Experts Always Go Back to the Basics
For the past few months, I have watched my son progress as a badminton player. It began with some lessons from a private coach, as well as practice and matches at a local club. It was clear early on that he had a knack for the game, and it’s been amazing to watch him transform from a beginner to a competitive player in a relatively short amount of time.
So, is it time for me to start making plans to watch him in the next Olympic Games?
Maybe not just yet. As much as he enjoys the game, and as dramatic as his improvement has been, he seems to have “hit the wall” in the last few weeks. He isn’t improving as quickly as he once was, and doesn’t seem as motivated to play.
It has been difficult to find the cause. The coaches point out (and he agrees) that his early progress was based largely on his natural talent, but that if he wants to get better, he needs to work on fundamental skills like basic movement, footwork, and fitness. To my son, this feels like pure torture – he wants to learn the fakes, tips, and advanced techniques that world champions use. Who wants to spend time on fundamentals, when there are so many more entertaining things to try?
This is a common problem in a lot of disciplines, and something that is especially relevant to online business. That’s because the web is absolutely littered with companies guided by young men and women with obvious passion and natural ability, but a shortage of fundamental skills.
Beautifully designed websites are easy to come by, and inexpensive templates, low-cost programmers, and open-source development tools are everywhere. That means you are never more than a few mouse clicks away from someone who is talented and passionate about their work. Sadly, however, hiring someone with innate skill and desire to work creatively doesn’t necessarily guarantee you future success in Internet business. Websites aren’t static creations, and if the functional side of your site doesn’t live up to the artistic vision, the aesthetics stop being important.
Any business website where the customer actively interacts with your organization in a significant way (like placing an order, entering information into an online database, and so on) requires thorough planning, testing, and execution at several levels of the project. Hardware profiles need to be carefully planned and selected, especially if high visitor volume is expected. Beneath the layout, the website’s coding needs to be tested and optimized to ensure that it’s responsive and functional, not to mention compatible with numerous computer and mobile platforms. Navigation has to be simple and intuitive, or customers will become frustrated and leave.
The requirements don’t stop there, either. Advanced monitoring needs to be in place to keep the site running and make future improvements. Power and bandwidth have to be provisioned so that there are never outages or downtime. Trained staff need to be hired or retained to deal with unexpected events. The list could go on and on, but the point is that, without any of these elements, you will eventually lose out to other competitors who have mastered the fundamentals of online business. The other things that come later – such as marketing, web animation, and so on – might be lots of fun to work with, but mean nothing to your company if proper attention hasn’t been paid to the basics.
My son just turned 14 years old, and has many years of badminton (both competitive and recreational) left in him. He can afford to enjoy the process and learn the fundamentals at his own pace. Your business doesn’t have that luxury – when it comes to your website and its performance, work with a team that has the fundamentals down first, and then enjoy the bottom-line benefits that come with it.