How do you know when you are ready to launch?
I have been working on a startup and have been in stealth mode for several months. I have been collecting a lot of data and revising my minimum viable product. I know it is not perfect, but am wondering at what point should I launch it. How have others determined that line between good enough and better?
When real customers are willing to pay real money for your product or service, you have a real business. Start with the fundamentals: Who are you and why should anyone care? If you're not passionate about what you're doing, then why should anyone else be? There's a lot of noise in every category, so if you don't have a unique story to tell and a new approach or idea that excites you, then go no further.
Every great business is built on a great story so start telling yours to potential customers and see if they buy what you're selling. Testing should always be done with real customers, not with family and friends (who may only tell you what they think you want to hear so they don't hurt your feelings).
I would suggest the best judge of your product is your customer if your customer like it its a great product already and you dont need to make it perfect. Find a way to give access to a few set of customer and take feedback. if product idea is very unique than launch it with beta phase.
You need to choose the right time for Launching , what is your product , I don"t know wether its seasonal or regular product , In such a case , plan How to start , making use of all available factors to have astrong Launching , I will reflecs your product level & people will come to ask or enquire a bout it in a prticular time , make benifit out of the time the people needs , this way you can shorten the period to distribute & cover a particular market .
Ask yourself this question: if you were the customer would you buy the product and like it enough to recommend it to a friend.
If the answer is yes, then you are ready to launch. Steve Johnson's advice was also very good.
A product or app can almost always be improved. Look at the software indusry, auto industry, pharmaceuticals, almost any product or service can be improved over time. The issue: is is the product commercially viable as-is. If it is, then it is ready to launch. Apple, Microsoft and others make patches and new versions to sell. Some are done to be substantive improvements, others to keep selling a new product. Nevertheless, the start to market them when they are commercially viable not when they are perfect.
All is relative (and that goes for "perfect" as well). In my view it is "perfect" to launch as soon as you feel the product is "complete" vs. the business issue it adress (i.e. it delivers a solution to a real problem that someone out there is ready to pay for to have solved). The sooner you launch the earlier you will have "real" feedback on your value offering and how to move forward (or not).
You are ready when:
1. Your Business Plan complete
2. Financing Plan complete
3. Production Plan complete
4, Equipment is ray for delivery
5. Location is ready
6. Staff is hired and trained
7. You are ready
In my opinion, the best book ever written on this subject is "The Art of the Start," by Guy Kawasaki. His steps are:
1. Make Meaning - The new term for this is What is your "Why"?
2. Make Mantra - How you articulate what you do - shorter than a mission statement. He gives examples of Disney - Family entertainment, Nike - Authentic athletic performance, etc.
3. Get Going - Sounds like you have been doing this, but the point here is start making and delivering your product to the target market.
4. Define Your Business Model - Hopefully, you already have an idea of how you are going to make money; however, it is my experience that it rarely works out the way you planned. I have been working with a start-up in L.A. for five years. They are just now nailing this to the point that I believe the hockey stick in sales is about to happen. Of course, the world will look at it as an overnight success.
5. Weave a MAT, (Milestones, Assumptions, and Tasks) - As he points out in the book, the purpose of compiling the MAT is to understand the scope of what you're undertaking, test assumptions quickly and provide a method to find and fix the large flaws in your thinking.
This book was published 12 years ago but it is as relevant today as it was then.
I believe pre-launch is the best medicine. Allow your clients to give you a hint that your product is ready since their feedback will give you a better view of things. Otherwise you be stuck with probably something the market does not want.
Tom, you should have launched yesterday operating in stealth mode is no longer viable.
Your MVP is supposed to be validated by the users who need to actually use the feature. Note that the MVP is intended to validate a hypothesis on the existence of a problem and a customer.
You launch when you know implementing your product "as is" provides true value to your market. Make sure it's useful, stands out amongst your competition and delivers the core reason why you even decided to launch a startup.
I have 18 years in helping entrepreneurs launch their businesses online, have created a great resource hub to inspire and push you to the finish line if you want a bit of mentorship or to just listen to those who've done it. Go to www.rebelspatch.com and ping me directly if I can be any help. ~ Marzena Kmiecik
I say Go For It! Things always get better with time (and knowledge).
