One of the things I have been racking my brains over for the last 2 months is coming up with a launch strategy to give my startup the best chance to take-off.
So far, my main takeaway is that launching is not a one time event, but a series of events that must be orchestrated like a olympic synchronized swimming event.
Needless to say, there are a lot of moving parts when launching. One of these parts that you must put into motion is a pre-launch FAQ.
The pre-launch FAQ is a concept I took away from Marshall Kirkpatrick, who was formerly the co-editor at ReadWriteWeb, and one of the first writers on TechCrunch.
In 2007, Kirkpatrick wrote a blog post about his experience with major product launches. He advises that entrepreneurs create a pre-launch FAQ for the following reason:
Based on my experience covering startups at TechCrunch I found the majority of telephone conversations with CEOs to be frustratingly long, slow and unneeded. Tech news and review bloggers are hungry for content and if you give them all the info they need to write, in an easy to consume fashion, they will appreciate it and be more likely to write about you.
This post may be 6 years old, but it’s still insanely relevant.
Read Marshall’s full blog post to learn more about what you should include in this FAQ. In addition, in this post Marshall provides and links to some good tips on finding bloggers to connect with to help you publicize your launch.
If I take off my entrepreneur hat for a second and think about the term ‘launch’ the first thing that comes to mind is a rocket.
Now, when I put my entrepreneur hat back on I start thinking uh oh…Will my launch propel my new startup in the air like a rocket?
If you are a startup in the truest meaning of the word, your product is not ready for the velocity of a rocket.
That type of velocity may actually cause a startup to fall apart. Especially if you haven’t done any type of stress test.
This is why Eric Ries, author of the Lean Startup, recommends that you Don’t Launch your startup at all….in the traditional sense of the word at least. Ries warns:
You never get a second chance to launch. Unlike a lot of other startup activities, PR is not one where you can try it, iterate, learn, and try again. It’s a one-way event, so you’d better get it right.
Ries provides so many insightful thoughts in this article. If you are thinking about a startup or already in the process, read this Eric Ries post before you do anything else.
Mark Suster dropped another nugget of gold on his blog a few days ago in a post titled Stop Trying to Catch Lightning in a Bottle. This time his advice touches on how to best launch new products. Most people have heard the quote that you shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of good. However, some people confuse this with the whole concept of going from ‘good to great’.
The key is to remember that launching a good product on day 1 is not going to stop the product from being great on day 365. However, if you wait until day 365 to launch, you risk that your product is still not great and it taking you until day 730 to get to great .
When you are launching a new product it’s better to get it out in the world and let your customers help you iterate on the improvements until it goes from good to great. In Mark Suster’s words:
No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. So the sooner you’re live the sooner you’ll be able to separate your own internal BS from what the market really wants and thinks.