Whether it was learning to play a musical instrument, joining a sports team or cracking a sketchbook, we all found certain skills in our younger days. And when we discovered our aptitudes, our parents and teachers encouraged us along the way, ensuring that, “practice makes perfect.”
But does it really?
What may have been more important to hear from our parents is that deliberate practice makes perfect. Now, as a savvy entrepreneur who is mindful of their time, how productive and effective they are, this statement rings very true.
What is deliberate practice?
Deliberate practice breaks your learning down into smaller, bite sized pieces that you can master within 1 to 3 sessions before moving onto the next piece. If you aren’t able to learn your task within that time frame, then you’ve likely bitten off more than you can chew. Consider the insights of Malcolm Gladwell:
“Practice isn’t the thing you do when you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good”.Malcolm Gladwell
Let’s start with the guitar as an example.
When you pick up a guitar for the first time, your first task won’t be to write a song. In fact, it won’t even be to learn someone else’s song. First, you’ll focus on the guitar itself. What is the head, neck, fret, body, output and why does each part matter?. Next, you’ll learn how to hold the guitar, then you’ll start looking at the strings and what notes they represent and how to understand whether they’re in tune or not.
Sure, presumably you could pick up a guitar, watch a YouTube video and learn a song. It may even sound passable after you’ve put in countless hours. The difference is that you’re not practicing deliberately. You’ll walk away with one song under your belt and no understanding of the fundamentals needed to learn the next song.
Now, let’s think about how this applies to you as an entrepreneur.
It’s true that unless you own a guitar shop the example above doesn’t apply directly to your business, but the concept remains true. Understanding and building on the fundamentals is crucial to any task that you take on. Jumping ahead will only take up more of your time in the long run, and we know that you’re already on the clock 24/7 with no time available to waste.
If you have never worked in marketing before, it will not be beneficial for you to put your efforts behind every marketing avenue at once — media outreach, a poster campaign, setting up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and SnapChat accounts and running multiple ad campaigns across all platforms, etc., — simply to get your business off the ground. This will spread your resources thin, and no single task will truly be done well (similar to trying to learn a song).
Being deliberate about focusing on one or two marketing tactics, and giving yourself time to understand which is best for your business and your industry will focus your energy on delivering one or two really strong campaigns, even if you are new to the marketing world.
You run your own business, which means you’re expected to be an expert in all things – accounting, HR, payroll, marketing, finance and so on. As you take on new skills, being intentional with your time and intentional with your practice will ultimately save you countless hours and yield better results.
Looking to apply deliberate practice into your operations and now sure where to start? We’d love to chat and help you and your business reach new heights. Contact our team today!