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Do You Know the Five Basic Steps of the Scientific Method to Help Your Business?


When running your business, it can come in handy to trust your gut instinct and rely on your intuition.

It’s important when reading people. It’s important when being creative. It’s important in a multitude of circumstances.

It has its limits, though. At a certain point, you need to start testing and measuring so you know what really is working instead of what feels like it’s working. That’s why we at Startup Connection recommend learning how the scientific method can help your business.

How the scientific method can help your business? Science class was a long time ago. What is it again exactly?

The five basic steps of the scientific method are:

1) make observations

2) propose a hypothesis

3) design and perform an experiment to test the hypothesis

4) analyze the data to see if it supports the hypothesis

5) propose and test a new hypothesis based on these findings. The scientific method is the basic set of actions that scientists use to make new discoveries and prove theories correct or incorrect

Why it works

Again, we’re not here to tell you to ignore your intuition or passion. It’s an important part of business, and often you’ll intuitively sense something that you’ll later prove to be true after rigorous testing. But, here’s the thing:  your assumptions are not always going to be correct, and the ones that are wrong can cost you dearly.

For example, maybe you feel like Facebook ads will bring in business, so you invest a huge portion of your budget in there. If you aren’t measuring those results and adjusting your hypothesis accordingly, you could spend thousands and thousands of dollars before it’s clear that you made a mistake.

If you instead created a small-scale test run with Facebook ads – using a limited budget and testing several variables like copy, graphics, and target audience – you could have more answers in a week than you would if you solely followed your gut feeling for two months. Maybe, you’ll discover that Facebook ads were a bad choice all together. Maybe, you’ll discover that only certain images work well. Either way, by testing it scientifically, you’ll have more information in a shorter amount of time, and you can use that information to optimize what you’re doing.

With the scientific method, you’ll have a track record of results, and can use it to make future decisions.

When it’s a big spot in a baseball game, the manager who pinch-hits a guy with incredible production against a certain pitcher is much more likely to get a positive result than the manager who puts a guy on who “felt like” he’d get a hit.

Things to note

Using the scientific method for your business isn’t just as easy as doing a few tests. To do it effectively, you have to be cognizant of some of the ways the scientific method can be undermined.

Firstly, beware of personal bias and seek to minimize it. When you go into an experiment, it’s only human to assume that a certain result is going to occur. Be careful, though!  It’s easy to interpret data in a way that supports your preconceived notion, which throws off the integrity of the experiment. Be sure to stay as objective as possible.  Remember, it’s not about being right; it’s about finding what works so you can be successful.

Secondly, remember that life is random, and its randomness can throw off your results. If you draw conclusions too early with too small of a sample size, you might not be identifying an actual cause-and-effect relationship. Early on, there are many factors that contribute to a result, so be sure to collect enough data for your results to become consistent and predictable.

The results are limitless

Science is having a dramatic impact in basketball. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors are revolutionizing the game of basketball after winning the NBA championship by shooting more 3-point shots than ever. As a result, other pro teams, and even college and high school teams, are shooting more 3-pointers as well. As long you make even 20 percent fewer threes than twos, the probabilities are in your favor to shoot threes. Intuition still plays a role because some players forget you still have to make some threes and keep shooting them, regardless of success.

We are not saying that intuition and creativity should be completely replaced by statistics and science.

In fact, the first phase of the scientific method is the intuitive development of the hypothesis. Rather, we are saying you need the scientific method and facts to help support, validate, and confirm the hypothesis. In short, as one of my colleagues always said, “Get the facts before the facts get you.”

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