29 November 2017

As most business owners know, mastering your growth methodology can be tough. It can at times feel overwhelming and downright impossible to get your testing process to work for you, especially if you don’t have the right information guiding you.

So where do you go from here?

Here’s a few insights from my experience so far.

I’ll delve into some practical ways you can develop a growth methodology that not only works, but provides clear guidance on how to run your own testing and review process.

Here are our top tips…

Assemble a motivated, driven growth team

In the chaotic world of running your own business, having passion, drive and enthusiasm is a non-negotiable. These characteristics are central to your ability to get up every morning and spend the entire day dedicated to pushing yourself further towards your goals. If you don’t work, the growth process won’t work either. Period.

The truth is, you can read all the books, attend countless conferences and talk to everyone you know who has successfully developed a growth model for their business – but, at the end of the day, it’s going to be hard work. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to a growth process. If there was, this blog would be a hell of a lot shorter and every business would be thriving. But that’s simply not the case.

So, you’re going to have to work hard. Every day, until you get your methodology and testing process right. And then you’re going to have to keep working hard, because those processes are constantly in need of revision. Be up for the challenge, because the end result is well worth it.

Pair your passion with practicality

Now that we’ve gotten our little pep talk out of the way, here’s another important tip; passion is no substitute for realistic, practical plans. However, the combination of the two is where the results come from.

Think of your motivation as a car – it propels you towards where you want to be. But a well-thought out, consistent plan that you can follow is the GPS or Google Maps ; it tells you how to get there. You can’t reach your goal without both.

There are many different theories on how to develop successful, realistic plans, but there are some key elements that must be accounted for regardless of which method you choose:
• A hypothesis or group of ideas
• Objectives or goals that are realistic and, most importantly, measurable.
• A good plan for how you will get a valuable conclusion from each test you conduct.
We’ll get into some good options for developing your growth and testing process later on, but for now just keep the importance of practical planning in mind.

If you can’t expertly analyse data, find someone who can (I know that it’s not my strong suit)

Passion, practicality, planning – all of these things you can do yourself. But data analysis?

That’s a whole different ball game.

There are many business people who believe they are the jack of all trades – and, don’t get us wrong, that can be a great attitude to have in some ways. If you put your mind and motivation towards understanding something and making it happen, big things can come as a result. But when we’re talking about a process as detailed and important as analysing complex data, you don’t want to put this into the hands of the wrong person.

There’s no getting around it – if you want your testing process to work; if you really want your growth structure to get your business moving in the right direction, you need someone who can professional analyse all the data that will be thrown your way.

If that’s not you or someone in your existing team, hire the right person. Find someone who you can rely on to do the job properly, because this is one part of the process you can’t afford to compromise on.

Structure the way your team works towards growth

Okay, so here is where we tell you just how important it is to formulate a workable tool that your team can use to conduct solid testing.

When it comes to market testing your products and services, managing the way you will navigate this process is just as essential as figuring out what experiments you’ll be conducting. You can do this using one of the countless online software tools that offer to guide you through this detailed process, or by formulating it yourself.

One way to make a DIY testing structure is a vision document. In this document, you should include your experiments, hypotheses, project details and every other specific piece of information you can think of. At the end, it should be a workable tool your entire team can use to seamlessly understand your testing process and how it will lead your business towards growth.

Understand the importance of creating a sound hypothesis

Without a specific, well-thought out hypothesis, your testing structure will almost certainly fail. Why? Because it’s your starting point. It’s the prediction that dictates what metrics you’ll put in place, what testing you’ll do, which areas must be covered and which ones can be left behind. If you have a lazy hypothesis that doesn’t specifically detail what you’re going to do and what effect you expect that action to have on other areas, you’re playing a losing game.

There is a wealth of reasons why this must be central to the creation of your hypotheses:

It will show you…
- What your experiment will be changing.
- How it will affect consumers.
- The impact it is expected to have.
- Which areas of your testing must have solid data analysis in place.
- How to organise your testing around achieving great, reliable results.

A well-defined hypothesis will encourage good metrics

Your testing always starts with a problem or a desire to push your business towards a more successful path. Let’s say you’re wanting to increase the amount of people who sign up to your website. You’re thinking that there may be too much information for your visitors to fill out when they go to sign up, so you want to test whether reducing the number of required fields will impact the number of sign ups. As such, your hypothesis may be something along the lines of…

“By reducing the number of required fields on our sign-up page from 10 to 5, we will increase our sign-up rate by 50%.”

Because you have clearly defined your hypothesis, you now know that you need to put the right metrics in place to measure things like how many sign-ups you received after making changes to the form fields and whether that will meet the goal of increasing sign ups by 50% of more. If you were to go in blind without this type of well-thought out process, you might not have thought to put the necessary metrics in place to monitor just how well your testing did.

Don’t get discouraged by the challenges you encounter

Unless you’re extremely lucky (or are a highly experienced testing and growth expert), you’re bound to run into some obstacles throughout your growth phases. And that’s okay. You and your team need to be prepared for this, because every hurdle will give you a good idea of what you need to get right next time.

Some common reasons why issues may arise are…

- Your team isn’t working in tandem or communicating properly, so things can get messy fast.
- You might not get your results as quickly as your estimated time frame expected.
- After starting the process, you may realise you haven’t defined an objective as well as you needed to, and thus need to start over again.

By keeping all your previous mistakes in mind, you can avoid doing the same things in the future and begin a working structure to seamlessly test your product or service.

Get your whole team involved

Growing your company is not something one person has to be on board with – everyone needs to be behind it. Because everyone is involved, whether they liked it or not. You should start this from the ground up, choosing to hire people who are excited about learning and growing with your company. This will lead to an innovative and motivated company culture – two things that are invaluable to you as a growing organisation.

Make your data and results central to everything you do

Here’s one thing definitive thing we can tell you about business – data doesn’t lie. So, when you begin basing your decisions and goals around existing data, that’s when you will start to see some real progress. Your whole team should be aware of just how important it is to be data-driven, and your professional data analysts should be a part of every testing scenario from beginning to end. This will ensure you always have realistic, measurable elements guiding your growth.

Don’t be afraid of adapting

Your growth structure won’t stay the same, because in order to be effective it must grow with you as you learn new information and reach your goals. You must make a constant effort to revise and adapt your existing growth plan so it always reflects where you are currently and where you want to be. By encouraging this mind-set within your team, you will foster a culture that embraces change and thrives from it.

Growing your company and formulating a workable testing structure doesn’t have to be impossible – it just takes hard work, planning and a team effort. Put these tips to work and see how it pushes you towards your goals.

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