Is Your Internet Business Stuck In A Rut? These Two Lessons Can Help You Out!

Written by geordiejimb

Topics: Internet Marketing

How new solutions are born...Having a degree in Computer Science, years of I.T. experience in technical support and software development, and years of experience as an Information Technology Business Analyst you might think, as I did, that I was well prepared for the move to Internet Marketing, but it wasn’t as smooth a transition as expected.

This article is a dissection of that transition, with two valuable lessons that I have learned, that can be applied to anyone coming into Internet Marketing, regardless of your background.

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My Background

In order to properly explain the lesson I need to set the scene and give you a quick tour of my background.

After graduating in 2002 I worked in a number of I.T. related jobs – technical support, software development, and eventually as a Business Analyst.   Business Analysts are mostly the requirement owners of a project, although in most companies they tend to be involved in the entire life-cycle.

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Business Analysts

Business Analysts are all about preparation; our role is to accurately capture the Business needs, document the requirements, and translate them, so the development team can develop the software to meet the needs of the client (see the image above for an all too common project life-cycle, hopefully it makes sense now! :) ).

Here are how I see the Pro’s and Con’s of being a Business Analyst as it relates to moving into Internet Marketing:

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PROS

Focused on Requirements – this is the bread and butter of any business analyst job, gathering, defining, and documenting user and system requirements, typically given to you by non-technical staff, and translating them into functional and technical specifications for your I.T. department and software developers.

The requirements are the single most important step in any project, get these wrong and everything that happens afterwards will be wrong also.

Detail Oriented – A good business analyst captures all of the details, no matter how small they may be. The more detailed and accurate your requirements are, the easier time your development team will have in developing the software you have asked for, or the easier time you will have developing new processes and work flows.

Process Driven – Are you currently doing something at work that needs changing? Do you know what you want to achieve but have no idea how to get there? This is another role for your business analyst – capturing current processes and developing new ones.
Working out better ways to achieve the same goal, determining how a change in Law or rules, or the addition of new software or staff into one of your processes, all falls to the Business Analyst to work on.
In the case of an Information Technology Business Analyst, we look for software and I.T. solutions to our problems, in addition to process improvements.

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CONS

By role are not typically action people – As an analyst we typically spend time focusing on the what’s and why’s, and then hand things over to a development team to implement, or back to the business unit to make process or staffing changes.

As a result of this, the analyst becomes less of an action-taker, and implements very little. They research, document, track, but don’t implement anything they recommend.

Too detail oriented – Requirements gathering and documenting is almost a science. It has to be done right to as much detail as required to get the job done within the pre-defined scope of the project.

Details are crucial in accurately capturing the specific needs of your client, and to enable the analyst to appropriately translate those needs into technical requirements for your development team.

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Lessons Learned

As you’ll note, as a business analyst the vast majority of my time was spent up front of a project making sure we knew exactly what the project aimed to achieve, what the needs of the business users were, and making sure we documented everything perfectly.

On almost any successful project a large portion of time is devoted to the requirements and getting them right before any action is taken on implementing the solution.

When I first started Internet Marketing I thought I was perfectly suited to it – I spend my time looking for solutions to problems and preparing to get them resolved. I had computer skills; I’ve been building websites from scratch since ’97, I know how to develop software, I know how to manipulate images, and I’m even pretty decent when it comes to writing.

What I didn’t realize was that my years as an analyst had conditioned me to prepare – to think and plan every last detail, not to act and not to do.

Lesson 1: Internet Marketing is a Profession, treat it as such!

Internet Marketing isn’t just a hobby, it is a profession all of its own – whatever background you come from, and whatever skills you posses, you are going to need to learn more skills.

Also, you need to review the skills you have and recognize the ones that will help you in your new venture, regardless of what you did before you will have some useful skills.

This lesson can be summed up as Understand What You Know, and fill in the gaps.

Lesson 2: Successful Internet Marketing is about Taking Action

Doesn’t matter how much you know, or how much you prepare and plan – if you don’t take action you won’t succeed, plain and simple. When I first started I estimate I probably spent 90% of my time learning and analyzing, and maybe 10% actually implementing what I learned.

Now, the opposite is true – I spent 10% of my time learning, and 90% of my time doing.

One important point to make is that doing isn’t just keeping busy, that ‘doing’ time is active constructive work that is designed to earn me money. It might be building a new niche site, tweaking a sales page for split testing, testing out new headline formats, writing email campaigns, or articles for site promotion.

This lesson can be summed up as Learn to Act. Learn something new, and then act upon it immediately.

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Starting Over?

If I had to start all over again, I’d recommend at least a 50/50% split – half your time learning, half your time doing. Over time as you pick up new skills you will be able to spend less time learning and more time doing.

What you know doesn’t mean a thing unless you act upon it!

What have you learned from trying out Internet Marketing?  Let me know in the comments below please!

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