Whatever your business is to you, it’s important!
So, how about if we look at your business as if it were a laboratory and see what we can do to make it MORE successful through a “thought experiment”?
A brief history
Einstein was a pretty creative chap, and his success was built on thought experiments. He would think about racing along on a particle and looking back and seeing other particles behind him travelling at different speeds or in the other direction. That’s how he came up with the theory of general relativity!
What this means for you
In this thought experiment, how about we think of your business as a laboratory.
A laboratory is just a place to run experiments.
And before you panic—we’re not going to do anything crazy—we’re just going to think about your business in a more scientific way for a moment.
Why treat your business to a thought experiment?
Behind any well designed experiment there is curiosity—and a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a statement that links a variable with a result.
So, for instance, in my own business, I may use this hypothesis: if I increase the number of speaking engagements I do over the next three months, I may sell more books.
But how do I test that?
The first thing I need to do is measure how many books I’m selling now. I could pull the numbers from a variety of places: my Amazon back office, my book website back office, and my personal stock notes. Then I compile them in one place. This first number is massively important as it gives you a baseline—a starting point for comparison.
How important is a measurement baseline?
I’ve worked with companies who have brought me in to increase sales, and while they knew what their sales turnover was, they weren’t measuring the number of incoming leads, quotations or orders. So this was the first thing we had to do before we changed a thing. And it’s the same for you: measure what is, before you start changing any of the variables.
What are we measuring?
The next job is to identify which variables you think you’d like to alter.
For my book, I’ve already hypothesised speaking engagements. I may want to break this down further into different types: like engagements at business workshops, business events, weekend conferences where I can also sell a product, charitable monthly meetings. I can then measure how well each one increases book sales. I may even want to track traffic to my websites as a result of each talk, too.
What about making changes?
The next thing is to run the experiment, i.e. make the proposed change and then measure the results. After this, we need to compile the results and make sense of them.
First we look in relation to our original hypothesis (for me, that means asking: Do book sales increase?). Then we look for anything else we can learn from the data. It may be that the charitable events increased the sales more.
What we can observe is a correlation (two things that are related), but we’d have to do another experiment to work out why—and that’s the subject of a whole other article.
Now you can go do it!
So there you have it.
Now you’re ready to design your own experiment for your business. Have fun with it.
You’re not going to break anything (except maybe a sales record or two) by setting up a sensible hypothesis and changing a variable.
If anything, this process will demonstrate very clearly that you are in control of your business results and encourage you to make sensible changes more often.
A final note
Remember the most important point though: test and measure. This isn’t a suggestion to throw caution to the wind and overhaul everything at once.
But do bring the fun back in. This isn’t reckless. It’s good business sense.
Ask any successful marketer—they are wired to vary, test and measure. Try it! Map your own variables, change one at a time, and measure the results.
Your experimental results may surprise you!