Do the ideas swirling around in your head feel tangled and disorganized? Are you thinking and thinking, but it’s just not getting any clearer? Do you feel stuck? Well, to build your business, you can’t just think your way into clarity – you’ve got to act.
You need to run the experiment.
NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last week (February 18, 2021) to collect samples that might help us detect ancient life on the planet.
It’s another huge achievement in space exploration. But, think about all of the experiments that had to happen to get NASA’s scientists to this point.
Perseverance’s mission wouldn’t be possible without the knowledge gained (and questions raised) by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012 and is still operational today.
Of course, we wouldn’t be on Mars at all if we hadn’t dared first to go to the Moon – which wouldn’t have been possible without countless other experiments.
Take a step back and you’ll see that our exploration of the cosmos is made possible by an unbroken chain of experiments.
Critically, one experiment lays the foundation for the next – even the ones that fail. A scientist learns from any experiment, regardless of the outcome. And, they don’t start out with the answer – they’re chasing a hypothesis.
As you build your business, what if you viewed it in the same light?
A curious scientist would:
- Lead with questions – not answers.
- Have a hypothesis and test it.
- Check the variables and try again.
- And, follow the evidence, wherever it leads.
They would doggedly pursue the question that’s at the heart of their experiments until they were satisfied that the results were repeatable and yielded some new truth – the answer to their question or, perhaps, another question entirely.
BUILD YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXPERIMENTS
At 321 Liftoff, I’ve always helped the same core customer – entrepreneurs at the idea stage, looking to start and grow their businesses with confidence.
When I started, based on the research and interviews I had done, my hypothesis was that those customers needed a combination of services.
First, education. They needed to learn the basics of business: mission, strategy, pricing, marketing, and more.
And, second, coaching – because they also needed accountability, prioritization, and help navigating the space they found themselves in.
So, that led to, what I call, version 1 of my services.
But, when I think back to my very first experiment – that first client relationship, it felt clunky.
My client was happy, but I wasn’t satisfied with what I’d created yet.
I completed the contract as is to ensure the experiment could run a full trial. And, throughout the experience, I kept a journal of my observations and ideas for how to alter the next round of experiments.
Doing so, helped me prioritize which parts of the experience to change and which I wanted to keep.
Fast forward to today, dozens of experiments and iterations later and the way I provide my services looks fundamentally different – I have much more clarity about how it all works and how to move it forward.
But, I couldn’t just think my way into the clarity I now have. No, I needed to work my way forward with action – one experiment, one action, at a time.
Despite the story you’ve told yourself, you don’t need to be a smash hit out of the gate. Your effort, if sustained in a direction, makes refinement possible.
CLARITY COMES WITH ACTION
Here’s a maxim that has been a guide for me and former clients: clarity comes with action.
Thinking and thinking and thinking can only get you so far. There comes a point where you’ve got enough of a hypothesis to run an experiment and start your business.
The results of that experiment, and likely several experiments after that, that will help you build your business – and grow it – with confidence.
So, instead of ruminating, start acting. Think less like a perfectionist, and more like a scientist.
What experiments do you need to run?
ONE MORE THING
Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.
It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.
It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.
And, that’s why it’s worth it.