Thomas Edison eloquently said, “I have learned fifty thousand ways it cannot be done and therefore I am fifty thousand times nearer the final success experiment.” In simpler terms, failure comes with lessons.
Failures aren’t too uncommon in the startup world today, given the macroeconomic conditions and the age-old challenges startups face. For instance, acquiring external funding is often the lifeblood of young startups, which plunged 34% quarter-over-quarter in Q3 2022, hitting a nine-quarter low of $74.5 billion.
Startup launch failures cannot be tied to one factor. So, turning a launch around requires analysis, but without paralysis. No good comes from beating around the bush and justifying why you did what you did. So, step one is for a founder or a startup team to snap out of it, ground themselves in the reality of the launch and take the necessary steps to turn it around.
Let’s see what you can do if your startup launch didn’t go as planned.
Related: How Startups Should Handle the Impending Recession
How to Think About Startup Launches
The first radical change you can install is one within your mindset and perspective. It’s high time startups stop seeing launches as a one-off event. It puts tremendous pressure on startup teams to get it all right at once.
Often, startups crumble under this pressure or procrastinate on launching at all. A better perspective is to look at a startup launch as an ongoing process. You launch once, measure results, quantify the impact, gather feedback, iterate, and launch again. And the cycle repeats until your users are delighted with your product or service.
For most startups, the magnificent launch dream never happens. Instead, their first launch is limited to friends and family, the next to a trusted circle of friends and acquaintances, the next for strangers within a specific community, and then, eventually, a startup might taste success.
So if your recent startup launch didn’t go as planned, it’s important to remember that you’re not the exception. Most startups evolve over a period of time.
Related: How to Know if it’s Funding O’Clock When Investors Approach
Why Continually Launch your Product?
The only reason startup founders should continually launch, iterate or pivot is that the biggest companies did the same. They didn’t have a grand plan initially but a passion for solving a problem.
Over time, they evolved, understood their customers better, tweaked their products to meet needs and close gaps and today, they thrive. For instance, Android pivoted out of being an operating system for cameras and later pivoted to smartphones.
Instagram started as a copy of Foursquare and was called Burbn. It allowed users to check in to locations, make plans, earn points while hanging out with friends, and post pictures. Later, users could only upload pictures, like other people’s pictures and comment under them.
Continual launches allow room for mistakes, iterations and pivots, which ultimately make businesses successful.
Related: Is Your Technology Stack Resilient?
Types of Startup Launches
Let’s go over the various kinds of startup launches you can undertake iteratively, inching closer to success.
Silent Launch– For a silent launch, all you need is a domain name, company name, a short description of your product/service, contact information and a call-to-action. A quick intro from the founders, a one-line pitch, and a one-landing page website are optional requirements.
Friends and Family Launch– A friends and family launch allows you to test your pitch in reliable environments and see how potential users respond. It is recommended as soon as you have an MVP.
Strangers Launch– This is a low-stakes launch to a group of strangers without having invested much in the product to test-drive the idea before going all-in on it.
Online Community Launch– Launching to a reliable online community, such as Techcrunch, Product Hunt and Hacker News, can be a great idea if you have access to a warm community of startup founders or ideal customers willing to try your offering and provide feedback.
Press Launch– This is a more mature launch style when you strategize a PR campaign to let the world know what you have on offer, for whom and how it will impact your customers’ lives.
Request for Access Launch– This is an exclusive way to launch your startup. For instance, you got people interested in your product through previous launches. You can lay down specific actions users can take to enter an exclusive community and use your product before anyone else.
Social Media Launch– One of the most popular kinds of launches is a social media launch, where you leverage an existing social media brand presence to launch to the world. You can also run a paid or organic social media campaign.
Blogger/Influencer Launch– If done strategically, a blogger or influencer launch can create massive buzz for your startup early on. It’s advisable to steer clear of the pay-to-play blogging and influencer marketing and leverage more organic opportunities in the right market.
Related: Should You Indulge in Conversational UX for Your Startup?
If Your Startup Launch Didn’t Go as Planned…
Here’s a framework you can follow if your launch didn’t go as planned.
Take a break
Launches happen over time. Meanwhile, it’s necessary to keep all your ducks in order. After a launch with less than desired results, take a step back. This is for you to replenish your reserves as a team. Hold it with a resilient mindset, and your hurdle will prove to be necessary.
Figure out the why
With an objective outlook, see what needs to be tweaked to make this launch successful. Don’t be afraid to look at a failure and recognize it for what it is. This observation and analysis will ultimately lead you to success.
Keep your confidence intact
As a founder or leader in a startup, it automatically falls on you to keep your team’s confidence and morale high. Often, founders do that while they boost their own confidence, too. Access to a community of founders helps alleviate the isolation that can emerge from a less successful launch.
Make the tweaks
Now that you know what needs to be done to turn your launch around, do it with an experimental mindset. At this stage, you might as well be looking for failure because it will redirect you to success.
Go for it once again. Learn more about the market, your audience and your solution to work on its success incrementally.
Related: 7 Reasons Why Startups Choose KiwiTechStartup launches go awry most of the time. It’s when they are handled with precision and constructive perspective that they lead to success eventually.
If you need a community of startups, mentorship and guidance, check out KiwiTech’s startup ecosystem to help founders go from idea to launch.