(Adam Smith Life Coach – with minor edits)
You have already passed the normalcies of business operations. You already have a business plan, and the hiring is complete. You are left with your product and/or service you have created. This is where things get real. Every business has been through it – the fear of knowing if any customers will show up to buy your new service or product, let alone even look at it. Whether it’s launch day or your twenty-five years into things, this fear can stunt your growth if you let it. Fears can be paralyzing when trying to move ahead, and this fear is no different.
The effort that you put into producing any new successful product or service is huge and the time is abundant that you put into new products, so of course you want it to successfully reach an audience. If reports show that 70% of all launches fail within the first year, how can you succeed? Since nothing is guaranteed in a world of people pulling for attention, I have a few tips for you to use in the process of rolling out a new product. These steps will help you build a better business from launch day forward.
1. If you haven’t started building an email list yet, then right now is the best time to start.
There’s a reason that everyone is talking about email lists – because they work. If you would have told me eight years ago that my email list was the most important list to build online, I would have laughed. But, fast forward to now, instead of spending time on building my twitter followers, bettering SEO, and building blog numbers, I would have solely focused on this. Why? Because email lists sell and social media informs. Since all marketing is moving to online, building your email list should be your top priority for building your business.
If I didn’t have an email list when I began my life coaching business, I wouldn’t have had any clients. And they wouldn’t have told the people they know, and so on. The more people you have to tell at the beginning, the more momentum that is created at one time. I don’t care who you are – doing this one thing helps your chances of succeeding with your products and services 1,000x over.
2. As you are preparing your product, find influencers in the same product or service field to provide any input they can give.
If you are still in the idea stage, then people who have been where you are at in the creation process previously will have the best advice available to you. If you have your product or service available, you can ask other influencers to test it out and get a feel for how it will work for the public and even advice on what they would possibly do differently. Some of the best friends I have made are other entrepreneurs who have the same business goals that I have. Great conversations happen where there are similarities, and I can’t think of a better common interest to talk about than business products and services. Find people who have put out similar products and services as you are and ask away. Someone out there will be happy to help you, including myself. Who knows? If your product is good enough, influencers will tell others about it, and that never hurts.
3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but also don’t be afraid to quit something of lesser importance in order to put more time into something that will stand the test of time.
The amount of businesses that pursue mediocre products just because they have already put money into it is absurd. Maybe you have seen your company do this, or maybe you have even been the one to spearhead a pursuit like this, but it’s time to reevaluate this notion. My question to you and your company is, what’s more important to you – the last five years or the next 30? If the last five years are more important to you, then you will probably choose to relentlessly chase the idea you came up with that you have already poured money, time, and work into. But if the next thirty years are more important to you, then you will seek to understand why the idea flopped, you will find the best ways to tweak it, and will then release an updated product that people actually both want and need.
The lesson here is not only to pursue the ideas that you and your team love, but to take the part of the process one step further and learn what your audience wants and needs from you along the way. Too many times companies don’t put enough time into doing enough research so they can bring real solutions to the marketplace. Instead, they only get the internal support of twenty people or so and then begin building the product. Your possible consumer is who will fill in the production gaps, so don’t forget to get massive amounts of feedback beforehand, and even along the way.
As Katja Bressette said, “To understand how consumers really think and feel, it is vital to go beyond words.” Bill Gates also said, “I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.” It’s that important! Research gives ideas relevance and gives ideas focused motion. Purposed momentum requires knowing the thoughts and needs of those who will use your products and services, even when you only have an idea. Sure, you may not fully understand what you’re doing yet or where all this will go, but as Wernher von Braun also said, “Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.”
4. As soon as you rollout a great product or service, begin to work on a complementing product or service.
Notice I didn’t say to go create an entirely new product. Why? Because building your business is about creating good momentum. Apple has been using this model for years and it seems to be working for them – iPhone to now iPhone 6s. Products evolve over time to give customers what they didn’t even realize they needed. It requires you to build a remarkable product that can be tweaked later to add on new benefits for the consumer. That’s the sign of a profitable product or service.
The more you can provide a complementing great product or service, the more known you will become for your expertise in that area. Customers believe that if you specialize in an area, then you must be an expert on the topic and it will cause them to take notice. This is why it is so important for you as a business to narrow down a niche in you field of expertise, find what people need from your skill set, and then focus and build something there.
If you’ve already created a product, what did your first product miss? What feedback from people with your first product or service can you include in your next creation? If you did something right, the people who gave you a chance the first time around will give it again. And hopefully you paid attention to point number one and got their email address somewhere along the way.