Underlying Disciplines for a StartupTo startup, a new idea, approach at a business level is not always easy. Ideas are not the only resource you need and, resources are, indeed, scarce! To be the person can verify and develop an idea to business it needs a lot of work. It needs a lot work with yourself and your, wannabe, business, a solid strategy and several more skills, competencies and disciplines you need to employ to have a winning chance!

Project Manager for the First Time

Leading your first large project as a junior consultant is not an easy task! When I first found myself in that position (some long time ago) I was terrified. Too many activities, tasks, people and resources to be coordinated and managed towards a single objective/output.

My first thoughts were gray and gloom on what and how I should do but, later on, I just decided to handle the things! The decision was enough to impact my mindset and focus my activities towards specific areas. First, check what have to be done and how (contract), then by whom (process owner), until when (timetable) and in what cost (budget).

It was a simple recipe but it was an effective one. It helps me at the time and it work at many more projects along the way. To simplify the processes I want to handle, it becomes a habit for me and help me to communicate with clarity the requirements and the products specs to my associates and partners.

In order, though, to reach that result I should drawn resources, mindsets and approaches from a long educational process and couple them with various and diversified working experience in many fields (*including, sometimes, many experiences not related at all to IT, consulting and project management! *).

Simplicity and clarity become a standard in my mindset. But this result came after long hours of writing and erasing data, testing, verifyings, outputs, products, and amounts in order to come up with a single sheet of paper, summarized requirements, accountability, timetable and budget.

After this first project, I become in the habit (bias if you like it) to try to write about everything I wanted to achieve either at a personal or at a professional level. and this discipline came very handily later on in my career!

Underlying Disciplines for a Startup

A startup venture is not always easy and does not, usually evolved in a linear manner!it is rather a chaotic and erratic prices with many inputs and hidden variables, called for constant attention! There are though underlying disciplines you should follow and practice in order to have a chance for success!

In every new venture either is a startup, a business development process, a sales, a presale operation, a marketing process, or anything else you need to focus yourself on developing or find effective substitutes (delegation) in 3 main disciplines: writing, growth hacking and learning!

1. Writing

Writing permeates every level of personal or business processes either providing clarity and focus on the important things should be done or defining the specifics of an activity (who, why, how, etc.)

Effective writing is the single sole multiplier to skyrocket your career and the development of your business. Speed reading, clear communication, and consists writing are basic skills required for everyone in modern business either in a company, as an entrepreneur, as a freelancer or as a solopreneur.

Writing as a business practice (in the form of business writing, copywriting, proposal writing, RFPs, etc.) provides a necessary substratum for the sum of business activities, with the exception of the graphics design (even though, a good business graphics, composition, image, etc, would not be stand with some few selected words or copywriting techniques).

2. Growth Hacking

Along to writing, growth hacking (i.e. using conventional and unconventional methods to enlarge a given output as the user subscription in a site, or the traffic) is the second most important assets to the toolbox of a modern entrepreneur! Growth hacking related to marketing, data and bending conventional rules in order to maximize the results of a process.

Even though today, have been seen either as a marketing or social media activity is not restricted only to these practices, but its techniques and approaches can be used in a variety of fields (i.e, training, copywriting, advertising, etc.).

Growth hacking related mostly to experimentation, and filtering the results in a way (as a sales funnel is) providing only the best of results of a process. This “funnel” is be exploited and fine tuned even more by additional hacks, experimentation and tweaks in order to provide even larger multiplying effects.

It is a slow process most of the times, requires a lot of research and learning in various domains of human knowledge and trying to guess, predicts or even “influence” consuming behaviors.

Even though today there is a large bulk of data can support many these kind operations, the extrapolation of usable patterns are not easily reachable since the mass number usually negates the matching of common behavioral patterns.

Adult training is a unique example since many training models of the past have stopped to give the expected results from the moment the education and training have changing in various ways and adults do not pay too much attention to knowledge but to quick “patches” can be gain effortless and provide various career advantages.

The main question in the training field has been lurking around for so long now it the “what is it for me” demonstrating the change of the traditional human priorities (dominance of education and knowledge versus the skills/competency) towards more self-oriented and private expeditions.

Especially in training and education sector, we need more training growth hackers (TGH) to tweak the new training schemes to more reliable approaches, more amicable to the audience and certainly more lucrative.

3. Learning/Training/Education

Besides the business growth, there is the personal growth. This relates to all activities related to “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey stated and most importantly to engage yourself in a process of constant learning new stuff needed to do your life and job a lot easier and much more profitable! Hacking yourself is an on-process activity should accompany to your life!

Of course, these disciplines are not the only ones, not even the most important ones. A list for an entrepreneur could include skills for leadership, accountability, focus, productivity enhancement, connection & networking of significant contacts, strategy drafting, planning, personal development, trust development, competencies for logistics, alliances building, affiliation development, team building, remote working, administration, understanding the business environment, goal settings, etc.

All the above, are excellent to have and, even more, productive to use them effectively. But I think that the most important ones, and the ones easily underestimated today, are the 3 ones I have mentioned above writing, growth hacking and constant learning!

What do you think?

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About Takis Athanassiou

Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! He frequent writes at his personal blog and at Leadership Initiative @Businnes! You can add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.