Test: Great Business Idea/or Punk

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Used to have to Invest Big Time To Find Out

No Struggle To Get Investment Back


Little Invested: Can Walk From Dogs, Business concepts or ideas that in practice do not work.


Now Have All Sorts Of Ways To Check Viability,

Almost No Expense, If Do It Right

Used To Call It "Run It Up The Flag Pole

See Who Salutes,"

Try Something Else Until You Get A Winner. Go With What Works

Expand To Next Step If Works.


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Surprise Results From Tests Develops Winners, Drop Losers

Hired My Self

We used to have to rent a building with a years lease, pay for signs, borrow money to stock inventory, staff the business and then take a year of loosing money to decide if your big business idea was going to fly or not. If did not fly, you lost most everything, including the year of struggle.

Now if you have some new angle or need that you can fill, that nobody else seems to be catching, or not exploiting to the max, you can test it and expand in steps and if keeps working you expand the tests some more, your tests are making money and you just figure how to expand the tests to everywhere in every way, figuring out the best most feasible ways to go.

Much of the time the tests can be self supporting. Amazingly, if you have no budget to run some test, you figure out your likely never needed money to find out what you want to know.

You can do in days almost for free on the Internet, what cost thousands and took months only ten years ago.

Instead of testing 10,000 of something you test 1,000, being careful to spread it out so timing was not the sole determiner, you have to use your head here. Main thing is getting a hunch early on what you thought would work likely will or likely wont work. If indications are wont work, then look at twists that may change the outcome and do a test of a few of that. Soon you have a "hunch" what the conclusion will likely be if you extend the test.. if promising you enlarge it.

You call that flying by the seat of your pants.

The point here is you have NOT bet the farm, and two years of your life to find out if your revolutionary business concept will build or not.

Simple formula, If it works, do more of it, if it does not pay its own way, or soon will, you stop doing it.

You do not have your heart, sole and all your money in it, you can walk away, you do not have to prove anything to anybody, including your self. You are NOT obligated to MAKE something work. You are going with "what works" naturally.

If indications are it does not, on to bigger and better, what does work.

Looking back I see we wasted years beating a lot of dead horses, trying to prove if we beat hard enough that we could get them to up and go.

The trick now is to have so little bet on the horse, walking away immediately from the first indications it is a sick one. is wise and easy.

Now instead of one, project you can run ten up the flag pole at the same time, keep going with what seems to be working, drop anything not responding, constantly add new, you will likely wind up with something working that totally surprised you, and normally you would not even have tried.

Here is a relatively unrelated story.....that you might learn from. My customers thought I was wonderful, I stocked exactly what they liked. Only problem the number of people that had the same taste I did was very limited, so I decided why I had too few customers despite my stocking : all the right things according to my customers.

People that didn't agree with my tastes never came back I finally realized, I only talked to those who liked it.

Then a wiser person told me the secret. You offer one third of the merchandise you think is terrific, one third what someone else thinks is terrific and one third you hate.

Testing this out the next year, it doubled my business. Stocked stuff I thought I would never have in the place an embarrassment and I never the less made money on it.

Off the track a little but you get the idea.

Second Slightly Related Story:

One of our suppliers accidently or through some misunderstanding sent us a case of xyz, something I never understood they even stocked, since it was so poorly made etc looked terrible etc etc low quality, would never sell, I could hardly believe they even sold such a thing.

We received it and I was upset for them sending it so told the assistant manager to "send that case of crap back."

A week later, I asked did you ever get around to sending that case of xyz back? She said "no, I didn't." I said "why not?" She said "because we had sold them all."

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Test: What "Marketing" Works
Harlan Jacobsen Views from Research Thru Nov. 1. 09