By Anja van den Berg
Some of us are born inclined for entrepreneurship and with a nose for opportunity. They can “feel” it without quite knowing how to explain it.
That said, the scientific element of entrepreneurship is the one that can make or break the logical foundation of your company. One of the best ways to approach an entrepreneurial endeavour is to use the same structured method that scientists use to explore the universe’s vast mysteries.
Here is how to use the scientific method to achieve success as an entrepreneur.
Start by asking yourself a few questions
Before starting any business, you would need to explore several possibilities, including your audience’s need, product development and marketing.
Whether you are building a product or providing a service, ask yourself what exactly your customers need. The core aspect of your business should be solving a problem for your clients. This step is where brain work comes in. Suppose you genuinely battle to put the problem and solution into words. In that case, your idea might not be strong enough to fuel a successful business.
When it comes to marketing your product or service, develop your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Build your USP by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why would my audience (customers) be interested in buying my product or engaging with my brand?
- Why would my audience choose my offering above that of my competitor’s?
- What will pique my audience’s interest and facilitate engagement?
- What elements of my brand are most important to display?
- What media are used by my target audience?
Next, do your research
Once you have answered the most important questions for your brand, you need to find as much information as you can on the subject. For entrepreneurs, there are two primary sources for research: potential customers and competitors.
Find a selection of people from within your target audience and a focus-group meeting, or use existing market research to build your primary audience’s full perspective.
Keep your friends close, and your (business) enemies closer. Research their approach and think about how your enterprise can be different from theirs.
Now, create a hypothesis
Scientists create a hypothesis to summarise what they expect to find when experimenting.
According to an article on Entrepreneur South Africa, the hypothesis is the business plan. But, on a much smaller and regular level, business owners form micro-hypotheses on a daily basis.
“If you never take the time to acknowledge that your assumptions are, in fact, assumptions, you could potentially continue along an inefficient or incorrect path and never realise your expectations are based on your own preconceived notions.”
If you take the time to continually examine, test and polish your assumptions, you will build your business on an accurate and functional model. In your marketing efforts, run multiple campaigns simultaneously to find your audience’s best message and medium.
Review your data and form a conclusion
Focus all your business activities on Return on Investment (ROI). Choose methods to help you calculate precisely how much money you spend versus how much new business that money generates. The scientific method is valuable because it is designed for a specific purpose: to gain objective knowledge and refine that knowledge by continually testing it in real environments.
To get started with sufficient momentum, you are going to need a solid idea. To support your execution of that idea, you are going to need a great team. Beyond those fundamental pillars of success, the scientific method is the best tool to create and maintain a lasting business model.