Ok, you’ve built your business with a great model, done rounds of customer research, honed in on your voice and created a beautiful brand or location you’re super excited to share with the world. But now what? It’s time to launch your new and improved brand!
Essentially this breaks down to three components:
1- Throw a celebration
2- Invite people in to get to know you
3- Keep the momentum and excitement going for the long-haul
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered and can show you exactly how to do this, but first I want to talk about the hardest part of any launch – managing your own expectations.
See, I’ve done countless launches and brand re-launches in my 17 years in the pet space – everything from unveiling the first-ever Petfinder iPhone app, to refreshing the entire back-end and look/feel of one of the world’s largest pet websites, to building a tiny start-up to be a top-four contender and more… and every time there’s ONE thing that risks derailing success more than anything else.
And it’s not just me. I see it in Petpreneurs all the time. They’ve completed this Herculean effort and launch, and are almost always disappointed.
HERE’S THE SECRET: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM, OR HOW SUCCESSFUL THEY ARE. (Nor does it have anything to do with how successful they will be.)
This is not an early indicator – it’s what I’ve come to accept as a downside to us A-types. We always want more. We always expect more and, when our expectations aren’t blown out of the water? We get disappointed.
So here’s my five-step plan for saving yourself a LOT of pain, worry and disappointment during (and after) any new brand refresh or other launch:
1- Set a realistic timeline.
We’ll show you how to do this, but I’m serious, GIVE YOURSELF TIME. This is not something to do last-minute or when you have dozens of other projects going.
2- Set a realistic goal.
While the “wow” goal would be fantastic, it pays to get crystal clear on what your launch actually needs to achieve. Write it down and look at that every day. As many bright and shiny, exciting things feel like they should get thrown in the plan last minute ask yourself: will this help me achieve THIS goal? If not, chuck it or put it in your good idea box for later.
3- Clear the decks.
Once your launch date is scheduled, clear that day for doing nothing else. Only launch. While you might not need this time, clearing your calendar of anything else gives you time and mindspace to put out any fires and get the little details right. Then give yourself the next day off to rest. You’ll need it.
4- Recognize that a majority of re-launches reach only your existing audiences/clients.
This means that you’ll potentially see a flurry of early sales from tried-and-true customers, but it will take work to get the word about your new brand, product or store to the new people you’re trying to reach. And this is exciting – it means you have this awesome thing to talk about and share with people who will love it to. But don’t expect them to just show up. You need to break through the clutter and help them remember you.
5- REMIND YOURSELF: Launching right is a marathon, not a sprint.
This is not a one and done deal. Once you launch, it’s time to get out there and start conversations with new people. And that’s where the magic really happens. Why? Because you now know who you want to talk to, what you want to say, and a gorgeous brand or store location to back you up that you’re proud of. If you’re struggling with this, definitely review and combat that perfection monster and sense of enough-ness. If you’re here – on the point of launch – you ARE a rock star and farther along than so many others. Breathe. Practice some self-love and affirmations. Keep track of your small wins so you can see how far you’ve come.