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:
Packaging (Physical or virtual)
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
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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