When you look at someone's business, it's easy to look from the outside in and assume they nailed it from the outset. But that's not the case.
It's like seeing someone's maths test without looking at the calculations that led to the answer. We can assume they've had a direct and perfectly formed path. The reality is it involves messy scribbles, crossings out and fresh attempts trying out adapted methods.
After talking with entrepreneurs on my podcast Creative Connections, I've figured out what sets them apart. It's the entrepreneurial mindset, and one aspect of this is the testing mindset. It's all about trying, experimenting, learning from failure and adapting as you go.
Here's why I think this is so important:
The key to career/business success is in the mindset
You need the confidence to make a mess and adapt
Creating something worthwhile involves a lot of trial and error
You come across obstacles and feeling stuck but this isn't a failure
You’ll go through many iterations of your idea and that’s a good thing
Let's look at an example:
Jess Salamanca is the Founder of Banana Scoops and my latest guest on Creative Connections. For context, Banana Scoops is a banana-based ice cream made with no dairy or nasty additives - natural ingredients only.
In the episode, Jess shares the aspects of testing the product and the brand.
With an idea of banana-based ice cream in hand, she started exploring flavours by experimenting with recipes in her kitchen. It's a repetitive process of trial and error. She found a taste she liked but remained open to it changing as she went on to the next testing phase.
Jess took this recipe to sell on the market stools. She wasn't looking for validation but to test the brand idea and first recipe combination for invaluable feedback. She looked carefully at her customers' reactions to the flavours, packaging, brand colours and the overall experience.
This is how she discovered a problem: the consistency of the ice cream. It was rock solid, and she struggled to scoop it out of the tub. Her banana-ice cream sold out at the markets, but she ended the day with an achy wrist. She saw this as her next challenge, rather than a failure.
Banana Scoops is now due to launch this week in an online supermarket. You can listen to how Jess overcame the consistency problem (and successfully pitched her ice cream to a well-known supermarket) in the full episode here on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
The critical factor to success in Jess's case was her willingness to embrace trial and error. I've emphasized the error because it's easy to misinterpret error as a failure.
Next time you find yourself falling into the failure mindset, use it as a prompt to challenge the obstacle. Ask yourself, is this an opportunity to adopt the entrepreneurial testing mindset? Can I use this as an opportunity to experiment and learn from feedback?
Don't let the wall in front of you bring you to a halt; it's not a dead-end or a failure but an obstacle to climb. An opportunity to adapt and reach a different outcome; which will allow you to move forwards (towards the next iteration, no doubt).
When you face your next hurdle, will you think like an entrepreneur?
Is it an obstacle to climb or a dead-end? You decide.