From concept to product launch, entrepreneurs are in for a wild and uncertain adventure. The crazy thing about it is, every step along the way gets more complicated and unpredictable, and the stakes get higher. That’s why many inventors fear the day their product/baby is ready for commercialization. All the months (if not years) preparing for that moment flash through their mind. The fear of failure kicks in with a wave of anxiety, and they begin to second guess if their baby is ready.
Many times, because of this anxiety, the product launch is delayed for ‘further testing.’ Bottom line: entrepreneurs are very scared to send their baby into the wild. And that’s normal.
For this entry, I’ll share three ways to better launch your product while easing anxiety.
1. Test for the worst-case scenarios of product failure; then, once you’ve tested for all possible ways the product could fail, simulate your responses to the worst case with your team (engineers, customer service, sales team). This forces you (and your team) to have a formulated, cohesive plan for when the unexpected inevitably happens.
When your customer service group, for example, knows exactly how your engineers will react in the worst case, it gives them proper context and preparedness when speaking with frustrated customers.
Not only is this just good business, but it will also bring you peace of mind. You’ll know you’re ready for whatever comes your way. Squashing uncertainty is the antidote for any anxious entrepreneur.
2. Before launch, find 100 (minimum) users (*friendlies to the company) to beat the product up for 60 days and see what unexpected issues arise. Tell them to be as demanding on the product as they can be without intentionally abusing it. You’ll also garner valuable feedback on the preferred ways your customers will use the product and other user habits that will help enhance the offering.
*These users can not be company employees. They have too many inherent biases.
3. Constant contact with your early buyers is soooooo important.
One of the most common things I see with the founders and inventors of a cool new product is they think it has to be absolutely flawless before releasing; otherwise, they’ll face shame and inevitable doom.
While that is never a bad mindset (the perfectionist mindset), one of the best ways to ease the anxieties of a product launch is to be transparent and open with your early adopters — say the first 5,000 customers.
Educate them on the evolution of the product’s development and why it is so special. However, while you have rigorously tested it, let the customer know you are ready and prepared to handle any issues that may arise. This lets the customer know that you want their feedback — especially if there are issues — and two, given how novel this product is, there is always the possibility of glitches.
Sending this kind of message to your early adopters sets expectations for a product launch, while also showing the customer they are a part of something at the ‘ground level.’ Customers get excited when they are a part of a product’s future success. You need to demonstrate both humility and confidence in your messaging. And this does just that.
You need to set up an email funnel your early adopters will be put into upon purchasing your product. The funnel should last about 10-14 days, and entail a daily email that provides helpful ways to enhance the value of the product (video best), encourages replies about how the customer is using it, and educates them on the product’s development (from concept to current).
The key here is you want to keep the dialogue open with your early customers. They can be your best brand ambassadors if they buy-in to the story and feel they are a part of its future. Treat them like royalty.
Many entrepreneurs, myself included, fear what I like to call the ‘rubber hits the road moment.’ All your efforts, sacrifices, and capital spent on getting your novel offering market-ready creates mental baggage (PDS — Post Development Stress).
It’s your baby, and she’s all grown up now, ready to leave home into the wild. So, you must find ways to overcome this classic entrepreneurial anxiety. The three keys I mentioned above (particularly important for consumer product launches) will help with that while improving your product offering.
I’m an entrepreneur and angel investor who loves sharing experiences and learnings with like-minded entrepreneurs. Subscribe to my free newsletter below. Only my best content will land in your inbox.