Let’s talk about the scientific method and startups. Yes, brought to you by another great Harvard Business Review article, this one written by Chiara Spina and team. You know I love science, right? Hello. So when I saw this article I had to put my spin on it and share it with you.
Overall, the article was a study. It looked at two different entrepreneur groups. One group started businesses without any guidance, help, or support from the authors. The second group was taught the scientific method and was coached to use this method in their overall assessment, approach, and practice of their business.
The end result was that there were more entrepreneurs who quit and who pivoted versus the group that didn’t receive the training. This trained group also had more revenue than the other untrained business leaders. So, what does that tell you?
Being trained to work through your business from the perspective of a scientist armed the entrepreneurs with valuable information to make the best decisions and take the best actions, even if that meant calling it quits.
The training involved helping entrepreneurs understand where they had generated their business ideas off of facts vs. gut feelings and intuition. (Scientists use facts, right?) They also taught them how to collect data effectively, analyze it, and look for the facts and the truth in all instances, not be blinded by hope or wishes. Think back in school when you were learning basic science and you had to do an experiment.
A great example is: does this object float or sink? You would create your hypothesis and then you would test it, throwing in wood, paper, etc. The truth was the truth. You saw the results or the data, and you had no choice but to report back on the results. Then when it came time to build a boat out of the right materials, you knew what to use.
The same holds true in your business if you allow for it. You can’t build your business around ideas that don’t float. You have to be focused on creating an idea, testing it, pivoting as a result, and doing what works to generate revenue and success. Realize the study didn’t exist to teach individuals to run scientific businesses but to simply think scientifically about their business. In other words, keep it real, don’t inject personal bias, accept the results, then do something about it with the new knowledge you have.
It was an interesting concept. How many of us create blind spots in our own businesses because we simply want our businesses, our customers, etc. to be a certain way? And how many of us spend way too much money or time, or do we stress so much over something we keep willing to happen instead of seeing the facts or results and using those to make our businesses better?
Are you willing your business to be better? Create and test your hypotheses.