February 24, 2018

Mistake #6 – Your Product is Ready to Launch, But Your Company Isn’t

I’ve experience too many start-ups and early stage companies that are so “heads down” on getting the product developed that once the product is ready, no one has thought about the go-to-market strategy.   This often occurs because working through all the issues and challenges of developing a new product is pretty intensive, and there is no bandwidth to think beyond product development.   This also occurs because the founding team has little go-to-market experience and lacks awareness on what needs to be done.

The product launch is about much more than the product being functionally ready, it’s about the company being ready to engage in a new product launch.  This requires these points of readiness:

  • Product Readiness – is the product functionally ready, in that it provides at least the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) expected from the market and has it been adequately tested to make sure that it works as intended.
  • Marketing Readiness – is the marketing team ready with a marketing launch plan and marketing tools to start creating awareness and demand in the market.
  • Sales & Channel Readiness – has the sales team or channel been properly prepared to represent the product to the market (I’ll discuss this more in the next post).
  • Delivery Readiness – are all parts of the organization involved in the delivery and support of the product ready to execute.   This includes manufacturing, support, professional services, etc.

An effective product launch requires readiness in each of these areas and failure in any of these areas can leave your company with a black eye and a lost opportunity.

If you are a start-up, you most likely won’t have much of an organizational structure in place, but you need to start thinking about these readiness issues and ask questions, such as:

  • How are we going to acquire those first customers?
  • Who is going to do the selling?
  • How are we going to make potential customers aware of our offering?
  • What happens when someone buys the first product?   How will we deliver it?  Who is responsible for these steps?
  • How do we handle a support request when it comes in?  Who will handle it?

These questions are just a starting point, but if you haven’t thought about them and made some plans around them, then you won’t be “ready” when the time comes.

Launch readiness is more than just about the product, it’s about the company being ready for the launch.


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