One of the biggest secrets I’ve learned about small business success revolves around the moment you first get started and it’s one of those things that when you realize you forgot, it’s too late.
“Launch” strategies — or the deliberate effort you put into your “arrival” to the market — are some of the most critical factors that plump up your shot at success. Here are the four of the most important elements of a launch strategy as I have observed.
When you are finally ready to “go live” with your real estate development, your digital ebook, or your non-profit initiative for the first time, it’s important to recognize that you are at an absolute peak — that there may never be another day as fresh, focused, or successful in the history of your organization — and that being casual or informal or anything other than loud and proud at this moment is dangerous.
If your launch fails, it will be proportionally more difficult to try to launch with each added attempt. Recognize and name the launch dragon before you attempt to slay it.
Example: Google the phrase “Uber rider zero” and you’ll discover the refined and somewhat secretive strategy the ride-share company uses when it arrives in a new city.
Next, before you actually make your launch public, find at least one group of extraordinary early adopters and give them the farm. While it may be hard to justify this decision on paper, the organic clout of having others on board is imperative, no matter how creative your marketing or deep your pockets may be. Pick them wisely. They will be the prototypes your launch will aim to clone.
Example: When we launched the Inner Circle, we grandfathered in all of VRMB’s best clients at the time for life. Sure, we could have made more money doing otherwise. But this decision not only made those ambassadors feel deservedly special > it gave our group a chance to test out the quirks, to define our rules, and to have real-life testimonials so that things were frictionless on “opening day.”
Every good launch should have a specific goal that represents the tipping point. Oftentimes, the mere act of putting thought into this tipping point generates more focus and better results. But regardless of your performance, having a specific goal helps you either say, “Yes, we achieved a successful launch” or “No, we didn’t.” Without specific goals, you’re left undefined. The more specific metrics you can assign the goal of your launch (sign-ups, attendees, sales…etc.) the better. The more compartmentalized you can make these goals, the better too.
At the root of the best launch strategies, sustainability trumps cash flow. Intentionally underestimate how great you think your product or service is and do everything in your power to overcompensate and assure that you surpass your tipping point.
Allocate every penny, cash in on every favor, and utilize every resource that you can in order to make sure that your launch reaches its goal. Create a value proposition so outrageously irresistible that it doesn’t make financial sense. Eliminate every fear possible. Jack up the incentives. Why? Because if your launch does not reach critical mass, all those resources you’re saving for Stage 2 and 3 and 4 are useless anyway.
Example: Instead of charging a monthly fee, Dropbox chose to offer its service for free in exchange for a social share. “Dropbox’s referral program has been driving signups, with the service seeing around 22-25% growth month over month since launch.”
Knowing these tips is helpful. But there is nothing quite as powerful as having confidence to pull the trigger. In my case, I knew the technology required for a launch was beyond my comfort zone, but I was confident that I could learn it when push came to shove.
No matter what you are starting, put thought into your launch strategy. Be deliberate. Don’t leave anything to chance. If you want to make it up as you go, that’s fine. But it’s going to be stressful. What you are about to create is already hard. And if you choose not to plan your launch, it’s going to be even harder.
I will leave you with one final thought: your launch may very well become one of the most memorable moments of your life. Put in the right preparation and get ready for the ride…but remember when the ride does begin to truly enjoy it. Here’s a photo of me after my first launch: I’m calling my dad, grinning ear to ear, and the excitement didn’t end for days. Certainly a day I’ll never forget…
I enjoy life and creating unique experiences for myself, my neighbors and friends, and my clients. When I wake up each morning, happiness and a meaningful contribution to those around me act as the framework for how I shape my day.