Is practice really everything ?

February 23, 2009

« Practice is everything ». This is a quote from Periander mostly used to celebrate the benefits of team effort. Does this apply also to Start-ups  considering the brand new areas they are targeting ? Is practice really everything?

To use a sport metaphor, before coming back to business environment, no one become a world champion at his first try at a sport. Each try is rich of experience and lessons. Each failure moves us closer to the goal. Which, by the way, means ones must acknowledge the failure to gets its benefits. (I’m likely to post on this subject later on).

So, back to practice: beyond the repeated movements, the obstinacy and the effort, practice also implies experience, exercise and habit.

Applying it to business and Start-ups, this word with all its meanings comes as a complete program: Start-ups need to build for experience, need to exercise and build habits. What does it take for a Start-up to build experience?

  • A vision and a goal – both driving the strategy,
  • An operational plan – driving the daily practice,
  • And step back on regular basis to analyze results and adapt the plans.

This implies proceeding in successive cycles and no leapfrogging.

Experimenting is also an important tool for a Start-up. Of course, not everything must be an experiment, but as a Start-up seek to address new needs, habits are just not there yet, and experimenting is a must have in order to build the experience.

All Start-up build a strategic plan, most carefully select markets and targets, establish their value proposition and order their troops for the battle. Not all Start-ups make the time for their officers to step back after each battle and study results, comparing them to the initial plan and learn from the battle.

And here we are, back to another meaning of practice, putting in practice what we have learned that is “applying” experience to prepare for next battle.

So, yes, after all, starting from experience, effort, exercise, habit, up to analyzing and applying, practice is indeed everything.


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