5 Methods to Test First and Make Informed Business Decisions

by | BiggerPockets.com

Many business people use their knowledge, past experience and intuition to make business decisions.  Unfortunately many just do what everyone else is doing.  What if your decision fails?  What if you are investing a lot of money, effort and time without confidence and close to certainty of a successful outcome?  It is always recommended to make the best informed business decisions based on research, facts and justifiable information.  Wrong decisions can be costly; it is your responsibility to make them wisely.  Here are 5 methods to help you learn to test first instead of winging it, to help you gather useful information to make the best informed business decisions. 

  1. Get justified feedback from experts and other investors – Experts and other investors can provide priceless information that can be extremely helpful in making a decision.  Notice I say justified feedback as you should not just find out what others do, but the information or why behind it.  Some of these people can become mentors, partners and very valuable to your team.  Be sure to return the favor and help them as well.
  2. Test market on Craigslist – To illustrate this I would like to use an example.  Let’s say you decide to implement a new strategy like lease options.  To do this, you need lease option buyers and lease option sellers.  Test if there are sellers by responding to Craiglist Ads of motivated sellers and rental listings.  Simply list a few benefits and ask if they would be interested.  For buyers, simply post some ads marketing the cross streets and a lease option or rent to own.  I did this exact testing and received 120 emails from buyers and plenty from sellers.  Those tests confirmed that the strategy would work and it did not cost a penny.
  3. Do a web search for competition – It may be too saturated if everyone is doing the same strategy, same area, same marketing, etc.  Seek out and evaluate your competition.  Will your plan still be a success and how do you create a competitive advantage?  You may even be able to make your competitors your ally.
  4. Talk to an expert from another market – Find someone in another market with your same strategy.  You guys can help each other to improve your strategy, systems, team and plan without competing.  You can even share team members.
  5. Test using social media and forums – Great information, advice and feedback can be found and given in social media and forums.  The information and experts are out there.  Very few things have never been done, find someone information to help make your decisions. 

A final piece of advice is to make sure your research and facts are sound.  Most people are followers and do what everyone else does, or they use Media headlines and stories that are often a manipulation of the truth that create fear and drama used to sell ratings.  Make sure to get valid information that is useful in making a decision.  Please share any stories, comments and advice.


About Author

Ryan is the founder of Real Return Real Estate™ , a company focused on buying property at extreme discounts, selling and renting with cash flow.


  1. I read this, and feel its quite a good principle. I am starting a new business and need to find the best ways to advertize my services. I guess testign all the local media avenues would be the way to go. Always good to be reminded of this.

  2. Byron,

    That is a great idea. Most new business start ups begin with just an idea and zero testing to see if customers will demand and pay for products/services. It is always nice to test the demand and confirm profitability before spending lots of money and time. Even when in business, you can test marketing methods, new products, services, ideas, etc. Best of luck with your business and thanks for the comment.

  3. Thanks for the article. Sometimes you get so excited about an idea, you may implement it without due diligence. What I like about the methods listed above is that there are no costs involved. I can’t tell you how much money I lost by rushing into projects without doing my research first.

  4. Very true Anthony. An idea is just that, an idea. Savvy investors must test their idea to confirm profitability, best marketing strategies and other best practices. It is a crucial step overlooked very often in. Sometimes intuition drives the decision but unfortunately it is often excitement and emotion which are rarely good drivers of decisions.

  5. Great tips for analyzing the competitive enviornment and making informed desicions based off of in depth research. In order for a business decision to acheive a possitive outcome (or at least increase the odds of a possitive outcome), research must be done in a consise way. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Taylor White, PHD on

    I think that test marketing on Craigs List is a great source. I also would like to throw in Google Adwords as well.

    In a short time spam – and with relatively small amounts – you can get results.

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