Every day we seek “Perfect.” The perfect dough, the perfect menu name, the perfect workflow, and sometimes we seek perfect before anything launches. Striving for perfection is commendable, but it can hinder progress. Today, I’d like to challenge us all to embrace a different mindset: that of the scientist.
A scientist thrives on curiosity, experimentation and continuous learning. They start an experiment before conditions are perfect. They form a hypothesis, test it, learn from the results and iterate. This approach is not about immediate perfection but about progress and evolution.
Think about your promos. What if you hypothesized that a loyalty program could boost repeat business by 15 percent? Or speculated that a fusion-themed pizza campaign could tap into a new customer group? The magic starts when you translate these hypotheses into actionable experiments. The fusion-themed campaign may have yet to hit the expected mark, but the feedback may pave the way for a successful future. That’s real progress. That’s because it will yield, even in failure, experience. And, every time, an experienced person is always more valuable than a solely opinionated one.
Perfectionism limits you to the past. The fear of a financial misstep or launching a pizza that doesn’t land with your audience can be debilitating. But you must remember, every great thing starts with an untested idea or a hypothesis, and very few great things don’t take any bumps or bruises on the way to being pretty.
Adopting the scientist’s mindset means giving yourself the leeway to venture, to stumble, and most crucially, to learn. Each experiment, whether in marketing or menu innovation, HR, etc., adds layers to your skillset.
Like a scientist, you need data. That means feedback on what works and what needs improving. That requires the hardest thing to do for many in our industry, listen and be humble to the findings.
Take the negatives of what didn’t work and view it as data towards greatness. What did it reveal, what did you learn, and how can you refine your hypothesis and try it all again?
Pizza is a very competitive industry. You are not competing against other independent pizzerias solely. You are competing against the thousands of choices at your customer’s fingertips—every other cafe, bistro, grille, to even gas stations serving meals. You can’t shoot blindly and expect to make every three-pointer and expect that customer to love each thing you do. It’s not possible. Sure, some things will land, but refining them makes them go from niche to evergreen popularity. You can grow stronger and faster when you seek knowledge with an awareness of failure.
Grant yourself the freedom to push boundaries by allowing yourself to mess up. The transition from seeking immediate perfection to becoming a scientist means you take a wild ride of discovery. In all of us is not only an entrepreneur, marketer and pizza maker; there is also a scientist eager to craft ideas as big as mountains, even if they start as hills.
Mike Bausch is the owner of Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instagram: @mikeybausch