Is Experimentation Part of Your Strategy?

If not, it should be. The rapid changes of 2020 taught the sleepy small business owner about change. Conducting planned experiments throughout the year, as part of your strategy, can make change easier for you…plus you will have an arsenal of results and data to draw upon quickly. So what am I really talking about?

What do I mean by experimentation?

By experimentation, I mean make a small change in the way you do business and see what the result is, sort of a controlled “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” exercise. You can file it under the heading of continuous learning, which, like continuous improvement, should be part of your small business owner’s DNA.

Marketing Experimentation

  • Never tried (fill-in-the-platform) for your business? Pinterest? Instagram? TikTok? MeWe? Does your research show your target hangs out there? Great. Experiment. Establish your presence there, get engaged, and see what happens.
  • Have you only marketed in your local region? Try a different city, state, or even country.
  • Want to try an ad that is a bit different for you, maybe even one that you consider wacky? Awesome. Try A/B testing, and see what happens.
  • Are your customers Gen Xers, and you are curious if Millennials might also be a target? Great. Add targeting Millennials to your marketing plan….just make sure the bulk of your marketing is still aimed to Gen X’ers.

Product Experimentation

By now we all know about the digital pivot in 2020. What else can you do?

  • Dip your toe in the water with one online course (just in case you have not gone there yet!). Or put two small courses up at the same time and see which one does better.
  • Already have a course about dogs? What about cats? Does that make any sense?
  • Not to fixate on dogs, but if you have a retail store and you know lots of your customers have dogs, try offering dog accessories for sale.
  • Is it time to finally write that eBook this year?

Some Caveats

Keep the following caveats in mind.

  • Make small changes and track the results. Consider this your R & D Department. Keep your core business practices that are working in place. Your experiment is an additional practice (which may or may not be temporary!). This is really about learning through experimentation.
  • Before you start, decide what success will look like, when you will stop your experiment if it is not working, and how you will make your experiment part of your core business practices if it is successful.
  • Conduct a debrief after your experiment. What did you learn? How can you use that information to increase the success of your next experimentation?

Conclusion

Experiments help you expand your thinking and gather data that you can use to improve your business. Some of your experiments will fail, and some will likely succeed. When you do your business planning, build in experiments. Make them part of your business model!

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Robin Suomi, MBA, is an experienced small business expert and founder of Startup to Growth. She has worked with thousands of small business owners through coaching, mastermind groups, education and training.  Robin believes success is rarely accidental and her passion is to help her clients set and reach their goals. Working with clients remotely through video platforms, she helps clients answer their technical business planning and execution questions as well as supporting them while they explore their potential. She encourages clients to dig deeper, dream bigger, and works with them to create their tangible Success Steps. Check out the website for ongoing virtual Small Business CoachingSmall Business Blueprint CoachingMEG (My Entrepreneurial Group) Connect andMEG Startup mastermind groups. Email info@startuptogrowth.com with your questions or to set up a free 1-1 consultation.

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