March 31, 2009

Launching a New Product, or Service - What You Need To Know

You can get insurance for pretty much everything -  even very risky activities such as parachute diving and stock car racing.  But you cannot get insurance in respect of launching a new product, or service.  Why?  Well, because the risks are simply too high.

Now, at this time when innovation is so important, pointing out the risks is not meant to deter individuals or companies from launching new products, but to prepare them for the road ahead. 

This list  of what you need to know before you decide to launch a new product, or service has been inspired by a piece written by start-up guru Brian O Kane.

1. It is going to take a lot longer than you think and more time and money too.

2. The chances of a set-back, or a false start, are great.  There is a risk of your won't get off the ground at all!

3. Your plans are how you want it to be and they are a good guide.  But that is not how it will work out.

4. If you hire somebody for the job of selling, it more than likely won't work out – either way the success will still depend on you.

5. The customers you imagine for your solution, are probably not those who need it most

6. People don't know they need your solution, they probably don't even know you exist.

7. You need selling more than marketing, because months down the line you will be complaining that you are not getting to see enough potential customers.

8. Having the best solution doesn't guarantee success.  In fact, nobody important cares about your features and technology.  What your product does, is more important than how it does it.

9. People won't believe how good your solution is, unless your customers say so.  So don't write brochures, write customer success stories.  Oh and that means getting your first satisfied customer as a reference site is key.

10. You are going to struggle to be objective, unemotional and rational about your new product, or service.  That is one of the biggest threats you face.

11.  Success is a confluence of factors, many of which are outside your control.  That is why people say timing is everything.

12. Market resarch may well lead you astray, as keep you on track.

13.  Ironically, the more you think your solution appeals to everybody, the more difficult it will be to market, and the most costly to develop.  You will be tempted to add in more features and more complexity than is necessary.

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