Entrepreneurs Should Think Like Scientists
It turns out that the same process that makes a good scientific experiment makes for a good startup. According to an article on Entrepreneur.com by Jayson DeMers, like a scientist, the entrepreneur needs to get answers to questions such as, “who your customers are, what they want and how to give it to them.”
The article provides a guide for entrepreneurs to employ the scientific method to intelligently approach their startup journey.
1. “Ask a question.”
A scientist typically observes a natural phenomenon and begins to develop a curiousity about it. Likewise, business owners should be seeking answers to questions related to “what exactly your customers need.” DeMers says it is essential to specifically articulate what problem you are addressing to be sure that it is clear enough to build a business on.
2. “Research your subject.”
While scientists consult past research to build their theories upon, entrepreneurs conduct market research by gathering insights from potential customers and existing competitors.
“Find a selection of people from within your target audience, and find out what makes them tick. Hold a focus-group meeting, or use existing market research to build a full perspective of your main users,” DeMers says.
Thanks to the web, it’s easier than ever to monitor your competitors, get a blueprint for how their business model works and determine what is missing that you could improve upon.
DeMers says that like a scientist you need to be familiar with what has worked in the past for similar companies, but you must bring something new to the table to improve on what has been done before, creating your company’s unique value proposition.
3. “Create a hypothesis.”
When a scientists begin an experiment, they start with a hypothesis. For a startup, this is the business plan.
“Hypotheses are important because they formalize the assumptions you hold. If you never take the time to acknowledge that your assumptions are, in fact, assumptions, you could potentially continue along an inefficient or incorrect path and never realize your expectations are based on your own preconceived notions.” DeMers says.
Avoid complacency and constantly challenge your own assumptions to make your business model as strong as it can be.
4. “Experiment to test your hypothesis.”
Just as scientists run experiments to test their hypotheses, you should test yours. For example, your hypothesis could be that women between the ages of 18-35 are likely to prefer a product with a particular feature, DeMers says. To prove it, create a survey and if appropriate, “develop the idea and present it to a group of beta testers.”
5. “Review your data and form a conclusion.”
The data from the tests that you have conducted must now be analyzed. To evaluate your marketing campaign, for example, DeMers suggests utilizing a tool like Google Analytics to measure results. “You’ll need to measure everything you can and review that data objectively to form a definitive conclusion that answers your original question.”
6. “Publish your results and invite others to expand.”
DeMers says that a scientific study is presented to peers to review and scrutinize the work. Some will try to disprove it. Entrepreneurs don’t have to completely reveal the results of their market research, but it is helpful to get some feedback on your findings and use it to come up with ways to improve your product.
“Science is always changing, incorporating new information into existing models, or adding new models to a greater body of knowledge. Similarly, it’s up to you as an entrepreneur to constantly challenge your assumptions, build on what you already know, and make adjustments to stay relevant in your environment,” the author concludes.
To read the original article in its entirety, please visit Entrepreneur.com.