6 Tips to Prepare Your Launch Like A Pro & Identify When You're Not Ready.
Over the years, we've been involved in numerous launches of different types and calibers.
Some were successful, while others were not. When I look back on those that succeeded, it's clear that the most crucial factor was preparation and flexibility. And, of all the work we tackle, one of the most challenging things we have to do is tell someone they aren't ready - regardless, we have to break a heart here and there in the name of best practices. There is no reason to encourage someone to proceed with a 4-week schedule when you know it will take 12 weeks.
Let's take a deeper look at how not allowing enough time to develop your project and adhering to a deadline that forces one to launch without being fully prepared can be detrimental.
Take your time - it may be the most challenging but brilliant step you can take!
1) Understand What Your Needs And Wants Are is the first step to being prepared.
This may sound obvious, but it's not. You need to know what you want from the project. A simple answer could be: I want to make money, I want my music to hit 50,000 streams, or I'd like this new website to attract new clients. But many more complex answers can help determine where to focus your energy and resources. For example, does your goal involve outsourcing, developing a team, or - as a singular person - do you need to be very frugal with your abilities and time?
2) Know The Roles Of the People Involved
Now that you've identified those needs and wants, it's time to explore who will be involved in this project. How will their roles affect each other? Do these people have enough experience to succeed at their tasks? What are their strengths and weaknesses, and how quickly can they work? Are you flying solo on this mission, and if so, do you have the ability to do it all? Where will you find a team that can help if you come up short? All these questions are essential in understanding how people fit into your project and how they will affect its success or failure. It will also help you determine the amount of actual time to complete the entire launch.
Now you set your launch date - not before!
This stage includes all the research, analysis, and preparation to ensure you've got everything lined up so you're ready when it's time to launch. In this phase, you are creating your group calendar, again identifying how long each task will take to complete and how to space them out. For instance, you might be sending out press releases, building websites or marketing materials, etc. Define the order in which these tasks need to happen and where they overlap. Do you have your email marketing list compiled? If no, who is going to make sure that's done before you start social media? Determine your budget and allocate funds before you implement your plan to ensure you can pay for what you wish to do. And, most importantly allow for some wiggle room and a back-up plan if something goes awry.
Be honest with yourself and your team about how well you think you can pull this off. Don't overpromise and under-deliver. Don't make your goals unattainable; if you are unsure if they are, run your planning past the second set of eyes with experience in your industry.
The other stages will come together much more smoothly if you've done your homework here.
Your launch doesn't happen in one perfect moment or button push. It's all of your pieces coming into focus simultaneously to achieve the same goal. It's time to go through your to-do list and double check that every component is visually cohesive, happening in proper order, and that your team is all on the same page. In the planning stage you'll notice that some completed tasks are supportive tasks and if not done in the correct order will prevent other pieces from falling into place. I suggest doing this quarterly through out the process of implementation.
If all looks good - confirm your release date!
However, if you find that not everything is coming together as smoothly as you'd hoped, it is ok to pump the breaks and push back that deadline you've been projecting. It's a hard decision to make, but it can be the difference between wasted money, time, and effort and success. You may dread having to tell a supporter, investor, or press contact that the date needs to be moved back but trust me - anyone indeed in your corner would rather see you successful. You can also decide to drop something that just isn't happening or is proving not very manageable. Yes, It's ok to trim the fat mid-process if your overall goal isn't too compromised by it's absence and getting rid of it helps your hit your launch date.
Push the button, assemble the party, sit back and watch your hard work do its magic! This is the final moment you've been waiting for and the most crucial time to keep a close eye on the results. This isn't going to be the only project, product, or release you put out into the stratosphere, so it's time to assess what is working and what isn't.
Keep good notes in the excitement of it all!
6) Post Launch
Yay, It's all over! Not quite. ;)
It's been a few days, weeks, or even years since the launch, and by now, you will have a pretty good handle on what produced success. Some things slow burn, and you'll be reaping the benefits of careful planning for years to come, while others you can track almost immediately. You now can analyze what worked and what didn't (if anything did) and make any necessary changes for next time. Do yourself a favor and ask these questions:
Was your launch schedule attainable, or did it leave you feeling burned out?
Were people involved able to do their best work within the time allotted?
Was the order of your tasks correct and efficient, or should your tweak your timeline for the next launch?
Were you generally happy with the outcome?
What could you have done differently?
What pleasantly surprised you?
Did you budget your money well?
Every entrepreneur has their definition of success, but it is universally agreed upon that a successful project does not take unnecessary risks or cut corners. It was thoughtfully and creatively crafted, produced by skilled people at every step to ensure its proper completion. Our goal is to make big things possible, and that takes skill. Rushing anything can be highly damaging and can lead creatives down the path to burnout. And, as you may know, we focus a lot of energy on helping creative entrepreneurs of all levels avoid that.
When it's all said and done - take your time, work with a reliable team, don't set too lofty of a goal, and be confident in your launch.
Do it once. Do it right.
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