Recipe Testing Series 2 of 3 — The Test Group

taste-testYou’re a small startup and you want to cast a wide enough net to get a realistic sampling of whether or not your niche will like your product.

So, you call up the best consulting firms that you can find and send off a cheque to cover the incentives, supplies and the work of analyzing and reporting on the results…Naturally.

More realistically, you call up you pepper sauce addict buddies and try to get them to answer some key open-ended questions modeled after ideal focus group probing. That should work out great. Or not, siiiiiggggh.

The Sampling

freindshotsauceAfter rigourous testing of 3 buddies the most comprehensive answer is that Alima’s is the best tasting, unoriginal hot sauce that tastes like no other hot sauce they’ve tried before. Cohesive.

Like many other startups without funders, there is no capital to fund that type of highly-controlled, meticulously analyzed focus group; so we make do, get by and keep pushing on.

Despite the inadequacy of the sampling, it was still enough to get an idea of what direction to take in terms of recipe tweaking. I was standing alone in terms of which way the final flavour should lean but I can always make that version for myself.

I hosted about 12 people recently in my home and slyly offered two of the shortlisted formulations and my candidate lost again but the favourite was downed nearly in its entirety. What is left for us is to fix what we instinctively know must go and enhance what is winning.

On Instinct

As an entrepreneur, instinct is something that plays a large part of what motivates certain decisions and ultimate directions. Part of the riskiness of starting out on one’s own is the fact that instinct will ultimately play a major part in what to do when standing at the proverbial fork in the road.


Business dealings are largely based on trust but it is so often that trust cannot be extended freely. It may be that you find no other person or entity that you can trust so, trust your own instincts and you cannot escape your destiny.

Some Prophetic Wisdom:

On the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas, who said : One day I was behind the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and he said to me:

“Young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice] : Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” Narrated Tirmidhi

Mama FlavourFull


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