Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
This question gets at the heart of one of the biggest challenges of being a small company.
We don’t have the volume of traffic and data that a business like Amazon or Netflix might have. Not every decision can be data-driven, because it can take a really long time to get statistically significant results for small tests.
Things like deciding whether it’s a good idea to do a giveaway, or to delete our company Facebook account, often are as much—or even more—about gut feeling as they are about metrics-driven decision making.
That can be frustrating to hear, especially in an ecosystem where it sounds like everyone is telling you that “data should drive everything.” The reality is that for 99% of businesses, that’s simply not practical. Intuition is hugely important, and plays a massive role in running a business, regardless of how unscientific it may seem.
Trying to justify everything you do with numbers will drive you crazy. Save that for tests that you know you can get great answers to based on data.
For everything else, practice the lost art of trusting your gut. And then learn from the results.
So, to answer your question: for many things (especially smaller initiatives like the giveaways), we don’t know whether it’s going to have a net positive or negative ROI in the long-term, but we make decisions based on how we feel.
Sometimes we’re right. Sometimes we’re wrong. But hopefully, every time we get better at making decisions.