• Becky Upton

Build your business with a scientific approach

Updated: Mar 18

I wasn’t always a businesswoman or a business coach. In fact, I started out in science. And believe it or not, there are an awful lot of parallels between these two worlds.

……… The stereotypical image of a scientist working alone in a darkened lab is no longer accurate. Science is now participative and collaborative - an interesting, challenging and dynamic career for many.

The key question is, can we learn from science and embed that into the business world?

The short answer is “yes, absolutely”. So, here I offer you 5 key areas from science that can -and will – help your business.


Scientists tend to have curiosity. When approaching a problem or area to solve they look at trends, other ways that people have tried to address the issues, as well as any external influences.

What can business learn? Whether approaching a stagnation in your business or a problem to overcome… STOP. Don’t lose your head and observe what your competitors are doing -look at the external trends and see what has worked, and more importantly, what has failed.


Scientists next pose a question. For instance, if the observation is that the grass isn’t growing and everything has been observed around them, the question posed is well defined; “If I add X hours of sunlight and Y litres of water exposure to my grass over a 7-day period, will it then grow?”

In business, we should learn to pose questions to ourselves BEFORE trying something. Without a defined question to ask we are just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Moreover, these questions should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time framed).


A hypothesis is an assumption made before any research has been completed to test it. It is a tentative, testable statement and prediction about what you think is going to happen.

It is exactly right for a business owner to hypothesise about all situations. You should think about what expected result you want before you go ahead and test it. For example, you may want more click throughs on your email marketing, so you might “hypothesise” that using certain key words will help more than other key words. This is your hypothesis.


Experimenting is simply a set of controlled observations that test a hypothesis.

Question posed, hypothesis made - it’s now time to test if you are right. Scientists repeat experiments multiple times to ensure that the observation they are seeing is statistically significant and not a fluke or stroke of luck (good tips there for business too).

As such, I love the term test and measure for business owners - test your hypothesis, measure the results. That is exactly what scientists are doing with experimenting and analysing, and it’s exactly what business owners should be doing too.

Analyse and Reflect

My favourite part as a scientist - did what we think was going to happen actually happen?

Did our theory/question and hypothesis work out? Can we now improve on that result by tweaking something or doing more or less?

Re hypothesis, test and measure again and REPEAT to get the ultimate result.

And the biggest lesson we can learn?

Let’s take the grass example; if sunlight and water did make the grass grow, a scientist would conclude that this worked, then repeat and REFINE.

In business, this is a great thing to learn. We have worked out what works, now we need to REFINE it and make it better, to ultimately bring you the biggest reward.

Remember Darwin? Keep on EVOLVING.

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