This is one of the pitfalls of small businesses. If you’ve read Eric Ries, The Lean Startup, you know that releasing a product “early” can better serve your business (and product) in the long term. However, if you’ve been keeping up with the catalogue of reasons startups fail, then you know 13% of small businesses fail due to mistiming the launch of their product. It’s a fine line you need to walk as a small business owner.
Eric Ries mentions that they waited too long to launch their messenger… however, the point of that story is less “timing” and more “get feedback as you go and listen to your customers” — this is another reason startups fail, i.e. when they don’t listen to their customers. But you don’t need to look far to see numerous examples of products that simply got the timing wrong. Look to General Motors’ electric car which launched about 20 years too early.
When launching your business, is it important to ask yourself whether it is the right time for you to do so? Is the market in a place to support your business idea? For instance, if you have a product that works well in the travel industry, the pandemic will not be a great time to launch. This is also why some startups may need to pivot while they wait for an opportunity to surface to launch their product.
Your small business idea may be unique. But you need to determine if it is the right time to allow your business to succeed. One important factor to consider is whether there is a current need for your product. You need to get to know the market and if there is scope for another small business to succeed. For instance, if you’re planning on launching an app, have you checked if the app store is already flooded with other similar ideas?
This isn’t to say existing competition is inherently a detriment. If you have a unique product offering, then it could work to your advantage, solving a problem many people think they just need to live with. That said, it may also mean extending the product launch to ensure your product is in the best possible state when it enters the market. To help you determine if it’s the right time, it’s best to consult with a business advisor. Everyone’s product is different, and in these uncertain times, some coaching can go a long way to ensuring your business is a success.
In timing the launch of your business, you will need to look at market trends and how your product fits. Is there a growing demand for your product or service? Do not wait until it is too late to launch. If you do someone else might get in ahead and make it more difficult for you. There is the possibility that you can also enter the market before it is ready for you.
Your preparation can also determine the time for your launch. You will need knowledge, skills, experience, and passion for your product or service. Also, always make sure you’re through any legal hurdles before launching a business. Different regions have different legal requirements, so ensure you’re cleared — especially if it’s a consumable item.
Your business success will depend on all these factors at the time of launch. You don’t want to be solving a problem that doesn’t exist yet or you’re going to burn money. Be smart and calculated with your launch.