Throughout our school age years, we are given tests in school to see just how much we know about a subject matter. Remember all those late nights you stayed up studying to “pass” the test or to get an “A” on it? Or maybe you didn’t get an “A” because you didn’t study and felt poorly about yourself as a result. Just the simple word “test”, I think, raises, for all of us, our blood pressure at least a notch or perhaps produces a knot in our stomaches.
How can it not? Our society values tests as a measure, in some way, of our worth.
But lets think rationally about tests for a moment and set our emotions aside.
What does a test do? Tests focus on a fairly narrowly defined amount of information and through a series of questions challenges our knowledge about a subject area. The value of a test is that is shows us, withint that defined area, where we are doing well and where we can improve. The results of the test might likely produce a list of directions to explore to improve our knowledge, or help us understand why it was lacking in the first place.
Tests for these very same reasons play an equally important role inside your entreprenurial venture. By testing your ideas in the marketplace, especially in the start-up phase, if your growth has haulted, or when you want to launch a new product or division, you have an opportunity to identify new potential markets, clients, venues, add on products or perhaps even a better overall path to sell or market your products and services.
Unfortunately, to some extent, it is deeply engrained in us that tests must yield a positive “A+” result to demonstrate their worth. As children we were judged on the grades we recieved on those tests we took. As a result, it is only natural that as adults we fear running a test on our product and it failing. But test marketing is not only critical to your products ultimate success, but necessary to fail at, until you find the right way to position your product to have it sell at its highest percieved value.
It is far better to run some tests to find the right path for your venture to grow and flourish in, than to one day find instead your business doors closing because you never tested your markets reaction to your products or services, but instead just picked a direction you guessed was best or most wanted to pursue. A hunch about marketing can sometimes be 100% correct but can also be just a little south of where you really need to be and as a result be 100% wrong. Testing is critical to figuring out exactly where the right spot is! After all, you can be in the right neighborhood, but on the wrong street, and never find what you are looking for.
Tests can be simple and inexpensive to run. They don’t have to be terribly time consuming either. What you do have to do is try them out for some period of time to know that the results you get are representative of what you can expect to continue to get if you start to work the market you have defined by the test in a similiar way.
So, go ahead- run some test and by all means, grant yourself permission to fail a few. Thank God if you do because they will save your venture from costly mistakes and a huge loss of your time.
No matter where you are in the development of your venture, it’s not too late to test your concepts to make sure that you have the right marketing plan to bring you the happiness and profits your work and creativity deserves.