“The best way to test a big idea or strategy is through small, fast, additive experiments.” – Ash Maurya, Scaling Lean
Lean startup methodology is predicated on the idea of making a minimal investment (and taking minimal risk) to learn the most valuable lessons. When it comes to creating highly effective strategies, the method is the same: creating small, fast, low-risk, highly informative tests.
How do you create “small” tests?
Small tests begin by getting to the heart of your strategy – what is the biggest, perhaps riskiest, assumption your strategy makes?
Ash Maurya in Scaling Lean: Mastering The Key Metrics for Startup Growth uses a content strategy as an example.
For instance, if you wanted to test a new content marketing strategy, what would you do? Here’s a possible task list:
1. Pick a name for your blog.
2. Register a domain.
3. Design a logo.
4. Set up a WordPress site.
5. Publish your first blog post.
6. Promote the blog post.
The first four items on this list require acquisition of additional resources. While relatively inexpensive in money terms, they cost time, which is more valuable than money. More important, they don’t do much to test the riskiest assumption in this strategy, which is ‘Can you write compelling content that engages your audience?’ This is tested only in steps 5 and 6.
Do you even need your own blog to do this? You can instead leverage other people’s networks by guest blogging first. Not only does it get you to step 5 faster, it also takes care of step 6.