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Product Testing [Entrepreneurship
Posted on June 23, 2020 @ 04:19:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I find Project Farm videos informative and ingenious. The videos often involve testing to see which product aimed at solving the same problem is the best. The latest video I watched tests which step drill bit is the best.

In this particular video, the tester does not just use one test to establish which step bit is the best, but conducts a few rounds of testing, with certain step bits not advancing to the next round of testing because they performed poorly in less stressful rounds of testing. If they don't perform well under weaker tests, they are not worth testing in harder tests.

Many of us don't need the best product if it is quite expensive and we are only likely to use it infrequently. We might be looking for the best value for money and this video ends with two recommended step drill bits - the best one based on all the testing, and a good bit based on all the testing that is less expensive.

It is interesting that the consumer marketplace sells so many inferior products often at inflated prices, usually because they are associated with a brand name we trust. It seems like most tool manufacturers need to have their own brand of step bit and some require that the product meet a high level of quality while others apparently just want to have an offering in the market.

Project Farm videos are worth watching because they offer lessons in how we might test products to see which ones are the best. As an entrepreneur developing a new product, we might want to do similar testing on a new product against its nearest competitors to see exactly how it stacks up against competing products.

On my farm, I've been creating blueberry wine and creating some variants by adding a bit honey or maple syrup to add to the finish. My testing has involved comparing plain blueberry wine with the same blueberry wine with varying levels of honey or maple syrup added. While this is useful testing to do, I realize now that I need to be blind taste testing my wines against blueberry wines made by other wineries to see how it compares. Testing to improve you product needs to eventually give way to testing against other products in the same category.

Success might be gauged by the fact that your product is better than your competitors; however, that fact alone does not mean your product will sell more or be more profitable. The best step bit is also the most expensive - perhaps too expensive for most people and they may end up buying an inferior product that ultimately generates more revenue and is more profitable than the best product. This is where packaging, branding, distribution and pricing decisions come into play and also determine the success of your product. In the case of wine where the differences in taste are often barely noticeable, packaging, branding, distribution and pricing might matter even more.

Often entrepreneurs are in a position where they are developing a new product and may not have direct competitors. To test novel ideas developing a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is often advised so that you can begin gathering information about whether the assumptions you are making about how people will respond to your product are correct or not.

When seeking funding, it is important to derisk your idea by identifying as many of the assumptions you are making and subjecting as many of them to testing as you can. To do exhaustive testing of all your assumptions can be very costly in time and money so you will probably have to focus on testing the most critical assumptions first. Often it is this testing that is paid for by friends and family and income from your other job. Getting some of your assumptions tested through a minimal viable product, questionaires and surveys, early sales, letters of intent, a demo, comparative testing, etc... is often what makes your project ready for investment by people other than friends and family. Private investors often shoulder more risk than banks might, but they are still very attuned to the level of risk involved, what assumptions are being made and whether they have been tested sufficiently or not. In my case, if I were to do comparative testing of my wines against other wines in the same category, and the results came out positive, that would derisk investment into my blueberry wine business either from my own funds or from investor funds.

Today's blog is about the importance of product testing. It is important in coming up with a quality product that people will love to use, to create the branding, packaging, distribution and pricing that will make people want to buy it, and it can also help derisk your project for investors if you have done some testing of the most critical assumptions.

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