There are two types of business entrepreneurs: The ones that make a plan, and the ones that just wing it, and hope it works. We all know the woman who has everything planned out to a T, and has her monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals mapped out. The other woman is the one who just goes with the seasons. Sometimes she hits her goals, sometimes she changes direction. Can you think of a few people you know in each category?
I used to be woman #2. I hated plans, goal setting, and mapping out my life, and I spent my life just ebbing and flowing, but never really growing my business. Year after year, the numbers were the same. A little growth, but nothing enough to boast about.
When I started to create plans, my business started growing. I started small, with monthly goals. These helped me keep track of finances, and see if Ava And The Bee was something I could do full time (turns out, it was!) Then I moved onto quarterly planning, where I mapped out how I wanted each Quarter to go. Now, I do a full launch plan before each and every product or service launch.
Instead of offering a product, and hoping people bought, I now go into each and every launch with a plan, and a purpose.
Step One: Make sure your audience wants it.
How many times have you come up with a product, but when you launch it, nothing happens? Crickets. This is because so many people don’t validate their product before launching. Many times we create a product because we think our audience wants it. But often times, they don’t! You do not know what your audience needs until you ask them.
By asking your audience what they need, and what they want from you, you are guaranteeing that you are creating a product that they will buy. Our goal as a business owner is to create products that our audience needs. Not what we think they might like.
There are a few ways you can ask your audience.
- Survey them on Instagram. Create a poll, or ask questions on what they need in their business. Do this a few times as you create the new product or service, to ensure you are creating it exactly how they want it.
- Ask via email. It’s easy to create simple and free forms on platforms like Google Forms and Formstack. Create a quick 5 question survey, and send to your email list. Use these responses to see what items they are looking for, and how you can best serve.
- Have a beta launch. This was a huge part of The Creative VA Academy. Before I launched it to the public, I had a small group of 12 ladies go through it as Founding Members. After they took the course, I was able to take their feedback to make adjustments, and market the course even better.
Step Two: Map out a launch plan.
As creatives, sometimes we are so passionate about our idea, that we just decide to jump in head first without a plan. Setting aside time to plan out your launch is a crucial step that you can’t skip! A launch plan will look different depending on what you are launching. Launching a new service will look different than a course.
It is important to give yourself plenty of time to execute a launch plan. Don’t try and get it done in a week, that will be too rushed, and too stressful! When launching a course, give yourself at least 3-4 months, when launching a new service, 2-3 months. Keep in mind creating this new product or service is just a fraction of the launch process. Much more time is spent on marketing and promoting this service.
It is also important to have a time buffer. Life happens. Computers freeze, you have days with zero motivation, you take an impromptu weekend vacation. Make sure you always have a buffer in place so you can enjoy your life, and not let the launch take over!
While a launch plan will vary from product to product, here is a general outline I like to use.
- Map it out on a calendar and have deadlines. When will the product launch, and when will you create the landing page to promote it? When will your email sequence to promote it being? Take some time to map this out on a calendar, so you have deadlines set.
- Create social media posts around the offering. Once you have a calendar set up, you can start to plan your social media calendar. Will you do some sneak peeks before officially announcing? How will you get people excited?
- Create an email sequence. Similar to the social media structure, start to think about how you will lay it out in emails. Will you have a waitlist? Will you be able to tag those interested, so you can promote directly to them?
- Set a revenue goal. Once you have solidified a price point, set a goal. How much do you want to make during the initial launch? How much do you want to make each month? Start to outline how many people will need to sign up to reach this goal.
Step Three: Have a second, and third, pair of eyes.
One of the biggest steps is to always have a second pair of eyes take a look at your product. When you create your offering, test it to see if it sounds good to potential clients. Reach out to industry friends to get their opinion. When you create a landing page, have at least 2 more people read it, and give you feedback. Taking a step back from your work is crucial!
When you are creating a new product, you are often so deep in it, and you might not notice issues that are obvious to others. Even small things like spelling or grammatical errors are important. Make sure to have multiple people look at your work with fresh eyes.
Step Four: Nail your messaging.
You have created an amazing offering and are ready to share with the world! But before you do, make sure to always have clear and concise messaging. No matter the platform, from social media to newsletters, make sure your messaging of this product is clear. Describe what this product or service is, how it can help, and who it is for.
This is a step that ties into step number three. Pitch your product or service to 3 people who are outside of your industry. Do they understand what it is? Do they know who it is for? If they say no, or are confused, you need to go back to the drawing board. Your messaging needs to be clear and obvious for anyone reading it, not just your ideal audience.
Some items to think about:
- What problem is your product or service solving?
- Why is this a problem for your ideal client?
- Who would be interested in this product or service?
- How will your product or service solve this issue?
- How does this compare to similar products or services out there, and how will yours be better, or stand out?
Step Five: Be flexible with your launch plan.
As business owners, one of the most important traits we need to have is flexibility. Not all of our ideas will be successful, and we need to be able to ebb and flow with every product launch. You might run into issues or need to adjust your product. Your ideal audience might need something outside of the scope you originally planned for, and you need to pivot. And sometimes, things just don’t go as planned.
You need to make sure you are ready to adjust as needed, and not get stuck if something needs to change. A change does not mean your product isn’t good – it just means you need to take time to adjust. No launch will be perfect, and that is okay! It is important to be able to overcome any roadblocks, without becoming discouraged.
Long story short: Always have a launch plan (and some help).
No matter what industry you are in, and what product you are offering, you need to make sure you have a plan. By creating a plan ahead of time, you are not only assuring a successful launch, but you are allowing yourself time outside of work. You need to give yourself breaks, and time to think and reflect before going to the next step. Always allow for more time than you think you will need! By setting up a launch plan, you will be more confident in your services, and what you offer.
As a virtual assistant for wedding professionals, I also recommend not doing it alone. There are so many items you can get completed by a virtual assistant, like market research, creating email nurture sequences, creating landing pages, and creating social media content. Think of the hours you would spend doing these tasks, and start to think about what you can outsource. Even if you just save 10 hours, that is 10 hours you can spend working on your service or product, and not creating content for it!
Some items you can outsource include:
- Creating a timeline and calendar for your launch.
- Creating email newsletters to promote.
- Setting up a landing page to collect email addresses for a pre-launch.
- Setting up a nurture sequence to emails collected.
- Creating social media content to share.
- Assisting with video editing.
- Creating slides, videos or editing your course or product.
- Webinar assistance for a pre-launch.
- Facebook ad creation.
- Creating successful sales funnels.
By hiring a virtual assistant, you can ensure an even successful launch plan. At Ava And The Bee, we have helped many business owners create successful launches, and we can help you too! Just reach out, and let us know how we can help you today.