Success comes through Trial and Error

Success is rarely a simple chart from point A to point B, rather it is a process of trial and error.  In business this is often called iteration.  The process of taking what works, throwing out what doesn’t work, and trying again.

Most of you are probably familiar with P90X.  It tooks them 22 infomercials to get the formula right. 

The first infomercial was an absolute dud. One of our primary measures of success is media cost, and when it started, we paid the equivalent of $250 per order. That’s a tough way to make a business when you’re selling a $120 product.

2005 was our roughest year. The hot gadgets that year were weight-loss belts–you put them on and jiggle your way to fitness. They were difficult to sell against, because we always have been selling hard work. Our revenue sank to $83 million from over $100 million the year before.

We kept testing and changing the P90X infomercial. We’d do a focus group and find out people didn’t understand what equipment they’d need, so we’d add that. Or we’d add a new, better testimonial from a customer. We started adding people’s homemade YouTube videos. We got the cost from $250 to $225. Then $190.

Still, I literally was in shouting matches with marketing people here: “Can we please stop trying to make this work?” they’d say. But it wasn’t blind faith. It was just that we kept seeing progress in every test we’d do.

In 2007, our 22nd version of the infomercial clicked. It just took off. Eventually we would get the media cost, net-net, down to under $50 per new customer.

Read the full article on the Inc.com website.

It’s not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get up and move forward despite getting knocked down.

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