How To Plan A Product Launch Timeline

Plan a product launch timeline

You have an amazing product or program in the works, and you know it’s time to launch it out into the world! The problem? You’re not sure how much time it’s going to take to launch, and how to fit it into your calendar so it has the best chance of really being a success.

If it’s the first time you’re launching a product online, you need to recognize that it might take you longer than you think. Sure, you could whip something together and hope it sticks but it’s better to do it right from the get-go and improve from there.

So how do you plan your product launch timeline so you’re not giving yourself too much time and delaying the income that you’ll make from it?

Launch When You’re Ready

Launch It and Profit has recently been retired, but click here to find out how it can help you plan and execute your launch profitably from the get go.

When Should You Launch?

You might also be wondering about the best time of the year to launch a product. The short answer is that there’s not really a wrong time: if you’re ready, it makes sense to launch.

Some of my best months in business have been in the summer when people where on vacation, and I’ve also had clients do really well with launches over the holidays, too.

Breakdown Your Launch Into Smaller Tasks

Take a look at all the work that will go into your launch, and then break it down into smaller tasks. Once a task is broken down it’s easier to estimate how long it will actually take to do it.

It’s important to remember that work expands to fill time, so if you assume something will take 1 hour, then that’s how long it will take. If you set yourself a 25 minute timer you might waste less time and get it done in 25 minutes instead.

It’s hard to know how long something will take until you start doing it. That’s why it helps to break things down into as small chunks as you can so you can feel accomplished even if you didn’t finish the big project, you’re still making progress.

Reverse Engineer What Needs to Get Done

Once you’ve got the smaller pieces together, reverse engineer what needs to get done when. For example, you might not need to have your order thank you page done right away, but you will want an opt-in page that announces there’s something coming soon.

Similarly, you will want to get clear on what the product is, who it’s for, and how best to communicate it in the form of a sales page fairly early on so you can get feedback and make sure you’re on the right track.

Think of any coordination with outside vendors like copywriters, designers, or developers as you plan your timeline.

Usually when you’re collaborating with other people you’ll need to budget more time. It’s also important not to sacrifice your standards because a vendor isn’t available right away.

I see business owners decide to hire a less qualified copywriter or designer because they’re able to accommodate their request to start right away but what you might not know is that this person is taking you on right now but won’t be as focused on your project and it will take them longer than if you had waited to work with your ideal vendor in the first place.

If you need to get on a waiting list to work with a great team, it’s worthwhile because it will make your launch more successful. It will also give you more time to do the important marketing research work that often gets skipped when creating a new product.

Put It All Into Your Calendar

Finally, put everything into your calendar and share this calendar with your team and outside vendors. It’s understandable to expect some slippage on deadlines but know which ones are solid and which ones can move.

Give yourself a pat on the back! Planning a major project launch is a lot of work, and the timeline is one of the parts that gets overlooked too often.

Got any tips to make planning a big project easier? A favorite brand of marker and calendar paper to plan big things with? Leave a comment below, and share!

8 Comments

  1. Licia Morelli on November 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Hey Nathalie!

    I love how you addressed that your launches during the summer or the holidays have been successful as well. I think too often we get tripped up about timing and it keeps us from moving forward.

    I just finished a beta launch for a program that I’m offering and I was afraid that having the payment deadline be December 1st would keep people from joining. I was proven wrong because I had a 50% opt in rate for sign ups and people have paid early!

    My favorite thing to use for launching is my trusty Google calendar task list. I list out everything from big picture ideas and items to the small everyday tasks and in the mornings when I open up my calendar I’m reminded of what’s next and satisfied with the lines through what I’ve already completed!

    Thanks, Nathalie!

    xoxo



    • Nathalie Lussier on November 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Yes Licia! It’s amazing how the time of the year feels like it could be a deal breaker, but it actually doesn’t factor in as much as we think at the end of the day. :)



  2. Marie on November 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Natalie I love your site and appreciate all your guidance. I’m preparing to launch a product however I’m not getting any traffic to my newer website yet so should I wait till I have a certain number of visitors first? I was going to promote the program through speaking engagements while developing my site. I’m thinking your program is for people who have a successful website already . Thanks.



    • Nathalie Lussier on November 13, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Marie! That’s a great question – I have to say that you don’t necessarily need traffic to your website to launch, but you will want to be building your email list… if you have a list of previous subscribers you can reach back out to, then you’re good to go. I also love that you’ll be speaking to sell your programs, that works really well too!

      I think Launch It and Profit works well for someone who has access to their audience (which could be through other people too, or via a forum, etc.).



  3. Kathy Pine on November 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I totally agree with your comments about that it’s worth it to work with the right vendors, and also that the collaboration piece makes things take a little longer. Good to be reminded of and something that not a lot of people think about. I’ve made my list of “small tasks” and I’m getting ready to do my first launch of a program for freelancers… So excited!



    • Nathalie Lussier on November 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Woohoo Kathy! And yes, we’ve delayed launches by weeks and even months to fit into our ideal vendors (designers, copywriters, videographers, etc.) timelines… and it always pays off to do it well the first time. :)



  4. Shauna on November 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Great inspiration in this video, Nathalie! I’ve been struggling to put all the pieces of my launch together. And I’m usually a great planner….just hadn’t applied the same steps to the launch. Busting out my paper calendar & sharpie markets today to get a plan laid out! Thx!



    • Nathalie Lussier on November 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Yay Shauna! I love me some paper calendars and sharpies, woohoo!