Launches are incredibly important. Yet, according to Harvard Business Review, 75% of product launches each year fail to make much of a splash. It’s hard enough to get noticed already. How do you ensure your public launch of your business or next product is not just a hit but rolls out on time?
Timing is one of the biggest factors for launches. If you are relying on first-mover advantage, every day you are late, there is a risk that someone else will beat you to it and send you scrambling for a new business idea. The success of product launches can also rely heavily on being timed right throughout the year.
Miss your window, and you may find gaining traction and surviving the next 12 months is many times more difficult than it had to be and you planned for. This is some of the clear guidance that the best startup accelerators provide to their entrepreneurs. Check out these tips for guaranteeing your launch happens on time.
Begin Educating Early
Some businesses and products take a lot more educating of customers and buyers than others. This is especially true if you are creating a new market or innovative advance in an established industry.
You want your launch to produce immediate users, orders, and revenues. That means you need to start as far out as necessary to educate them, change their minds, and carry them through the customer journey in advance. It may only be a few weeks or months to get in enough touches for some consumer products. It could be a year for enterprise services.
Make Sure Funding Is In The Bank Well Ahead Of Time
If you need outside funding to complete your launch, then be sure that money is really in the bank well in advance of your needs. Lots of things can stall funding. Even if you have financial commitments from lenders or investors, you can’t count on using it until you have it in your account.
Imagine you are being sent a physical check. What if there are interruptions in the mail, or a check coming from overseas is lost. It could take a month or two to figure that out, have a replacement mailed, and receive it.
Even with crowdfunding platforms, it may take longer than you thought to pocket any money raised. Make sure you are reading the fine print in advance. What if your payout from a successful campaign won’t be released and sent for as much as 30-45 days after the campaign ends? How will that impact your launch date?
Create A Tight & Clear Launch Calendar
You can’t run an effective business launch and be confident in being on time without a good calendar, counting down the days and milestones. Be sure you are factoring in special events and holidays. The end of the year holiday period, bank holidays, or elections may really impact the flow and effectiveness of a launch. List out what needs to be done by when.
Make Sure The Whole Team Is On Board
Make sure your whole team knows the priority and schedule. They must know their roles, when to pick up and hand on the baton, and how that plays into going live. Use Google Drive or another project management software solution to share this calendar with your whole team.
They have to know the goal and deadlines and how important they are. Share this early and get their feedback on any timeline and feasibility issues, as well as their commitments for delivering on time.
Announce The Date To The Public
If you just have a soft launch date in your head, you are likely to keep extending it. Announcing it publicly gives you pressure and makes sure you take off rather than push it back or get lost over-optimizing your product and company. You can do this through press releases, a countdown timer on your landing page, and across social media.
Allow Yourself Some Slack
While pressure is good, things always take longer than you think. A well-planned launch will take months to execute. If you think it will take 10 months, give yourself at least 12—Build-in at least a 20% to 50% cushion. Remember, your investors are watching, and the team is going to take this as an indicator of the future of the company.
Leave Room In Your Budget
The same applies to budgeting. Everything is going to cost more than you expect. To avoid having to leave out key promised features or slashing necessary marketing at the end, leave a 20% plus financial cushion in your launch budget. You may need it to cover rising prices, rush fees, and redos to be able to meet your launch deadline.
One of the most deadly mistakes entrepreneurs and businesses make when pushing for a launch is waiting far too late to hire the help they need. Trying to hire and onboard in house staff and get them up to speed before tackling their part in this launch can take a lot longer than you think. The process of recruiting and hiring remote freelance help can be much faster if you are efficient and focused.
However, the best talent will be booked up for at least the next couple of weeks. Then they may need at least 2-4 weeks to deliver good work, not counting any revisions. Even for seemingly simple tasks like creating landing pages, you should be hiring a couple of months in advance, at least.
Setup Marketing In Advance
Set up and tweak ads and marketing at least two weeks out. Keep in mind that for articles and blogs, publishers plan out their calendars months in advance. For PPC, you still need to allow for glitches and optimizing your campaigns before launch week.
Everything should be considered read to go live 2-4 weeks out. This is the minimum time you may need to test everything internally and recruit some beta testers before iterating on the findings.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.