Are you a Victim of the ‘Trial and Error’ Trap?

Are you a victim of the ‘trial and error’ trap?  This ‘trap’ is the single biggest cause of failed businesses in the world.  The problem you face as an entrepreneur is how to solve the infinite problems that will come at you.  In order to succeed you must solve these problems correctly otherwise you may fall into the same trap.

Everyone knows succeeding as an entrepreneur is extremely difficult.  But no one knows why.   US census data states that only 39% of companies ever turn a profit.  This means 61% of companies never turn a profit. They either break even or lose money.  This 61% chance of failure is not the problem.  It is the symptom, the reaction to the problem.  Your biggest problem is the ‘trial and error’ trap.

This ‘trap’ is the commonly held belief that the only way to solve your business problems is through ‘trial and error’ and ‘hard work’.  If a business fails we believe it’s either because the owner did not work hard enough or had bad luck.  This problem is a self fulfilling prophesy as well.  Whenever our business is failing we assume it’s just because we didn’t work hard enough.  When we work harder and still see no results we assume it was just bad luck.    It’s the same thing when another business fails.  We assume they were either lazy or got into the wrong business at the wrong time. The truth is that we aren’t just lazy or unlucky.  The problem is that we don’t learn to solve our problems fast enough.

Why the trial and error trap doesn’t work 

When we use the ‘trial and error’ approach every problem we encounter is new to us.  We handle each new problem by ‘guessing’ what solution will solve the problem.  If we are wrong we will simply adjust and handle the problem a different way next time.  The assumption is that overtime you will eventually learn which solution works and will continue to apply it in the future.

Statistically, you will probably find the solution.  The problem is it may take you thirty years to figure it out.  There is no way of knowing how many ‘errors’ you will have to make before you find your ‘solution’.  This is where the trial and error trap fails for entrepreneurs and new businesses.

Every ‘error’ you make leads to lost sales or lost customers.  When you have an established business this can hurt.  When you are a new business this could kill your business.  You often start a new business with few customers and high expenses compared to your income.  Every mistake you make could shun your few customers.  Or any mistake with handling expenses could put you further down the debt hole, making it nearly impossible to get enough new customers fast enough.

Therefore, making one mistake as a new business can kill your business before you get any momentum.

Learn Theory

The obvious solution to the ‘trial and error’ trap is to know the right way to solve your problem.  The issue is figuring out what that right way is.  The best solution to the trial and error trap is to learn from how others have solved their problems.

For every problem you encounter, someone has already been through it and solved it.  Having this person as your mentor is the best solution you could have.  A mentor is the best solution to the trial and error trap as they will help you solve the majority of your problems.

Mentors are not always available and you may need to seek out other alternatives.  The second best alternative you can get is to message your competing businesses in jurisdictions outside of yours.  Or you may wish to reach out to businesses that are similar to yours but sell a different product.  Ask them to help you and you will be surprised how willing people are to help others.

People are willing to help because it validates our belief that we know what we are doing. If someone asks for our advice it means they believe it too.  We also love leaving a legacy.  If we can say that you succeeded, in part, because of our advice we will further feel validated.  Ask to take someone successful out for coffee and you’ll be surprised how many people say yes.

The third solution is reading and attending seminars.  Remember, with every problem in the world someone has solved it and succeeded.  These people often write books about their success as they want to spread their knowledge and further validate their belief that they are an expert on the subject. There are hundreds of books to solve your problems.  How to solve your marketing problems, sales problems, expense and employee problems.  Every problem has been solved and those solutions are in books.

You can apply all three of these methods to ensure you have solutions from people who have already successfully solved the problems you are currently facing.

Using these three learning techniques you will avoid the ‘trial and error’ trap.  You will start implementing recommended solutions instead of guessed solutions.  You will grow faster than your competition and will put yourself in the 39% of successful businesses.  And remember let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

If you like this post please, please share it with someone.  Any help you can give would be amazing!

Leave a Reply