LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, said if you’re not embarrassed by your first launch – you launched too late! Whilst this blog post is how to launch the perfect product, this is really about how to launch imperfectly.
I’m a huge advocate of the launch of the MVP (minimum viable product) which in the tech world means the simplest form of a product / service that you can launch with to validate an idea. Sounds like common sense, right? Well, you’d think so but I see a lot of resistance to this.
Many entrepreneurs believe what they should launch with is actually a perfect product, to them this is their MVP – but its just not the case most of the time.
What can often stop someone launching is their own fear of judgement if their product / service isn’t good enough. This manifests itself in a feeling of “my product isn’t ready yet” – but what this really means is “I’m not ready yet”.
Get your product out there, get feedback and THEN reiterate. REPEAT. By adopting this approach you’ll waste less time, grow faster and build a loyal customer base because you made them the centre of your business and built your product around them.
So what is the minimum you should launch with?
Next time you’re launching anything ask yourself these 2 things – better still, ask others who have expertise for their opinion and if appropriate ask your audience.
1. Do a bells and whistles review
List out all of your product / service features and ask yourself is this vital or is “bells and whistles”?
If you’re still struggling to answer this question then put yourself into the shoes of your customer. If this aspect of your product / service broke or disappeared would it make you cancel? If you think it is a customer loser it may be vital to your success too.
Chances are though that most features are usually bells and whistles and although this might annoy a customer if it was broken, you wouldn’t necessarily lose them completely and you can consider adding it later.
Once you have launched, you can get feedback from your customers on your bells and whistles features – is this something they really want? Perhaps there’s something even better they want that you haven’t thought of.
2. Is this the simplest way?
Always look for off the shelf solutions first. Despite having the skill set to develop custom code versions this is always my first port of call – even in my own businesses. There’s a little bit of hesitation when I make this suggestion to some of my clients and I totally get why!
Why do you want to launch a product that could so easily be copied by using something out of the box?
I regularly do myself out of a lot of work by making this suggestion, but I would much rather a client use something off the shelf, test their idea, get feedback, generate more revenue and THEN come back and have something custom built. In most cases it is a pointless exercise building something custom to validate an idea and the truth is, with a bit of customisation you can make almost anything off the shelf feel “bespoke”.
If you’re in the middle of launching, did this resonate? Drop me a comment below and let me know if this post has made you think differently and what steps you're going to take next. If you're struggling to launch, share your story – I'd love to help you!