Fail Fast

Rapidly testing your business idea has never been more important. Acknowledging when the results go against you and failing fast helps you to learn and adapt quickly, reducing uncertainty and risk.

Think big, test small

Figure out what you are trying to achieve and set a clear goal. Big business ideas are easier to test if they are broken down into smaller, manageable chunks. Be sure you can test your assumptions and think about the types of data you need to gather as evidence.  Remember you’re trying to validate or invalidate your idea, and make evidence-based decisions.

Turn ideas into actions

Facilitated collaborative workshops allow your team to generate ideas on how to test the proposition, pick the best ones, suggest possible solutions and prioritise them in terms of Effort against Impact. These potential solutions will determine the experiment you create, including how the proposition is presented to the customer, and how key questions can be answered and measured.

Tools for testing and measuring

The form of the experiment will be determined by what you want to measure.

For example, you may wish to discover the best way to engage with a target audience using different social media ad types. Will an Instagram Story engage people more than a Twitter post? Does video content register more with people? A social media campaign with a changing series of ads would allow you to test this, driving traffic to your web page to further engage potential customers.

Visitor interactions can be measured using analytics tools such as Facebook Ad Manager, HotJar and Google Analytics, to deliver quantitative data around what people are looking at. Tools like SurveyMonkey and Lookback are great for gathering qualitative data, specifically from surveys and customer interviews,  allowing you to uncover why they are interested in what they are looking at. 

Quantitative data helps you collect statistical facts and see the big picture, while qualitative data adds the details to allow you to understand people’s motivations, thoughts and attitudes towards what you are presenting to them.

Run. Review. Pivot. Repeat

Taking a fast, iterative approach to testing allows you to turn results-based insights into actions, to pivot the experiment based on learnings and to repeat the process quickly. You’ll see what works, and what doesn’t, letting you rapidly try out different approaches to how the proposition is presented, and how you are capturing evidence.

When failure means success

At the end of the experiment, all data gathered can be assessed to uncover valuable insights and to identify opportunities for the future. The experiment may not deliver the expected or hoped-for results, but this does not mean failure. As a test, even if the outcome is a negative one, it’s still a success. Failing, and failing fast, means learning fast, allowing you to pivot and try another approach quickly. You won’t waste effort and expense on something that’s not going to work, and that’s a success too, right?

Key Takeaways

  • The goal of testing ideas is to answer questions to inform your next steps. There are no right or wrong answers, only learnings and insights to point the way forward.
  • Test with your target audience. If your idea is to address a specific customer issue, you need access to your customers to check if your idea resonates. Without that interaction, your idea remains an assumption.
  • Incentivising customer engagement encourages participation but risks skewing the results. It can also influence survey or interview answers as people often won’t want to offend and will tell you what they think you want to hear. Try to avoid offering incentives. 
  • Be clear about the types of data you can collate and what they can tell you.  Quantitative data is great for answering broad questions like “Do people prefer interactive social media posts or short videos on Twitter?”. However, it’s important to capture qualitative data too.