Launch startup is not an easy process and first-time founders often make mistakes when they launch their first startup. Common mistakes include attaching too much importance to the launch event, over-investing in capital and time to make it “just right”.
It is not surprising considering the glamour that advertising campaigns and business media attach to launch events. We are also inclined to polish everything we present to the public. It is our reputation that is at risk (or at least how it feels).
However, to launch startup process in its early stages is very different to the typical launch most people imagine.
A great launch event does not serve as a growth driver but rather an amplifier. This is the critical insight that will help founders gain the right perspective. A great launch will accelerate your growth if your product-market fit is achieved. However, if your offering doesn’t have a product market fit, then a great launch would not make much difference over the long-term, no matter how many resources are invested in it or how much publicity it receives.
Problem is, before you launch, it’s not possible to know if your product-market fit is right in the first place. You would likely have to launch several times before you feel the pull of the market. You would run out of resources quickly if you invested heavily in each launch. This could be fatal if you don’t find the right product-market fit. You can find ressources about on Slideshare.
Reid Hoffman, founder and CEO of Linkedin, said that “if you don’t feel embarrassed by the first version, your product is not ready for prime time”
A launch event for an early stage startup is more of a test to see if the offering is viable than a promotion tool. Your goal is to get your idea out there to potential customers and collect feedback that will help you improve your offering.
Practical tips to launch startup
Here are some practical tips to help you get started with your startup in the early stages.
- Pre-sales are a great way to get feedback before your launch.
- You don’t have to launch a finished product. You can launch something fast or something more polished if you must choose. As many have done already. Based on the feedback that you get, the quicker you launch, you will improve the quality and speed of your offering. Your minimum viable product must be available.
- Negative feedback is not something to be afraid of. You are seeking feedback. Use it to improve.
- Soft launches are better – it will lessen the sense that a launch event is the end-all-be-all of a product’s life and the social pressure that comes with it. Attract customers, get feedback, launch, iterate, relaunch with new features and then repeat.
- Closed alpha and beta versions are best. This will help you and your team understand that you are not presenting a final product to the world. This would encourage feedback which is a huge benefit. You can also create an exclusive feeling that early adopters will appreciate. This will increase your chances of them becoming brand advocates.
- Last, but not least, a closed beta or alpha would allow you to host a second official launch event after you are sure you have a product market fit. This would improve your chances of making the most of all publicity that you receive.