A successful product launch can make or break a start-up. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs opt to rush it out the door, hoping that getting to the market first is enough. Postponing your product may allow the competition to get ahead, but if your product is better developed, their lead won’t last for long.
Launching a subpar product just to meet deadlines is a recipe for disaster. Sure, the market sees your product first, but if it performs below spec you’re just making the competition look good. Here are a few things your product launch should have if you want it to succeed.
1. An Invigorated and Recharged Team
It’s no secret that entrepreneurship is a difficult and tiring field. Pushing to meet that last pre-launch deadline often means late nights, lack of sleep, and drained employees. Seeing that last checkbox ticked can energize and excite you, but that brief burst won’t be enough to sustain you or your team through the transition period between planning and actually selling your product.
When you release your product, the entire start-up changes. New processes are enacted. Practice and preparation can only go so far. Give your team time to recover from crunch time so they can approach the start-up’s new phase with the energy needed to perform.
2. A Thoroughly Tested Product
One of the worst things you can do is to launch a poorly tested product. It’s not just about making sure it works out in the real world. You must also make sure that your company is can replicate the product precisely and consistently. The target market must also be ready for your product’s launch, which means that they should understand what you’re offering and have the kind of cash required to actually pay for it.
Keep in mind you’re not looking to perfect your product. That’s practically impossible and can tempt you into putting off your launch over and over again until it’s too late. You’re only looking to make sure the important parts work and are thoroughly tested. In fact, launching a viable product as soon as possible can be viable as it’ll get you valuable customer feedback.
3. Accurate Metrics
Smart entrepreneurs make decisions based on measurable metrics. They don’t just go with their gut. They look at the numbers and change their plans accordingly. As you launch, take note of the numbers. How many units are you selling? Is that number sustainable or did it fall off after a few days?
If the numbers don’t look good, don’t be afraid to scrap the product, maybe even the entire project. Just because you’ve sunk time and money into it already doesn’t mean you’re obligated to keep pushing. Keep in mind that scrapping everything should be left as the last resort. Figure out where things are going wrong first, then adjust things accordingly.
4. Gather Feedback
Very few products are fantastic out of the gate. They can be addictive, functional, and can become part of people’s lifestyles, but the first iteration is often the weakest. Before its launch, any product feedback you get is limited and controlled. Things are different out in the wild world of the market.
After a product launch, make sure to gather as much feedback as possible. This can help you determine the direction the product will eventually take. Feedback can also direct your innovation towards profitable avenues.
5. Attention Paid to Your Core Audience
Many businesses offer more than one product. As an entrepreneur, you’re likely to launch multiple products through a single start-up. Sometimes, it’s iterations of your same product with much-needed improvements. Other times, it’s a brand new offering.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs end up neglecting their new audience in favour of their old ones. They end up chopping off their own legs and wondering how, in the face of great sales, their numbers haven’t really risen. Don’t lose your old audience in favour of pandering to your new market.
Product launches are exciting for entrepreneurs, but just because it’s exciting and fun doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind. Rushing things can only be disastrous for you and your start-up. Take things step-by-step and make sure all your ducks are in a row before you send your offering out into the wide wild world.