Testing is a requirement for entrepreneurs. Often customers are not sure what exactly they want or don't want in a product, so it is the job of the entrepreneur to create or provide that product or service. Even Steve Jobs the famous and renowned entrepreneur that launched successful Apple products like the iPod and the iPad knew that this was the case.
We do no market research. We don’t hire consultants. The only consultants I’ve ever hired in my 10 years is one firm to analyze Gateway’s retail strategy so I would not make some of the same mistakes they made [when launching Apple's retail stores]. But we never hire consultants, per se. We just want to make great products. – Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple
The Lean Startup focuses on the importance of testing and creating a product for a target audience. Often entrepreneurs are stuck reading and digesting market research with the hope that the perfect product will emerge, but the reality is that testing and putting something together and seeing if customers actually like it is a more realistic way of determining if something will work rather than entrepreneurs locking themselves in the library with the hope of finding what works or what doesn't work.
Samantha Beaty is the owner of 13 Magickal Moons, a metaphysical shop located in Occoquan, Virginia focusing on alternative spirituality. When she came into the second day it was opened, she said “fell in love”. After losing her job due to a layoff she started as an employee then became a partial owner and then eventually the owner of the entire shop.
The numerous products and services in the shop are a direct result of Beaty's constant testing. Beaty says the store is “completely different from when it first opened.” She has used customer demand to dictate what she carries in her store and explains that there are now more candles, gemstones, spell kits and herbs from when the store originally opened. Products she has created include the Ask A Witch Blog, and even her Carry A Witch, a combination between a business card and spell kit.
When creating a product Beaty asks “What would I do? What would I want?” to determine and develop new products and services. “You just pay attention to your market and what they need.” If a customer asks for a product that isn't in the store, she will make a set of it to see the demand for the product. “It just takes one little idea from somebody then you start mulling it over and then you start testing it out and see what people think.”
Largely because of the type of store that she runs, Beaty has experienced her fair share a lot stress and backlash from some people including having her tires slashed and a stalker, but she still believes that “being here is better than the best day of working for anyone else. ”
The store has numerous products and services including candles, herbs, incense, gemstones, tarot card readings and spell kits. Her shop caters to customers in the Washington D.C. area and customers across the world through her online store.
Tips for Entrepreneurs from Samantha Beaty
Stay healthy. When you own a small business, customers can sometimes make you sick.
Have a great sense of humor. To allow you to stay positive through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.
You have to make a lot of mistakes. It's the nature of the beast to just try things out and sometimes you make mistakes and you go through good and bad times.
Charisma. Entrepreneurs have to have the ability to charm customers and creditors. Be friendly without being flirtatious and interactive without being inappropriate. Entrepreneurs should make each person feel like they are the most important person in the world.