I suggest that you use a customer feedback system, whether it is a low-tech paper survey or high-tech digital version, to find out if your product is meeting the needs and expectations of your customers. Then use that information to improve your offering.
Good luck and best wishes.
Entrepreneurship in and of itself is a risky proposition. Wouldn't recommend it for those with low risk tolerance. Research and development, studying environment, discovery are all good activities, but nothing gets started until you act. Paralysis by analysis generally kicks in not because you don't have enough resources or detail, but when fear has become the controller. Often time it's fear of failure -- or even worse God forbid, fear of success -- that freezes you at edge of pool staring at the water. Sometimes one can study long and study wrong. Winning as an entreprenur is largely not mental or technical, it's emotional. Attitude and belief in yourself. There are only two true motivations out there -- fear or faith. Which one's guiding you? Trust that most of us in this e-trail, didn't have our thing completely buttoned up when we lepth, even with a thorough biz plan in tow. We stepped out on mostly faith (ok, at least I did), and began swimming soon as we heard the splash. Net/net, come on in, "the water's warm. You're probably way more prepared than you think.
Once you have your ducks in a row, your vendors inline ( research done that they can honestly handle your business needs ), your books ready, your accountant on hand, and such - why not go ahead.
It depends what you mean by "launch". Have you considered a "pre-launch" aimed at attracting one or more major clients/customers whose custom validates your product/service and credibility and helps fund (and provides the platform for) your full launch.
Without knowing the product it will be difficult to advise specifically.
However ,generally speaking , the launching has a market dynamic issue of the time slot of the available opportunity in the market. This means that your product has an opportunity till the time it has a vacancy in the market otherwise that opportunity will be taken by someone else either through his own idea or resources or through getting your idea or resources.
In most industries there is a huge potential of Obsolescence and getting outdated.
So , sooner the better.
You can mitigate your risk by starting at a low scale and involving your near ones first and then move forward to a bigger scale. Soft launch to your friends, relatives , community etc.
Get the feedback , improve to your best and come in the market with a BAM or increase your market share slowly and gradually depending on your resources and plan.
Again be careful of the right time ,network and impact.
The idea is that you don't have to decide on good enough and better .Your customers have to.
The price dynamic will give you the trade off between customer preference and your return on the risk.
Move forward as soon as possible and keep adapting to the learning and feedback from the stakeholders.
Best of luck,
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late. - Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn
There's a lot of truth in that quote and others like it. One of my other favorites is "The better is the enemy of the good". You can continue polishing and polishing until you wear the paint off, or you can launch, learn and improve. If your minimum viable product is truly viable, now is the time.
Good luck, and as a mentor, advisor, confidant and consultant, I won't refuse a few hundred shares,
Sounds like you've done your prep and due diligence. Time to get out there and do it. You'll learn more as you go. Have fun with it!
You're ready to launch when your customers are ready to start using your solution. Launch is NOT the end of development; launch is the beginning of promotion. And if you're going to get customers interested, you'll have to do it on their time schedule.
Vendors want to sell products as soon as possible but you have to align with the market's rhythm. You don't sell houses in the winter; you only sell to educators in the summer. Toys have to be ready for Christmas; candy ready for Halloween. Most enterprise clients want big changes in the spring and small changes in the autumn. Never do anything during the major holidays in the countries you serve.
Talk to your potential customers. If you've "revised your MVP," then you have a small number of customers with whom you've been doing discovery. They can tell you if your product is ready to launch and when they'll be able to make your product a priority.
Launch is a process, not an event. Align with your customers' seasonal rhythms and empower the rest of your team. Remember, there's more to your product offering than software.
You're ready to launch when your customers are ready to start using your solution.
There never is a perfect time. If you have a minimum viable product, i would venture to say that the launch should not be delayed after that. How else will you know if your solution is actually useful to the marketplace?
I would say that the "when" of being a perfect time would be when you are mentally ready enough and when you have prepared your service/product offering to a point of delivery (not perfection). It doesn't hurt to have your business plan and some of your processes mapped out. You market will really dictate how you pivot and how you proceed. Remember, your offering will never be perfect right out of the gates. Expect to hit bumps and have bruises, but mitigate this by keeping an open mind and knowing how to identify opportunities for improvements or pivots.
If you're at a point of humming and hawing over starting...I'd say just start. My favorite saying that gets me going forward in such times is "sh*t or get off the pot." :)