There’s nothing quite like the feeling of creating a product and getting it ready to be launched. After countless hours of work, all of that effort is about to pay off in a big way. Or so you think.
Before you get too carried away with excitement, it’s important to slow down, take a deep breath and make sure that you’re actually ready to launch. One way to do that is to ask yourself the following eight questions that should be a part of every tech-entrepreneur’s launch checklist.
1. Is it unique? Everyone likes to think their product is special, but is it really? Uniqueness is even more important if you’re entering a crowded market.
For example, if you’re making a photo-sharing app, then it better not be Instagram with a different name. Whether it’s related to features or something else, people need a compelling reason to use your product over all of the other options that exist.
2. Does it solve a problem? If your product doesn’t improve people’s lives in some way, then it can be hard to get their attention. On the other hand, if you can solve a pain point that consumers have, then you’re making something they want before they even know about it. The best way to figure this out is just ask. Determine your target market and talk to them. I realize many entrepreneurs are concerned their dreams will be crushed by negative feedback but it is better to figure out what consumers want then invest time and money into something they don't care for.
3. Is it attractive? While back-end developers are a hot commodity, front-end designers are also highly sought after. The reason being is your product will be judged based on its design, and if you want to be taken seriously, then there’s just no excuse to not have an attractive product. While a designer can be costly, there are inexpensive options. For instance, affordable graphic-design marketplaces like 99designs provide great looking designs for entrepreneurs on a tight budget.
4. Can you understand it within five seconds? Technology has made us impatient. You may have the best product in the world, but if people can’t understand what it does and why it’s important within five seconds, then you’ve probably already lost them. What you need are one or two descriptive sentences and images that can help you cross that first attention hurdle and get people to take a closer look. Depending on the product, this introductory experience can take place on your website, an app store or the product itself.
5. Will people want to tell others about it? Your users are your best sales team, so make sure that they’ll want to talk about what you’ve created. This can be accomplished by making something that’s interesting and enjoyable to use, but it can also be accomplished by building social features into the product that make it easy to share content and successful product experiences. Get influencers and loyal customers on board quickly.
6. Will it keep users coming back? Getting someone to make the decision to try your product is an important first step, but it also has to be designed in such a way that it encourages continued use or else you’ll lose that user right after you get them. How many desktop, online or mobile apps have you only used once or twice? Learn from those experiences by adding features that make people want to use your product on a regular basis.
7. Is it ready? Some entrepreneurs might argue that a product is never fully finished, and while that may be true to some extent, at a certain point you have to decide the product is ready to launch. Even if you’re building a minimum-viable product to get started, remember you only get one chance for a first impression. You don’t want to be known for a half-baked product that barely works and is filled with bugs. So take the time to get it finished to a reasonable level.
8. Would you use it? This can be the most difficult question to answer in an objective way. The fact that you decided to create something doesn’t mean it needs to exist. Put yourself in the shoes of an average person in your target market and try to determine if what you’ve created would be interesting to you. If you wouldn’t use your own product, then how can you expect others to use it?
Of course, you’re not guaranteed great success even if you have good answers for all or most of these questions, because there are a lot of different elements that go into a launch. But if your product passes this launch checklist, you’re better positioned for success.