Can You Start Planning for Your Fall Launch Now?

One client’s story.
I’ve been chatting with a client, who is planning on launching a new program in the fall. The concern is that the program may not be ready on target (September) and may get pushed to October. The dilemma is, how to plan for a launch that has a risk of being delayed? Clearly you don’t want to “sell” seats just to have to delay; but you also don’t want to miss marketing opportunities that will most likely present themselves over the next few months.And as much as we encourage our clients that “its OK if its not perfect” and to “embrace the fluidity of business”, there is something to be said for not wanting to clearly promise something knowing the risk of not delivering.Just to be clear, our client isn’t a serial procrastinator, the launch date is unfortunately hinging on the availability of a secondary product that may not be deliverable by September.

So, is the answer to scrap the September launch completely, and just plan for October? Perhaps, and we’ve considered this. But there are risks (with the type of program he’s launching) that pushing the date out, with the amount of promotion he needs to do, that he’s losing valuable time. A conundrum at its finest.This is where our brainstorming has landed us.

We’re building a flexible launch plan with achievable milestones, based on September. Call me the eternal optimist.
We’re creating social media pages that start to talk about the launch, that engage his target market, asking them questions, listening to their concerns, and we’re focusing on curating content that we feel his target market will find valuable.
We’re blogging – like crazy! We’re chronicling the journey in blogs, to bring his market along on the journey with him. We’re sharing the highs and lows, the successes (and set backs). How he overcomes challenges, and how we’re continuing to fine tune a product that reflects what the market needs. He’s also sharing his thought process, how he became inspired, why he feels so passionate.
We’re continuing to do market research, and using this “down” time to refine his messaging.
We’re creating a priority list, of those who are committing to joining him on the launch and will be first in line (this is a limited opportunity offering).

Here’s the overarching reasoning. It’s OK that the program isn’t perfect. It’s OK that the dates may change – after all, business is real life and real life is riddled with imperfections. I firmly believe that a great product is worth waiting for.

By doing this in a transparent way, sharing with his prospects the risk, the explanation of that risk, and by being fair (not accepting any payments until the launch date is confirmed), he is building trust. He is building a community interested in not only the product, but the journey.And as I write this I think about my favorite bakery. Every time I entertain, I go to the same bakery to buy desert (I’m a horrible baker). But I know that running in and out to pick up a delectable treat is never going to happen, because behind every desert, there’s a story. I’ll be honest, I’ve heard some stories much more than once, others I’m hearing for the first time. It’s part of the experience, and I hope it never changes.Don’t be afraid to bring your followers on a journey, don’t wait for perfect, share your story.Just get out there, and start doing it.