How many articles have you read about planning your brand’s ‘perfect’ introduction? Most focus on text book, step-wise plans that are very rational and yet most launches suffer from significant mistakes. We’ve seen many and want to share the most catastrophic and hopefully help you avoid this hall-of shame.
1) Drinking Too Much of Your Own Kool-Aid We all want to believe our expertise is beyond reproach and that our tastes/styles are suitable for most consumers. We’ve seen many well designed, thoughtful products miss sales projections and crash. Why is that? Mostly, lack of what we would call ‘validation’. The launch owner must have qualitative or quantitive test results to validate consumer and customer acceptance. This includes confirmation of brand positioning, and language. Don’t get ahead of your skis. Avoid mis-use of time and money.
2) Having one Forecast. The Spreadsheeting Mistake
You have a financial plan for introduction and market development. Most business owners over-forecast, and under-resource; don’t test; and don’t have plan options. We suggest starting with a base-plan that reflects conservative assumptions of channel/customer/target penetration. Flexibility and options are necessary, with contingencies for over- or under-forecasting. Since cash flowing the business is critical, the numbers have to be your
‘friend’ regarding purchasing, supply chain, timing and more. And , always closely communicate with the supply chain regarding changes to the early forecasts! You don’t want to own inventory you can’t sell!
3) The UnderResourced Excuse.
All good launch plans have basic resource assumptions, but most naturally conform to a smooth growth projection, in lineal formulas. We instead believe that a “go to war” resource plan is better and more practical. Assume you’re going to stay in the fight, get on the shelf and win. Assume it’s a long cold winter and sales are soft, you can’t take your foot off the gas resource pedal. Make sure you have access to excess working capital and a solid supply chain that will work with you (provide extended payment terms), but don’t let slow revenue dry-up your planned resource commitments.
4) Don’t forget The Elevator Pitch
Even if it’s just you and a partner launching a business/service, always have a well honed “elevator pitch”, a brief synopsis you can spit out on a 60 second ride in an elevator or a wait in the line at Starbucks. Don’t allow employees or sales reps to deviate from the E-pitch, we’ve seen many brands that are confused early in the sale cycle due to inconsistent positioning or mis-stated selling propositions. Tip - Print it on the back of the business card and on the website.
5) Don’t Launch without Readiness Measures.
The owner, the president, the brand manager all are very invested in the launch, and very emotionally excited too. The team however needs to be accountable to the launch, and methodically review the dozens of readiness elements required for FLAWLESSNESS. Customer Processes are as important as the product quality, financial reporting is as important as the supply chain, and Sales Training is as important as the website. By all means, don’t overpromise and under-deliver , the recovery is difficult and expensive. to market.