success, business, scientific method

The Success of Your Business? It’s a Theory… by @artistsedge

success, business, scientific methodby Debra Russell | Featured Contributor

In last month’s article, Is it Failure or Feedback? I introduced you to a new paradigm – “there is no failure, only feedback.” That framework is the foundation for this month’s success skill:

How to Use the Scientific Method to Create Success

Do you remember the Scientific Method from school? Perhaps you’ve relearned it through your children. Or perhaps you’ve suppressed that along with most of what you learned in school – no worries! Let me refresh your memory:

The Scientific Method:

  1. Observe a problem, issue, or phenomena (For example, I never get to blogging.)
  2. Devise a theory to solve the problem or explain your observation (I don’t schedule it, so it doesn’t happen. If I schedule it, maybe I’ll do it.)
  3. Devise a test to determine the validity of your theory (I’ll schedule 3 blogging sessions a week at 3:00 PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next 3 weeks.)
  4. Measure and Record your results (I did it on Monday and Wednesday, but Friday just didn’t happen. Every week, it was the same.)
  5. Evaluate your results and assess your theory in light of your data. (Don’t try to fit your data into your theory) Then adjust your theory as necessary (Well, maybe 3 days/week is too much. Or maybe by Friday, I’m too tired and stressed about other deadlines.)
  6. Rinse and repeat (New problem, I am not blogging on Friday. New Theory with Test: How about just doing 2 sessions, at 3:00 PM Monday and Wednesday. Let’s try that for 3 weeks…)

This is a great way to address time management issues (as I demonstrated above). But what has this got to do with your business?

In this world of lightning speed change and a challenging, not to mention, highly competitive business environment, a business must be agile in order to create long term success.

And with the limited funding currently available for most small businesses, you can’t afford to put everything behind an untested product or strategy. Unfortunately, just because you are passionate about your product, doesn’t guarantee that the marketplace will buy with equal passion.

However, if you approach each move you make in your business using the scientific method, you will be able to test before you invest. In business, this is referred to as “Proof of Concept.” And if your theory pans out, you can take that proof to the marketplace and use it to attract investors and entice new customers.

But if, as frequently happens, your theory is disproved (in other words, your idea/product bombs), then you won’t have invested your entire bankroll into this small test and you will be able to shift, adjust, or completely change your product or marketing strategy and test your new theory.

In addition, there are a few principles that underlie the use of the scientific method, that are intrinsic to being a successful entrepreneur.

Measure Your Results

Very often new business owners do everything they can think of, all at once, and hope for success. I call this the “Throwing Spaghetti Against the Wall” strategy. And some of it might even stick.

However, I’m betting that you aren’t actually measuring your results – let alone able to link which results came from which strand of spaghetti.

Let’s face it, measuring is boring, right? It’s time consuming, painstaking and not very sexy, right? WRONG!!

Measuring is the sexiest thing you can do in your business! Being able to look at your results in black and white numbers – or even more sexy – in graphs and pie charts, Oh, Baby! Very sexy!

Seeing the growth of your business in a clear chart, honestly, for an entrepreneur you can’t get more exciting than that!

And it’s not rocket science. You don’t have to do calculus to come up with these numbers. Just keep track. And if you think it’s hard to create a graph – Check out A Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Excel Graph. Or if you’re a Mac – just Google it.

Limit Your Variables

Of course, if you’re trying everything at once, it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell what’s working and what’s not. Let alone be able to replicate the data (and remember, if you can’t replicate it – then you have a fluke, not proof!). In order to really know what your results are and where they came from, you need to try one thing at a time and measure your results.

There are really two aspects to this principle:

  • The size of your data set must be large enough to be statistically significant
  • You must test one variable at a time

Ask any marketer, most business owners are impatient when it comes to results. But very often, you need to give an ad enough time to tell whether it’s successful.

For example, if you run an ad on Facebook for one day and get 15 click-through’s but only one sale, you don’t know if that ad is successful. Your data set is too small. You need to have the patience to give it a real chance, to get enough data to evaluate before you can decide if it’s working or not.

But, then, if you decide it’s not working – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – change ONE thing and run it again.

If you think the image wasn’t good enough – just change the image. Don’t change the image and the call to action and the content and the landing page. If you change too much at once, how will you know which change is creating your results?

Evaluate your results using logic, not emotion

And finally, it is critical to remember – it’s not failure, it’s just feedback. It’s JUST DATA!

It doesn’t mean you’re going to fail. It doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. It doesn’t mean only disaster lies ahead.

It was just an experiment testing a theory. It’s just data.

So tell me, what experiment will you run this week? Please share them in the comments!


Debra RussellDebra Russell, Certified Business Coach, founder of Artist’s EDGE, Certified Master Results Coach and Master NLP and Hypnosis Practitioner, uses her business knowledge and ability to facilitate change and growth to help small business owners create a prosperous and sustainable living doing what you love.

Debra specializes in small business and the Arts and Entertainment Industry and has delivered several innovative programs for entertainment industry trade conferences, Universities and Colleges and private organizations across the United States and in Europe and Australia.

As a fan and follower of, Debra is thrilled to offer women business owners her expertise in the day to day management of your small business and support in overcoming the challenges to success we all face as independent entrepreneurs.

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