You never know unless you ask
A lot of the time in business we stick to our gut and do what we think is best. A lot of the time this works out. And a lot of the time it doesn’t work out at all. And whatever the ratio of good to bad is, we decide is acceptable and is as scientific as we are comfortable with.
At Symbra, we’re beginning to see a different way to make key business decisions. We are quick to label our key assumptions ‘assumptions’ and find ways of testing whether or not those assumptions are true or not. Then, we can move forward with acting on our validated assumptions, and retool our unvalidated assumptions.
Here’s an example of how this works in real life:
For the past three or four months we have been developing a new product for entrepreneurs and small business owners. We knew that we needed to make our services more accessible to everyday entrepreneurs. We knew this because of the feedback we had been getting in our sales meetings. So we sketched us an outline of what this product or service might look like. We worked on it as a team for 2-3 months using the collective experience and wisdom of the team, and then we made a long list of all the assumptions that we had made to get to that point. It was a long list.
It’s one thing to assume how our market needs to be served, it’s an entirely different thing to ask them.
Then we brought a small group of entrepreneurs together and asked them non-leading questions about their current reality in business to attempt to validate those assumptions.
While a focus group is only one way to validate assumptions in business (and it’s easy for focus groups to mislead you), because of the work that had come before it we were confident that what we heard from the group were reminiscent of the larger entrepreneurial market. It was an awesome experience to build relationships with our customer base and learn of how they need to be served.
It’s one thing to assume how our market needs to be served, it’s an entirely different thing to ask them. Try this approach out the next time you have a business decision to make, and let us know how it goes!