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