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Experimentation: The most underestimated founder strategy

May 5, 2022

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The art of experimentation is crucial for sustainable growth; but often overlooked.

In last week’s Edit, we delve into why 50% of companies whose revenue growth is in the top 10% are more effective at testing ideas and measuring results.

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Do you experiment enough?

To enable speed in eCommerce, as a founder you need to get a bewildering number of things right.

This is where a test-and-learn mindset is most valuable. Experimentation allows you to react to new customer demand quickly, adapt existing offerings, introduce new products and services, and deliver them to customers faster. It's the building blocks for consistent and rapid growth while removing any bias from your decisions.

When done well, this can beget the iterative cycle of testing, learning, and planning - for example, developing a series of A/B test or testing minimum viable products.

We recommend starting small. Identify a high-level problem, then narrow it down to specific, measurable tests. Each test must have a clear hypothesis, only one variable and a clear way to measure and interpret results.

But don’t take our word for it; dig further into how to accelerate eCommerce growth with this article here, and find out how to build an experimentation culture in your team here.

Inspired? See how you can put this thinking into action with our top tactics today below.

Apply these tactics today.

Here are our top takeouts to apply to your business.

👩‍🏫 Embed an experimentation culture

A culture of testing and learning has to extend to every corner of your business. While it usually starts with the founders, it’s key to ensure knowledge travels through your business, and a growth mindset is encouraged to embrace challenges. Failure doesn't exist. By creating a safe space for people to ‘test the ground’ through small pilot programs and learning from their success or failure, you can course-correct until the best path forward becomes clear. Speak openly not only about your successes, but also the failures to all levels within your business to create a comfortable experimentation culture without judgment of the outcome.

Get the low-down here on promoting a growth mindset culture within your business.

🎖️ Reward experimentation

A cornerstone of an experimentation culture is the ability to improve and continuously innovate. If people are empowered to test, learn, and improve without cumbersome approval processes, they can try new go-to-market approaches and make improvements to platforms. Communicate the importance of learning and growth over talent throughout the business. Celebrate failures with the desire to learn and keep going. But incentives need to be in place to support this: shift from KPIs to rewarding risk, innovation and perseverance.

🤹 Collaborate to learn

You don’t have to start at ground zero every time you try to come up with a new idea. More often than not, something currently exists that will inspire you to build on the original idea and create something magnificent. A powerful way to brainstorm and tackle problems is through cross-department collaboration. This embraces different perspectives and ways of thinking while mixing various of skill sets. New hires who bring new skills and mindsets can be instrumental in embedding learning and jump-starting the development of new capabilities.

Experimenting can require perseverance. Outside of the required technical skills, encourage your team to learn soft skills to help improve the likelihood of a successful test. Think communication, resilience, decision making, risk analysis, estimation, strategic planning and prioritisation.

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