I was talking with someone recently who had been working on their software idea for the past three years. I asked them ‘when are you going to launch your product, when are you going to ship your product?’ The answer was, “There are still things to do, and when the right time comes, we will know”.
The MVP will never be done, and someone else will come up with your idea and launch. I like this quote by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
Begin with The End in Mind
Work out how much time you need to get your MVP done and ready to ship. Yes, you are not going to know what is going come up along the way, what challenges you will come across. What unforeseen circumstance is going to kick you in the ass, but you need to ship on time and work back from that time.
Once you have that time in mind, make sure everyone on your team knows it and works to that count down. It will drive you to work long hours; it will drive you to make tough decisions, it will drive you towards your goal of launching your product into the world and get feedback so you can iterate and get it right.
Set the Date to Ship
So set the Ship Date, launch date, or whatever you want to call it. Make the decision, set the goal and go for it.
13 Pre-Shipping Activities
We are in the same position as you are working towards a ship date for our product launch, and this is what we are thinking about and what we are working on.
- Secure Social Channels
With the company name secured and the domain name purchased we are locking down the social media channels. The main channels we have obtained are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. As much as possible, we want to keep the name consistent across these social channels so that we are findable when people hear about us and want to check us out.
The website is set up, design finalized, and content written, ready for the big reveal. When the market hears about us, we want to make sure that they find what they are looking for and it is on brand and on message. The copy is written from a buyer’s perspective and we are ready to engage with prospective customers.
- First Month’s Blog Posts
The first four weeks of blog posts are written to create a buffer of content, ready to launch each week and give us time to create additional posts as we get busy and write content based on customer feedback.
Trademarks are lodged to protect the brand as it increases in value.
Almost daily we check how we are progressing on the MVP. Like a cruise missile auto-corrects if it gets off course all the way to the target, we are making decisions, checking we are not adding just one more feature that could end up delaying us from hitting our ship date without adding value to the MVP.
Our presentations are another item on our list of things to complete. With three target groups for our product, we need to have a unique presentation for each. A presentation for Microsoft, a presentation for Microsoft Partners, and a presentation for our initial target customers’ industry.
- Demo Script
- Video Demos
Video demos are another consideration. Taking each feature and benefit of our product, we create storyboards, produce the videos, so they are available on-demand via YouTube. We are not looking at outsourcing this but using existing in-house skills to produce these.
- Target Audience
We are clear on the target audience that we intended to engage within the first 90 days’ post ship date. Why? Because we need to validate the MVP and iterate so that customers get the software that solves their business problems and drives massive value for their business.
- 90 Day Launch Goals
We are clear on what the first 90 days look like post ship date. What activities we need to be doing, what effort needs to be exerted to power up the launch of the company. Just like any rocket or aircraft uses more fuel on take-off than any other time in the flight, the first 90 Days is expected to be full-on.
- Logo and Color Palette
As you would expect, the color palette and logo design have been decided by this point. As well as using this consistently across all social media channels and in the software iconography.
- Role Expectations
Everyone’s roles have been established, and the activities and outputs have been defined so we can measure and pivot as needed. Titles are not that important, but everyone needs to be clear on what they are doing and what is expected.
The above are just some of the things that are top of mind. Is there anything you think we have missed?