How to Launch an Endurance Product or Service

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Hey team!  Cam here from Training Tilt.  Hey.  Just in the middle of a launch that I’m helping a customer with who is using the Training Tilt platform.  It got me thinking about launches and how people think about them.  Also, how I launched my business.

Most people think that the build-up to the launch – building content and your platform – that is the big part of the work.  Once you’ve done that, the money starts rolling in and it’s all easy.  But that’s completely not true.  It’s the opposite of what it really is.  The launch is only the beginning.  So, once you’ve launched, you’ve got about 5% of the way through as a successful business – whatever that band might be: membership, platform, coaching – I’m specifically talking about a membership site for an endurance sport.  But, it can be the same for your business.  Particularly my business, like software. 

Ready to Launch

So, when I launched my business, I think, back in 2011, I had the idea and I started building the platform up.  So, I went, for, probably, believe it or not, I think for three years without having my first customer.  For three years – so that’s 2014.  So, then, I launched the software to what I thought would be a big launch, but it was actually a launch to no one, just a cricket because I didn’t do any marketing at all while I was putting up the launch.  So, when I did the launch then, that’s when I actually had to start learning.  So, then, after the launch, up till now, 2019, is when I’ve done all the work.  So, I’ve taken feedback from coaches, figured out all the things I did wrong, the things that I shouldn’t have built, the things that I should have built but didn’t, the way I was approaching my customers – basically everything.  So, then, I reiterated and made changes to where we are now, where I think we’re in a really good place. 

So, the launch, where we are where I’ve just been working with a customer, are on – we’ve done that very differently.  In an estimate, we’ve probably been working very hard on it for 4-5 weeks – not three years.  So, we just go like this here – 4-5 weeks.  What we did is what we call a ‘minimum viable product’ – and MVP. 

Minimum Viable Product

This is common in the startup world where you only build the minimum valuable thing that will be of high value to someone.  I’m not talking about cutting corners and build something that’s not good.  I’m talking about – if you have this mess of an idea, you will never get it finished.  Or you’ll take three years to finish and you’ll get most of it wrong.   Instead, you narrow your focus right down and you build the minimum viable product that’s worth something, that someone will pay X amount of dollars for.  It doesn’t need to be the end price. 

So, if you look at it here, I’ve sold things for $19.95.  Here, I’m selling things for $300/month.  So, that’s the difference.  4-5 weeks hard at work – not easy.  But it’s a lot easier than spending 3-5 years, nights and weekends, building software.  4-5 weeks, and then you launch.  Not to any sort of fanfare.  You do like a build up or take an email and address to some people that would be interested, maybe do some marketing, share some content.  Talk about it with lots of people.  Get lots of ideas.  But do not expect there to be a big bang release for you and make all your money as soon as you’re released.  Basically, what I said before, release is the beginning, not the end -- launch is the beginning, not the end. 

So, then, all of this period here, whatever number of days, is awesome.  Well, that’s actually a never – never a place you get to.  It’s a continuous improvement.  But that’s the place you get to when it’s really good. 

So, then, you release after 4-5 weeks.  Take feedback constantly as you go with the early doctors.  Typically, with the first release, you get a bunch of early doctors that are really useful because they give you useful feedback.  You reiterate and change, you remove things, add things, improve things, make things better.  Then, you can start to spend a little more money on advertising if you think you need to get to the point here. 

Applying the 80/20 Rule

So, what you’ll see up here is the launch and the continuation until we get it right, is actually – the percentage is a lot similar.  Like a lot of things, the 80/20 rule can apply here.  So, I’m going to go, 20% until we get to the launch.  80% until you get to really good. 

So, for me, unfortunately, because I spent three years up here, You’re looking at 7,8,9 years – obviously, 80/20 is not an exact science – 7,8,9 years before you get to the really good phase.  And this 80/20 rule does not change if you make your launch longer or shorter.  So, basically, that rule will apply regardless if you do a decent MVP launch.  That is because all of the improvement and all of the knowledge is gained here after you get people using it and start getting feedback.  It doesn’t matter if you think you know what people want, and you get to this point and spend ages and ages in doing it, you still will have an 80% learning curve. 

If we look at it again here, now we’ve got 20% -- that’s 4-5 weeks.  This 80% here is going to be – I don’t know – like 5-6 months or something.  Maybe even less.  But, like I said, the 80/20 rule isn’t an exact science.  But then, what you’ve got here – 9 years versus 5-6 months in total to get from day zero to the end when you’re really nailing it.  Then you can increase your marketing and things can really take off. 

Accepting the Reality of Hard Work to Make Money

So, this is lessons learned by me the hard way.  Then, that’s what I try and emphasize to coaches who want to do a launch.  It becomes really hard because it is really hard to accept that this is the way it needs to work if you’ve never done it before.  I think I probably would have ignored the advice if I received it up here.  But trust me, whatever you spend on the build up – if you haven’t taken any feedback, you’ll get most of it wrong.  So, you might as well make that the smallest possible thing that you can build, get the feedback, then build the – spend the 80% of the time really building it out and perfecting it, and really getting it awesome. 

 

I you want to do a release or a launch of anything, or if you want some advice on what the MVP should look like, feel free to get in touch.  Otherwise, I’ll talk to you soon. 

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