Is there a right way or a wrong way to launch a business, product, or service? Some will say yes, others will say no.
You can follow a bunch of guidelines and business how-to books, you can follow tips given by business coaches, you can do what’s been tried and proven by someone else, or you can take a risk and use the same creativity that got you where you are today to launch in your own way.
If you’re like many trying to launch a product or service, you’ve likely heard a lot already. You’ve probably learned of the importance of a having a business plan, narrowing a niche, creating a brand and sales funnel, the importance of collecting emails for marketing, and on and on.
All this “speak” can be troublesome to the business that just wants to get the thing launched and make sales. But having great expertise, an outstanding product, or creativity alone is seldom enough.
The Left-Brained Innovator
Left-brained innovators set out to build great products or serve clients with their expertise. Revenue is the goal. It sounds simple; take a great idea, develop it, launch it, and collect the proceeds.
Left-brained thinkers might see in-depth planning and marketing for a product launch as “mumbo jumbo”. They might even believe a marketing team is unnecessary. They may undervalue support staff such as those in customer service, accounts receivable, and even shipping and receiving.
Intuitively this lot knows that without their expertise there would be no product or service and thus no revenue. In their mind, they are king; without their ability to build products or serve clients there would be no business.
But without communicating the product or service to the customers who need it, there will be no sales. Without an accounts receivable department to collect payments, there will be no cash in the bank.
Success in business is never one-dimensional. It is multi-faceted and control freaks on the management team will hold the business back if they don’t welcome others into the circle and value their contributions. Building the right team is part of the equation in a successful product launch.
The Right-Brained Innovator
Right-brained innovators are those types that tend to work from a more creative or artistic viewpoint. They can often visualize a product or service in detail, seeing it in their minds’ eye in full colour. They visualize people flocking to it. But their downfall is in over-dreaming. Their vision lies without trial, error, proof and statistics.
Right-brained innovators might struggle with identifying the concrete, detailed steps needed to get to a profitable end. In other words, their dreams may never get off the ground unless they have a few left-brained people on their team to make it happen.
The Route to Solidifying a Plan
Left-brained thinkers tend to like tradition and templates. They want to follow well-defined and proven paths. They feel safer with boundaries. They like concrete targets, and they don’t handle deviations from the path very well. They want to see figures, and may be tempted to throw out a project if the returns don’t show up quickly enough.
Following templates and copying from the forefathers isn’t wrong in itself. Historically, we’ve learned through reading, memorizing, mathematics, analyzing, and copying. When someone creates the right equation or spells out a pathway, the work is half done.
Why re-write the book? Why not do it the way it’s always been done? Why not piggyback on what the competition is doing?
The answer is that launching a product or service today is part science and part art. Innovation is king today, and innovation demands more than following an old-school set out path. The left-brained thinker needs the right-brained thinker’s input.
Innovation usually means stepping beyond the traditional, which may mean templates, how-to books, business plans, and so on, are a means to an end, but not the end in itself.
The lesson for both the left- brained and right-brained thinkers, for the artist and the engineer, the older generation and the new one, is to build from a place of mutual respect for what each offers.
Templates and set paths are starting points. Try on what others have done, tweaking it to fit your business. Keep what works and discard what doesn’t. Don’t feel you have to hold to some formula just because someone says you should.
Launching dynamically is about having the right team to make it happen. A business culture is built well with balance-either with the right team in-house, or by filling the gaps with outside professionals such as marketers, consultants, or product launch companies.
A truly respectable and balanced culture is created when great ideas are given room to be cultivated. Once the “baby” is conceived, having the right caregiver to pass it off to next is essential.
Like any mother planning for the birth of her child, preparation can start early. Your product launch team, your customer service team, your accounting team, can get into gear to make way for the birth.
The additional caregivers will ferret out obstacles and develop a platform to increase the odds of the baby not only surviving its launch, but prospering.
Expect Setbacks, Minimize Risks, and Make it Happen
Before the baby gets to the launch stage, though, trouble may brew. The left-brained professionals might grow weary of the artistic team. The right-brained creatives might become stifled by metrics-driven managers. The trials might result in far too many errors than predicted, and the marketing team might be guilty of sucking the budget dry. What was once a brilliant idea on the verge of an innovative breakthrough becomes vulnerable to cannibalistic demise.
Are you at this stage, where what once looked like a great idea is now a source of frustration? Just as committed and ardent dieters find themselves all too soon dipping into chocolate donuts, soft drinks, chips and greasy food, the key is in viewing a gulf like this as a setback rather than a failure. There are always restarts in life, so give your team time to regroup.
Trust in the collective thought of your team and bring in consultants, if needed, to evaluate the risks. Yes, some ideas might need to be scratched before putting a business into financial ruin. Set short-term targets and deadlines with consequences, and re-evaluate they’re reached.
New ideas must be nurtured. Collaboration and mutual respect is key. New ideas must be launched with both science and art. The creators of the ideas must remain resilient and willing to call in specialists as needed.
If you are serious about launching a new product or service in an era of innovation, don’t just hypothesize how to do it, build your team and make it happen.