In 1986, Mike Yurosek was a carrot farmer. Like all the other carrot farmers at the time, he produced a lot of waste.
Half his crop was ugly, misshapen carrots that a grocery chain like Vons simply couldn’t sell to their customers.
And that was the issue. There was a lot of waste, because of all these perfectly good tasting carrots were unfit for the pristine grocery shelves.
On top of that, the carrot business was stagnant. Growing seasons were long, and consumer demand was low.
But Mike had an idea. Instead of tossing these misfit carrots out, he decided to try carving them into something more palatable.
With a dash of ingenuity, Mike used an industrial green-bean cutter to transform his ugly carrots into perfectly smooth, uniform 2-inch pieces.
Along with his regular delivery of carrots, Mike delivered a bag of these new carrots to Vons. The next day they called him and said, “We only want those.”
And the rest is history. “Baby carrots” are now available in grocery stores virtually everywhere.
Mike was able to turn something unwanted, that might have just gone to waste as usual, and create an entirely new opportunity for himself and for the entire carrot industry.
And this transformation of failures into winners is similar to how we improve our own position in business.
We may try something and it might be a complete flop. At least at first. But we never have to settle at the bottom for long, if we have the right attitude to try new ideas.
But what should we try?
Well, the way to make rapid progress is to think like Mike. He didn’t merely stick a new name on his ugly carrots. He went further.
Instead of small thinking, we want to think big
We can think of this like “Screams” and “Whispers.”
Screams are significant changes. Like creating an entirely new type of carrot. Or testing a completely new offer to our email list.
Whispers are tiny changes. On a website, that might mean testing different button colors. Or changing up a few words in the headline.
“Screams” have Quantum Leap potential
With Whispers, we might only see a few percentage points of improvement at a time, at most.
But with Screams, we might see dramatic improvement.
Screams are the kind of ideas that give us that twofold, or even threefold increase in results.
And it’s like this across your business. Too many businesses fall into the trap of making small, microscopic changes to try and improve things. Because it feels “safer.”
But why not swing for the fences? Why not aim for the moon?
When you test “Screams” in your marketing, in your sales, in other areas of your business, you open the door to major opportunity.
But there are so many things you can test.
So how do you know where to start?
You start with the numbers. Look at the data. What is it telling you?
Where does there seem to be the biggest gap between what is, and what you think could be?
Like Mike, figure out where half your crop is being wasted.
Look for areas that underperform in major ways, but you know they shouldn’t be underperforming.
That’s where you’ll find incredible opportunity to test Screams.
But what if the change results in a big loss, rather than a big gain?
Then you’ve learned some valuable info about what doesn’t work. And it was only a test, so it’s easily reversible.
Do you know how most Venture Capital firms make huge returns for their clients?
It’s not by investing in some random handful of startup businesses. Rather, VC firms look for companies with billion dollar potential.
They know that 8 out of 10 companies might fail, or cap out at only million dollar returns. But just one billion dollar “unicorn” (think Uber or Facebook) will more than make up for all the rest.
By thinking big, your one “unicorn” change could be just around the corner.
Here’s how this works in practice:
Let’s take an upgrade to our landing page, as an example.
Our data tells us that it’s only converting 10% of visitors into subscribers to our email list. And industry benchmarks tell us this conversion rate should be closer to 40%.
We may be tempted to test things like a change to the button color, or changing some small pieces of copy throughout.
But these changes might only give us a little bit of improvement. Maybe to 15% conversion.
In this instance where we want to see a four-fold increase in conversion, we want to go big.
And in this case, we’ll want to consider big tests:
- We could try an entirely new layout for the page
- We could cut the amount of copy on the page by 50%
- We could increase the amount of copy on the page by 50%, and add in new sections to better explain what’s on offer
- We could try a new offer, or re-position the current offer
At the end of the day, we want to make the best use of our time and resources
And testing small Whispers is like taking the slow road.
By testing Screams, we can make much faster progress.
Like Mike the carrot farmer, we can invent breakthroughs that give us a Quantum Leap in our business.
So tell me in the comments below… where is your opportunity to test a Scream?