How do you capitalize on the momentum of a launch while ensuring you don't explode upon descending?
I would like, for a moment, for you to think about what it took to Launch the Virgin Galactic last week. To put it simply; it took years of planning, hundreds of millions of dollars, strategy, and careful execution from an enormous group of people. With all of that time, money and effort, I'm sure that no one who worked on this project foresaw the outcome.
How do you know that your business or product launch won't realize the same fate? After all, by the time you're ready to launch a new business or product, you've invested what feels like a Richard Branson sized amount of money, in addition to the time and effort of countless people.
The news is reporting, at least preliminarily, that a faulty switch intended to help the aircraft descend back into the atmosphere defaulted. This is a great metaphor for us business owners who are launching a new product or business. Sometimes, we are so focused on the initial launch that we pay less attention to the descent after the launch. After all, ensuring that our product or business is poised for longevity is truly the key to success. Being nimble and accounting for potential issues during the descent will allow us to continue to sell our products and services over the long term.
So how do you capitalize on the momentum of a launch while ensuring you don't explode upon descending?
You have a solid marketing plan. The launch of a business or product is the easy part. People are naturally curious about new products, and, if shown to the correct target audience, initially new products have a great first showing in the market. The question is, how do you sustain? You must have an online and offline strategy that will ensure you are acquiring new customers on a consistent basis. There is no magic pill here, but consistent exposure among your target audience filled with meaningful messages that resonate is as close as you will get to marketing perfection. Focus on longevity, as the launch is fleeting.
You have a great team that can execute. The faster your business grows, the more support you will need. In the beginning, it is sometimes necessary to do everything yourself, however, we all only have so much "brain space" as I like to call it, and eventually, you will need people you can depend on. Do you have the best accountant, office staff, marketing partners and legal representation? The most successful businesses I know don't try to do it all themselves. They know, that when reentering the atmosphere after launching their business, they will need support.
You have backups in place. Where was the back up on the Virgin Galactic to ensure the reentry into the atmosphere was smooth? Like a spaceship, you need to ensure that after a launch, you have a backup in place in the event things don't go according to plan. We won't always know which part of our plan is faulty until it happens, but if you have suggestions number one and two above in place, you should be flexible enough and have built the support system to make quick corrections and get back on course.
Sometimes an event like the Virgin Galaxy crash is the impetus to improve upon our plan, and the catalyst for growth and development, however, it would be nice to take off and soar without the malfunctions.