from your mentor /trainer you are in a position to implement an appropriate eBusiness Strategy. This stage - like the mentoring component - is also a continuing training, educative, and feedback process – only this time the feedback you receive is FROM your customers.

That feedback comes from the educative content and social activity that you create from your subject specific websites. The constant feedback enables you properly to address the continuing concerns and fears of your customers – which in turn increase your expertise.

The next image shows the process:

Using the above concept you can become highly skilled at business-building activities such as: market research, survey analysis, pay-per-click advertising, social networking, search engine optimization, sales process management, cash flow management, Return on Investment (ROI) analysis, or any eBusiness skill you need to master.

Examples of Technical Learning and Deliberate Practice

A process occurs whenever you do anything for your business – run an ad, create a product; take an order, and so on. With every process, there is huge potential for improvement and better performance.

What you don’t measure you can’t improve - so a key to improving process is to measure it.

Then you can brainstorm and get ideas to improve that process, try out your new ideas, and measure the results (feedback). Online businesses are ideally placed to measure performance and get feedback to improve, since almost everything done online is measurable!

Here’s an example of how it can work. There are many good online tracking systems including our own in persuasionworks; you have a wealth of data from competitors; and it’s easy to survey to find out what customers want. Let’s say you want customers to spend MORE - each time they buy one of your products. First, you set a specific goal of say 10% higher average dollar value per sale.

You then brainstorm some ideas on how you might achieve the changes – for example:

  • add quality affiliate products to the backend,
  • add cross-sell suggestions to the shopping cart, so the customer is shown complementary products he / she may be interested in; and
  • package some related products together.

Make the changes then measure the results (feedback). Then apply what you’ve learned to make further improvements.

Remember, there’s plenty of room for improvement in ANY process. When you do so you’re taking steps to improve a specific area of business by using the tenets of deliberate practice: setting specific goals, continuously finding ways to improve, and getting constructive feedback that you apply to achieve even better results.

You can use this method to improve almost anything including your own acumen or product list of eBooks – anything really! When you make even small improvements across multiple areas of your business, you harness the immense power of exponential growth. For example, you only need to make a small 10% improvement in only three areas of your business to actually actual increase in income is 33%.

And to almost DOUBLE your income, you only need to increase performance in each area by 25%! That may seem a lot to increase - but with the internet you get an almost instantaneous and measurable response to marketing and process ideas – see: Creating Business Growth.

I am endlessly tweaking and trying out new ideas – and they all eventually lead to increased profits.

In my next blog I'll discuss The" Hi To Buy" Gap.


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