Build it and they will WHAT?!?!

26Mar
7Comments

We just kicked off our 3, 2, 1 Launch BOOTCAMP today with some amazing entrepreneurs so I’m feeling in a little bit of a BOOTCAMP style mood today! You’ve been warned!

Every time someone says “Build it and they will come” a unicorn dies.   Ok in all seriousness this is still the mindset of some entrepreneurs and small business owners (and even some select suits in ivory towers that I know) who believe that if you build something, the customers will magically appear to buy the product.

Let us take a look at the investment facts!

Each activity in your business requires an investment.  Investment means money.  This includes your TIME invested!  The creation of a product or service involves a large investment of time, research and actual product development.  Calculate that time (hourly rate X hours invested) spent along with the investment in materials and marketing and you will end up with a pretty hefty price tag.

This is too high a price to pay for hope that customers will come.  Hope is not a strategy!   In fact this is a high risk approach that often results in failure of a perfectly good product and the loss of a significant amount of money.

Here’s how you mitigate your risk!

It used to be a popular strategy to hoard an idea or be in “stealth” mode until launch.  This was done for a variety of reasons including IP protection and avoiding competition who could create a similar product to launch around the same time frame.   Strategies have since changed and early engagement of your ideal customer has become MANDATORY in ensuring success of a product, but most importantly determining the viability of a product.  A great example of a company that has used this strategy is Pinterest who has built a viral invite only user base and is now the top traffic generator for retail products!   You can do this too by using tools like Launch Rock that allow you to get customers excited about your product and sign up to be notified in time for launch.  From these signups you can obtain valuable information on the type of customer who is interested and who your ideal customer profile is.  You can even pick and choose who to engage early on for a soft launch.

Once you have an idea it is imperative to validate it to an extent with potential buyers and even potential partners to get early feedback on:

  •         Use cases
  •         Features
  •         Packaging (Physical or virtual)
  •         Pricing
  •         Marketing messaging
  •         And much more

With this information in hand you have the potential of not just bringing your idea to market but to incorporate external feedback to build an even better product!    Remember: If you are going to share pre product release your information with ANYONE, ensure you have at least a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)  in place or beta user agreement that clearly states ownership and what can and can’t be disclosed outside of your business relationship.  Bring a lawyer on board EARLY in the process to advise you on what documents you need in place before sharing information.  There are two areas that a business person must never “economize” on or skip. Those are Financial and Legal advice!  Always bring in the professionals, especially early on in the ideation process!

Hard decisions – Go or No Go?

If there was ever a time to kill a product because it wasn’t the right time or didn’t seem viable, NOW is the time!  It will be a difficult decision but if all the validation points to the product not being viable, the timing not right, the investment not available or the need for further development to make it work, it is better to stop now, regroup and refocus.

The only type of organization that can pull off a “build it and they will come” successfully is a very established brand with a loyal following.    Even this will only be sustainable if the product itself is absolutely EXCELLENT!  If the product is not top notch, the loyal following will drop off like the brand that has reached the end of a cliff.

My 10 Day Launch Strategy covers kicking off your product with a soft launch and the value of early customer testimonials as well as 9 additional launch strategies.  Sign up now for the free 10 Day Launch Strategy!

Want to share the love?  I’ve made it super easy to help entrepreneurs launch successfully!

Creating products?  @AVV’s #mentormondays blog is a must read!  Build it and they will WHAT?!  http://ow.ly/9SDtk

Build it & they will WHAT?!  Pre launch activities so you don’t lose your shirt before you launch your product! http://ow.ly/9SDtk

Hope is not a strategy!   @AVV provides great pre launch strategies for great product launches! http://ow.ly/9SDtk #mentormondays

Did you enjoy this article?  Do you have a blog that is read by entrepreneurs and small business owners?   Feel free to share this article as a guest post on your site!  Just be sure to include the entire blurb below with it!


Anastasia Valentine is an award-winning product strategist, CEO of a fabulous marketing and PR agency, speaker, published author and mother. She has over 20 years achieving amazing results in bringing ideas and products to market in the high-tech, music and retail industries.
She works directly with amazing solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small, medium and enterprise-class companies across the globe.  Her approach combines her knowledge, skills and experience fueled with her drive, a little tenacity and a lot of moxie to launch and build businesses!  Visit Anastasia at www.anastasia-valentine.com

This Post Has 7 Comments:

  • Christie Halmick says:March 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Anastasia – I so appreciate your no-nonsense approach to building and launching. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and unicorns… and forget the crucial steps. Best of luck w/ 3, 2, 1 Launch Bootcamp. I know you did your homework on that.

  • Jenny Shih says:March 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    You are totally right on point here. I bought into the “build it and they will come” mindset when I started my first online business. Let’s just say that success didn’t really, um, happen.

    When I closed up shop and decided to start a different business, I got really clear on what I was delivering and to whom, as well as how I was going to leverage my superpowers to make it happen. This time, success has been a completely different (and wonderful) story.

    You really nail it on the head here:
    “The only type of organization that can pull off a “build it and they will come” successfully is a very established brand with a loyal following. Even this will only be sustainable if the product itself is absolutely EXCELLENT!”

    Thanks for your frank approach and total honesty. These messages need to save people like the early me from self-destruction :-)

    Hope you rock it with your Launch Bootcamp!

  • Sherold says:March 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Anastasia – you write such useful and valuable blogs. This one hits the nail right on the head. And Jenny Shih notes the same thing – unless you have a tribe of raving fans, just because you create a great product or service, doesn’t mean it will sell. The marketplace is only getting busier and we are all inundated with messages.
    I hope your Bootcamp is a total success. I am so glad to learn more about you each time you are part of the blogging group.

  • Laura Gates says:March 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Anastasia great insight, as always. Another of my favorites is Do what you Love the Money will follow. But without the practical implementation you describe here, the money will languish! I am test driving some new offerings and it is great to be in learning and experimentation mode, and realizing that I need to let go of what I thought people wanted and create what they need!

  • Yvette says:March 28, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Anastasia, fantastic post! Long time ago when I worked as a consultant, many of my clients had the mentality of build it and they will come. To hear that still today business owners believe the whole build it and they will come belief is crazy!! Its so great that you are talking about this and the logistics behind it. Implementation is so key to reach success. Great info.

  • Kathleen Prophet says:March 28, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Ah yes… methinks this blindspot is more than just about the adage… build it and they will come… but also about the lack of skill and understanding as it relates to creators, particularly artists. Even in other fields…. people are educated in their specialization, but not in how to bridget that to the world. My own background in the arts and more recently depth psychology, loads of training, but not how to bridge it to the world. I have had to do solely crash courses in business over this last year to even BEGIN to understand what is required in our contemporary times and social media. I would LOVE to know more about solid launch tactics. Look forward to hearing more from you, Anastasia!

  • Jennifer Peek | Creative Business Strategist says:March 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    “Hope is not a strategy!”

    Oh yeah it’s not…that’s where the unicorns live. These key steps that you outline – and how times have changed to involved the customers upfront – are all critical in making sure you have a business that works, a launch that rocks and insights into making it even bigger and better the next time. The resources that you mention are great tools to have at the ready – and I know I’m going to need them soon!

    Jennifer Peek
    Find Your New Groove
    Left-Brained Strategy for Right-Brained Businesses


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