“How is this useful in real life?”
We would often ask this back when we were students and our teachers were pounding out their lessons on us.
The things they would ask us to learn and stick in our heads seems so abstract and unconnected to us that we often wonder why we were even studying it in the first place.
Maybe, one of these “useless” lessons for you was your science teacher’s discussion of the scientific method. Just to remind us, the scientific method is a process of learning and interacting with our world through questions, observations, and actions. This is the cornerstone of all the sciences and everything that it has discovered and produced for us.
However, the scientific method isn’t just for the people in lab coats: it can also be a great approach in starting and handling a business. Especially now in this economy where, according to a Washington Post report, more businesses are closing down than there are opening, using the scientific method can give the novice entrepreneur a simple, easy-to-follow guide to going out on his or her own.
Find a Problem
Is there a product or service that isn’t available in your community? If there is, is there enough of it, or maybe it’s not good enough? Are there unused resources, and how can you take advantage of them?
These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself about opening a business. Of course, this will involve exploring, learning, and knowing the particular context of whatever field it is that you’re trying to break into. The important thing here is that something better can be done, and that you’re willing to find a way to do it.
Construct a Hypothesis
In the course of your looking for ways to make things better, you’ve hopefully found probable solutions to the problem. Again, having a solid foundation on the type of business you’re hoping to pursue is vital.
Try to guess a solution to the problem, but make sure your solution is realistic. You realize that there’s no pizzeria serving authentic Italian food in your area, but is shipping ingredients from Italy and having an Italian chef really the best solution?
That comes later.
Whatever it is that you want to do, it’s a safe choice to take little steps first. Start small: whether it’s a service or a product. Try it on your friends and family first, either from home or as a sideline. If whatever it is that you’re giving is good, then soon enough, it’ll grow organically. If you want, you can take out ads to let other people know about your business, but make sure that you can handle the traffic it’ll bring. This is the time for you to try out new things and explore.
What’s important at this stage is that by starting small, you can learn the business at your own pace, with minimal damage, if any. Also, it’ll be helpful if you take note of what’s going on while you’re on the job.
Analyze the Data
Now that you’ve gained experience, you can step back and look at what works and what doesn’t. Examine the different aspects of the business: capital, manpower, expertise, resources, equipment, etc. if there are other factors, include them, too.
Now that you’ve looked into all the factors and variables of your business, you can finally decide what you want to do with it. Go with what works best for you, and take the steps to bring the business where you want it.
Of course, the scientific method is circular. Simply because you already opened your shop, doesn’t mean that it ends there. It’ll be a continuous process of finding problems, making hypotheses, experimentation, analyzing, and drawing conclusions. Abandoning the process at any point will mean that you’re stagnating, and that’s never a good thing to be.
By Edwin Oscar U. Gutierrez, Jr//Exeter Studios, LLC