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
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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!