Design for Quick Feedback

“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson

The great thing about business is that you can test ideas quickly to see if what you think or want to do is valuable. Small tests done quickly to get feedback from customers will go a long way towards pursuing or developing an idea further.

Yes, make a plan. Then try it out quickly to see if it resonates and creates interest and engagement.

Most things we see today are needed and businesses exist to give people what are known established needs. Things such as:

  • Car dealerships
  • Cleaning services
  • Grocery stores
  • Electronics stores
  • IT services
  • Banks

There is historical demand among the millions of people out there consuming such products and services.

If you are innovating on a new type of product or extending a concept, think about how to test your idea quickly by proposing and putting it in front of real customers. You can find out quickly via feedback how to further develop your idea or abandon it altogether.

The Terrible Idea of Trying Harder

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It is true that when we find ourselves in a hole, the first thing we should do is stop digging. Sometimes that pull to keep digging or keep trying harder can overwhelm our sensibilities. Instead of being smarter, we simply add horsepower and determination. It’s a terrible idea.

When something’s not working despite your honest, forthright efforts, the last thing to do is try harder. Better to think. Think of a new way that can yield different results.

We’re not automatons. We can use our brains to bend reality to our desires. So, a bit of strategy to help you in problem solving and getting new kinds of outcomes.

  1. Find space. Sometimes, when you are too close to your problems, it’s hard to see. Get away.
  2. Get a pad and paper. Computers and smartphones can suck you into convergent thinking. When you need creativity, a simple piece of paper and pen can open you up. Doodle for a second. Then do a brain dump. Get your mind to unlock.
  3. Push ideas out. You need to entertain new pathways. Let whatever you think of come out and keep pushing yourself to come up with ideas, no matter how far fetched, that can be considered.
  4. Try something new. Take a look at what came out of your creativity. Push a small action out into the world. Get someone to react. Send an email to a company or person to get a response and move the ball. Action creates momentum.

Sometimes we can get in a rut or we overvalue effort. In the age of automation and ridiculous efficiency, consider the tactical approach more of a commodity. Having clear ideas that stick in reality with creative thinking is what will tend to get results. Changing directions and continuously evaluating are your better assets to nurture.

Can you stop trying harder?

Repointing

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I don’t think too highly of simply working harder at something, especially if you are pointed in the wrong direction. It’s easy to turn off the brain and keep charging at what we are doing.

The awareness to look up and think about where you are headed can feel slippery and uncomfortable. Our habits can keep us in lock step. Being habitual can be pretty useful overall until we realize we are missing out on opportunities or something has changed under our feet.

I don’t know what is going to be different in the next five or ten years. But we can see that since we have automation, democratization of tools and knowledge and a global playing field, many things will certainly change.

It’s why repointing is so important. You have to keep questioning your position. Play it to its logical ends and ride the wave while you get benefits. But also work in parallel on contingency plans that open up new paths in light of change.

You can dip your toe and play. Join forums and subscribe to information sources that keep you clued in. Try out new tools and see where they make an impact. Keep designing and experimenting around your baseline business.

If you carry around the assumption that unseen forces are changing everything around us, then you can constantly question how you are pointed and test what your new directions might look like in terms of opportunities. It may lead you to more efficiencies, new audiences and a derivation of something that works.

How can you repoint and try out new experiments based on what is working?

You Can Always Have a Baseline

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Entrepreneurship and selling is hard business. The ambiguity and uncertainty can stump many people who are used to a well-paved path.

Do this and you get that.

Just tell me what to do.

You may know what makes money now. That’s a great thing to have. It may become boring over time, but for now, it is a baseline. And having a well-refined baseline is the new job security when it comes to entrepreneurship and growing a business.

You want to keep that baseline intact, working and efficient. The operational processes, sourcing vendors, customer acquisition and all the other pieces of the puzzle that you have figured out should be a cash cow that you can tap into. It’s a culmination of your value. It is knowledge.

Other people new to your industry or niche will have a hard time figuring out all the nuances.

And when you want to grow, you will face new challenges. You will be back on a path of uncertainty. And you could fail. What worked before may not apply to your next horizon or desire, even if it is somewhat related.

One strategy is to try new ventures and ideas in parallel so you don’t tamper with what is working. You keep what is known as a cash cow and experiment with new ideas, products or markets in a separate project altogether. This keeps your baseline running and funding you.

If you do try to enhance what is working and get tangled from the complexities of growth, then your recourse is to always get back to what you have known to work and retry again when you have further insights and motivations.

Ultimately, smart entrepreneurship and selling is about mitigating risk and going with what works in the marketplace and in nature. Your ability to manage that risk going after something larger can be tied to how you manage your baseline as part of your overall strategy.