When Should I Launch My Product? - Craftsman Founder

When Should I Launch My Product?

Dear Lucas…

My product automates a task that is currently manual and labor intensive for most companies. I started the company almost a year ago and I am putting the finishing touches on the product right now. We are about two weeks from launching. My technical co-founder is building it out and we have hired a designer to make it pretty.

Do you think it is a good idea to wait on the launch until the design is incorporated or to launch it in a couple weeks and iterate?

—Product-Loving CEO

Hi Product-Loving CEO,

You should have “launched” your service a year ago as a consulting company.

You are in the business of outsourcing services to businesses, not building a product. People don’t care if it is automated by your brilliant product or whether you have 1,000 monkeys doing the service behind the scenes for them on-demand.

If you can’t find people that are willing to pay you on a consulting basis, you won’t be able to attract people for the brilliant automated product. The product is not your saving grace, your ability to convince people to pay you to help them is your saving grace. It is not about the product, it is about your reputation doing the service you provide better, faster, and cheaper than a company can do themselves.

You are the CEO. You are not the product manager, you are not the head of engineering, you shouldn’t be waiting on the product at this stage of your business. You should be hustling to build the reputation of your business, with or without a product. Be scrappy.

You should be convincing the world that you do your service better than anyone else. I already know you do, I have seen your results. You need to be the P.T. Barnum of your services. Whether you have a product or not should be barely visible to your customers right now.

You are the CEO, you need to focus on your Go-To-Market strategy: how will people find you, what are your sales channels. You don’t need a working product to do that. Hustle. Show the world what your sevice is supposed to look like. Wet their whistles. Make them say, yeah I want that and I will pay for that. Make them come to you begging you to take their money.

Otherwise you have failed already, product or not.



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Lucas Carlson

About the Author

Lucas Carlson

Lucas Carlson is a hands-on consultant, author and entrepreneur. He helps founders discover opportunities for growth, both for their companies and for themselves. He was the CEO and founder of AppFog, a popular startup acquired in 2013 after signing up over 100,000 developers and raising nearly $10M in venture funding from top angels and VCs.

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