Experimentation over research
Experimentation over research
Eric Ries talks about multiple good points on how today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses in his book The Lean Startup. The one chapter that stroke me the most, was the one where he was discussing about experimentation. Since many startups nowadays rely their new product or service solely on the results of a customer research study, qualitative or quantitative, they might alter the product/service in a way, that actually is not beneficial for the business. Growth wise at least.
People have different perceptions on what they think they want to purchase, and what they actually purchase. When a startup is relying solely on the study they’ve made, people who answered might think they want the certain product made this way, but in reality, when the company offers the product as the customer described it, the customer might realize that the product isn’t the right one, or the one they are looking for at all. Eric Ries discusses how startups should go straight out to the world with a product that they are testing out. The steps should be, to actually already start trying to sell the product or service, and as they do, they get genuine feedback from the customers. Since the customers have already tried the product/service, they can give more beneficial feedback on what to improve and what is already good.
Before I read the book, I never actually had given any thought on whether you should first make a research on the product/service you are trying to create, or just go out and do a ‘prototype’ to test it out. But as I read through this particular chapter, I started thinking how this actually sounds pretty genuine and I began to understand how a startup should approach the new audience. With a ready-made product, the business can decide on which ways to improve it, because they have the customer experience already. They will also see much more defined results on how the customers use the product and what features are important and which ones are not. The key word in this process is failure. Since no one can grow or better themselves without failure. And if something, I’ve learned that in today’s business world, with countless amounts of startups, the ones that succeed are the ones who are not afraid to fail and try again.
At the beginning of starting our project Bodyfied, I thought we didn’t need any customer research, but a few months into having the project launched, I began thinking that maybe we should’ve done a research. Now I’ve once again shifted my mind, and I feel like our approach was good after all. Since we have had to make some changes on our customer approach and the content of our plans, only because we launched the service straight away, and we got real feedback right away from our customers. By unknowingly following the approach Eric Ries supports, we have actually been able to better our service, and soon (we might still need a few ‘not-so-good’ feedbacks to make our service THE best) we can start planning on how to hit the bigger markets, and maybe even get a slice of the incoming money ourselves. Who knows?