You Need to See Your New Business as a Laboratory

(listen to the audio of this blog; available as a podcast)

The journey to build your new business will not be a straight line. Your path will start and stop and start again, possibly several times.

But, don’t let it get you down. It’s not you. It’s normal.

In fact, it’s supposed to look this way – because creative energy, motivation, and drive can be difficult to sustain over time.

You’re also using new muscles, developing new work habits, busy interacting with customers, marketing, relearning how to handle money, and so much more.

Understandably, anyone doing that many new things at once is going to feel a little exhausted at the end of the day.

As you’ve no doubt learned before in life or in your career, steady execution takes practice and patience. It takes reps.

Imagine any Olympic world champion on their very first day. Do you think it looked anything like their performance at the games in 2022?

Of course not. So, why should your new business be any different?

There’s nothing shameful about starting from the beginning.

On the contrary, it’s brave, bold, and inspiring.

This stage won’t be easy, of course. Success requires perseverance and a growth mindset.

And, for that, it helps to get a little context – to take a step back, zoom out, and see yourself and your new business in a much larger picture. Specifically, what the process of growth really looks like.

321 Liftoff | You Need to See Your New Business as a Laboratory | Coaching, Consulting, & Strategy for New & Aspiring Business Owners


As the famed science fiction author and biochemistry professor, Isaac Asimov, once said:

“A neat and orderly laboratory is unlikely. It is, after all, so much a place of false starts and multiple attempts.”

Think of it. Imagine that laboratory.

You might see the untidy piles of books with hastily scribbled notes in the margins; the overflowing recycling bin filled with crumpled paper and abandoned ideas; the stacks of notes and journals revealing the frustrations of someone who’s at square one; the many lists of to-do’s. Sound familiar?

Well, this is what the journey to start something new looks like.

It starts with an idea – a hypothesis. Then, you start asking questions. Eventually, you find some answers.

But, while some of those answers help you move forward, some are detours that move you sideways or backwards, and some just raise more questions.

And, some of your experiments fail, but you learn something with every test.

Sometimes you burst forward with an unstoppable energy and sometimes you feel stuck.

That’s the creative process. It starts and stops and starts again.

In your new business, maybe you:

  • Don’t have consistent sales, cash flow, or profitability yet.
  • Haven’t found a good routine to manage your energy and motivation yet.
  • Aren’t seeing steady returns on your marketing investments yet.
  • Or, you haven’t nailed the customer experience yet.

Don’t beat yourself up. These starts and stops are normal.

The key word is “yet.”

You’ll get there. Stay focused and work the problem.

Every experiment will get you closer to what you want, but only if you believe change is possible and then consistently show up to make that change happen.

Above all, I believe your new business depends on you holding onto that mindset.

321 Liftoff | You Need to See Your New Business as a Laboratory | Coaching, Consulting, & Strategy for New & Aspiring Business Owners


In the meantime, you’re here experiencing the start and stop nature of the creative process.

Instead of being frustrated by it, learn to embrace it.

Think like a scientist and analyze the situation:

  • What were you trying to accomplish? Why? And, what was the result?
  • What worked? How do you feel about that?
  • How were you showing up when it all went down? Were you playing at your best? Was it in your power to influence? And, if so, what’s holding you back?
  • What would you do differently next time? Why?
  • What’s the next experiment you might run? Why?

Use each stop or setback as a moment to reflect and plan your next move – because it’s not just your business that can grow from this moment, so can you.


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.

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