If you are working on a new product or service and you planned to introduce it to the market in days or month ahead, you should know that this introduction – which can be a new project – will have an important impact on the success of your business.
Day by day, many startups, and SMEs bring new product to the market. Some of them with a lot of noise for example when a new IPhone is introduced every one of us would know about it; Or when Google or Facebook add a new feature.
Many startup owners who are at the very early stages of their business ask Khoshfekri about the best time to launch their product.
To answer that question let’s take a look at the concept of launching a new product. Generally “launch” has two aspects:
- Promotional aspect: providing information about the new product/service via promotional campaigns and advertisement.
- Distribution: taking the product to the hands of customers.
Launching a new product to the market is a tactic rather than a solution. Each of above mentioned aspects have their own advantages and usually big companies do both. But this is not a general rule and it could change according to the market and business conditions.
Actually doing both in a startup can make some damages. In other words, most of the times making the product public is enough and there is no need to advertise it. The main purpose of a promotional launch is getting the attention of as many people as possible. But such purpose makes it only one shot per product. So even if many people come to your website or signup, there is no guarantee that they will come back and use your product again.
On the other hand if lots of people signup for the service or product and want to use it you would need lots of capital and working force to be able to manage, support and answer to their requests. Since as a startup you may not have such money or personnel, this could make a mess in your business and turn into an anti-trust disaster.
So, what is the best time to launch?
Most of us as startup founder are over obsessive about our product. We want to add more features and details to make each and every user happy. Obviously this needs more time which prevent us from launching the product into the market in a proper time which makes your investors impatience, your team tired and your prospect customers, confused.
Do not wait until it is perfect:
Perfection is not achievable. What an entrepreneur should seek is excellence which a step by step process. So as soon as possible you felt that your product has basic necessary features and its quality is good enough, you should launch. The sooner you put the product in the hands of customer, the sooner you can get their feedback, the cheaper and faster you can make changes to your product or service.
How to figure out the basic necessary features the product should have before launch?
A good way to answer this question is to set a deadline for you. For example imagine you have only 10 days to a one-time-only launch. Now ask yourself among many features you have in mind, which one you keep and which one you through away?
By postponing the things those are not as important as they look, and things those do not create value for your customer, you are able to focus on important tasks which are essential to your success.
Many successful products used this tactics. For example:
- MailChimp (the Email marketing service) did not have many of its current features such as RSS-to-Email, at launch.
- When Dropbox founder, Drew Houston was looking for investment, his product did not have many features such as being cross platform. Then to be able to ask opinions of users about his idea and product, he made a video and put it on the internet.
- In the very early versions of Iphone’s OS (iOS) users could not search within their contact list. Also, copy-paste functionality came after two years of initial launch in new versions of Iphone.
Remember, you should not sacrifice quality in favor of speed in launch. It is OK if a product has few features when it launches but if those few features would not work as expected, it will fail soon.