innovate and know your competition?
Launch a competitor within your own company. Yes, internally.
Why? If you don’t do it, someone else will.
How? Get a team of five (5) people from various areas. For ex. someone from Accounting, Legal, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and/or Business Development.
What? Assemble the team, have them list weakness and problems the company has, and for them to provide solutions and launch a company that is stronger.
Result: You are taking people who know your company, realize it’s problems/weaknesses and see the opportunities. Do you realize this might save your company, and you may own the market by owning both companies?
Did you know people quit their day job and do this on their own?
Recommend: Form a new entity such as an LLC, owned by your parent company, launch a competitor, create an operating agreement and grant the founding team a small stake before they go out and do it on their own time and dime and come after your customers
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork and have a unique product that your customers want, you are ready to launch. So what does ‘launching a product’ entail and how do you make the most of this challenge?
In my experience, the most successful launches are the ones that have been well thought out in advance. A launch should be seen as merely optimizing the results of the hard work you have been doing through the time leading up to it. As a creative product designer, here are my top strategies for launch:
- Your network: Take advantage of the network you’ve been building for the last 1 year (see part 1 of this series) and announce in-person and over email that you are launching your product on a specific date. Make sure to remind people of the need your product fills or the solution it brings. This will make it easier for them to talk about you. Make this communication as personable as possible (stay away from formal PR release style of communication). Give these people a link to pre-signup to get further information and start building your list (if you haven’t already been doing it). At Madesmith, we use Kickoff Labs to create well-designed sign-up pages.
- Bloggers: A few weeks before the launch, reach out to influential bloggers (large and small) in your industry, and send them a nicely crafted physical package (before sending, ask them if it’s okay), or an email. Make sure to describe why your product is different, how it fits their audience and their blog, and why they would want to talk about it. Remember, all bloggers are looking for quality content. You don’t have to sound like they are doing you a favor, rather focus on how this can be mutually beneficial. Always, make sure that you are reaching out to blogs whose readers might be your target customers. If a large blogger is interested in your product and company, perhaps you can offer them exclusive launch coverage. Make sure to include information about yourself, your story, your vision, high resolution images and other highlights of your product in order to make the bloggers life easy. Again, refrain from sending them lookbooks, and formal press releases. They can come across as impersonal and old fashioned. It’s okay to nudge the blogger if you haven’t heard back in a few days. But, don’t be pushy and make sure to be very polite.
- Social Media: Start getting your followers ready for the launch. Share behind the scenes with them at least a few days before. You could also offer your existing followers additional benefits for early sign up. Create your own buzz and give them interesting angles to talk about with their friends. For example, since our story launches include extensive photography, we post behind the scenes photos to ourInstagram. Our community loves seeing these un-edited glimpses.
- Referral program: A well thought out referral program is extremely efficient and can increase your sales exponentially. Some good examples of a good referral program include Everlane, Dropbox, and Airbnb. Make sure that your referral program is simple and really worth the effort for the users. It should get them super excited and provide enough value to them that they are willing to risk their digital reputation to share it with their networks.
Pasadena Startup, [Applied Design Science], launches online crowdsourced design valuation platform to help entrepreneurs and investors assess business potentials of design driven startups.
With the emergence of equity crowdfunding and the recent liberalization of startups, novice investors and entrepreneurs alike are drawn to risky endeavors. The advent of its Design Valuation Dashboard allows [Applied Design Science] to provide a reliable, evidence-based tool for assessing a startup’s probability of success. The online crowdsourced design valuation platform assesses a startup’s market, technology and execution risk, as well as their design quality performance. Applying a multi-variable linear regression, the platform analyzes design quantification together with the wisdom of the crowd. It effectively screens early and mid-phase startups and greatly reduces their risk of loss.
Developed in collaboration with Stanford University, Art Center College of Design, Copenhagen Business School, Innovate
Pasadena and the INDEX: Award, [Applied Design Science] has leveraged over a decade of design science research into a unique Design Valuation Dashboard. Powered by established design quantification metrics, the platform will provide investors and startups with an online community forum that assists in developing ideas into viable action plans for designing new businesses. [Applied Design Science] is founded by Stanford Alumni, Dr. Søren Ingomar Petersen, Art Center Alumni, Chuck Chugumlung and USC Alumni, Agustin Grube – inspired by the philosophy: breakthrough innovation made possible by design.