The scientific business process

by Eban Escott, Sep 26, 2017

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

One of the pitfalls of newly established start ups, is a lack of market research, simply put, not knowing who the customers are and their motivations. Looking at the scientific method of a business process is an excellent way to raise the odds of success as an entrepreneur, encouraging you to think about the future and adapt a continuous modernisation mindset. Here are the 6 steps of the adapted Scientific Business Process. 

Planning your business process.

Idea generation can be incredibly difficult. Once an idea for a product or service is formulated the first hurdle is determining the target market. It is easier to find that answer if the right questions are asked. A scientist's approach to a natural curiosity should be the same as a business owner questioning all the possibilities in front of them in terms of product/service development and growth. 
At the very core of any business should be the solution to a very real problem faced by the target market. If at the idea generation level, the problem is not easily put into words, then the solution for said target market is not strong enough to build a successful business from. At the end of the day any business idea needs to answer these 3 questions:

  1. Is this interesting enough to make someone else engage with it?
  2. What part of branding is most important to display?
  3. Is there a specific type of media that is used by the target market?
Once these questions have been asked, the next step is to gather information. 

Step one: The idea

Research is critical especially for scientists as it forms foundations that later influence further research. Scientists tend to look towards past research conducted by fellow scientists; however for entrepreneurs, this step involves investigating what potential customers are after or what current competitors are doing. 
Choosing people from within the target audience, focus-group meetings, and other market research tools can yield useful, relevant, and meaningful data. Looking at competitors can deliver insightful information that can lead to the discovery of how to differentiate and in some case can even be the lightbulb moment needed to find a competitive advantage. Having a unique value proposition is what distinguishes one company from others working in the same space. 

Step two: Gather information

Having a testable hypothesis is the way scientists summarise expectations from an experiment. Hypotheses are very important because they formalise assumptions. On a broad scale, an entrepreneur can use this stage to start a business plan. On a micro level, this step provides business owners with a way to micro-hypothesis daily operations. Using hypotheses can ensure a business does not wander down an inefficient or incorrect path for too long. 
By employing the agile methodology, entrepreneurs ensure time for consistently testing, challenging assumptions, and refining preconceived assumptions.
This method will encourage business owners to strive for the most accurate and functional model for their businesses. Codebots, which powers all the WorkingMouse project teams, has embraced the agile methodology wholeheartedly.

Step three: Hypothesis

Closely linked to the previous step, having a hypothesis alone isn't enough. Testing is very important. A scientific idea cannot be published without proper testing, and this applies in business too. During this step, entrepreneurs usually enter the world of market research by running multiple campaigns simultaneously and performing A/B testing.
Alternative testing can also include beta groups from identified target market being exposed to different content to determine which is most effective. 
After the codebots have generated up to 92% of the code used by the developers at WorkingMouse, all project team ensures that user acceptance testing is completed at the end of each sprint. This ensures the product-market fit is found before the final release.

Step four: Test

Like a scientist would review data from all tests in order to form conclusions and determine if the hypothesis was correct or not, entrepreneurs also need to collect data and review. An experiment in the lab or A/B tests run on a website mean nothing without an objectively, measurable way of recording the results. Qualitative data is quite common in market research and is harder to measure. This type of data can come from focus groups that ask for customer opinions. The information is valuable, but figuring out how valuable the data is can be a whole new challenge. The point of collecting and reviewing data is to form solid conclusions about the hypotheses made in previous steps. 

Step five: Collect data

The final step that scientists take is it to publish their results. When a finding is initially published, it is peer-reviewed and other scientists set out to improve or disprove the results.
Although it is not necessary for an entrepreneur to publish his or her findings, it is highly beneficial to receive critical feedback.
An example of this is if a company just developed a new mobile app, the first people that are exposed to it are core customers who will give the company valuable feedback. This can be interpreted as the "peer review" process.

Step six: Conclusion

There is much to be valued from the Scientific Method and adapting it for business will bring objectivity and a methodology that involves continually testing and improving product/ service offering. Similar to the way science is constantly changing as new information is discovered, as an entrepreneur, assumptions need to always be tested in order to stay relevant. 
Being an entrepreneur is not something you can learn from a textbook. There is no one single reason one entrepreneur is successful and another fails spectacularly. The formula is more than just an awesome idea, it requires a network of resources, motivation and a willingness to put in the hard yards. To increase the odds of success, the rationale behind the scientific process can be adapted and repurposed as 'The Scientific Business Process.'