I’m writing this to you in the throes of a launch. THE IRONY!
A short one to answer this question:
Q: What are your top ways to enjoy your launches Leonie?
It’s probably useful to say that launches aren’t usually that joyful at many points. Mostly because they are birth and birth takes work.
Having been running online launches since 2008 however, I’ve probably racked up enough runs on the board to know what makes it less of a bloody pain in the butthole.
So here’s some tips to help you launch with more ease… consider me your birth doula… I can’t take all the pain away but I can probably help ease it a little with a bit of loving advice!
- Have a plan and return to it every single day so you don’t get lost.
We create a project plan, and braindump everything we can think of that will be needed in advance. Then it goes into our project management software (we use Teamwork), and is assigned out with dates for each piece to be executed. Definitely saves the crazy scrambling later on!
- Do as much work in advance for it so everything is scheduled in ready to go. I definitely tend to lean on the last minute deadline, but am learning new ways of working because burnout suuuucks booooorg.
- Don’t go into the launch already burned out. Schedule enough time in your business schedule to breathe more instead of being in permanent hustle mode.
- Have a good Standard Operating Procedures already in place so both new & old staff can quickly access information on how to do things. So, for example, this morning part of our website shat its pants. We already had it documented in our SOPs exactly what to do when that happened… so it wasn’t a crisis, it was just a simple following of procedures until it got resolved. Which it did. With very little drama. YAY!
- Get your Customer Service staff trained up and systems in place in advance.
- The more they know your systems, the better it is.
- Create Customer Service Cheatsheets – one page FAQs of commonly asked questions and problems.
- Write up your answer templates of commonly asked questions and load them into your email answering system (i.e. Gmail canned responses or as templates in your Help Desk software. We use Sirportly.)
- Update and add to them as the launch goes.
- Answer questions as much as possible in advance to cut down on questions that need to be answered by Customer Service.
If one person is asking it, there’s usually more people thinking it.I am definitely proactive in making sure my customers have as much information as they need without having to reach out to us… saving them and us time! I answer it in as many places as possible:
- FAQs on the sales page
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Answering it in sales emails.
- Keep a close eye out for the same problems or issues that keep coming up during the launch, and fix them at their core instead of putting a band-aid on the solution.
- Consider using instant messaging software to connect your various staff/contractors with each other and keep everyone in the loop during launch. You could use Skype‘s chat feature, Slack or any of the other alternatives out there. We use Teamwork Chat, as we have our project management software with Teamwork and it’s got some good interlocking functionality.
- Have good quality professionals around you.
I’m a big proponent of only hiring people who don’t need much managing, are a joy to work with and who GSD (Get Shit Done) without drama. (For further coaching on how to hire them, this is the resource I put together.)
Whatever type of team you have will be intensified during launch: rockstars will step up, shaky types will wobble like billy-o. So the process of hiring, coaching & keeping good quality peeps (and escorting anyone off the bus who isn’t) is important to do well before launch!
- Some of my business girlfriends make sure they schedule in a spa day or holiday post-launch to refill their well. I’m not going to bullshit you though – I’m not quite at the place yet. I’m working on it though!
- Sleep, eating & time away from the computer is important.
You’ll think clearer & work faster & make much better decisions. I know our predisposition is to just ignore it… but I promise you, after learning the bloody hard way, that you can’t afford to crash and burn.
- Write a Lessons Learned document right after the launch.
Let’s face it – there will be mistakes. There will be shit hitting the fan at some point. There will be places where you think “We need to do better next time.” Just like labour though, you will quickly forget those pain points. So it’s really important you capture them – fast – so you can learn from them and do better next time. Here’s how to do that…
Every single time we do a launch, within days I (or my Project Manager) will send out an email to the whole team including contractors, asking three questions, and getting people to answer that week. We assign someone to making sure the questions are answered by everyone, and then a document is compiled with everyone’s answers and circulated.
We have a “Lessons Learned” document for every launch we’ve done over the past few years. I add them all into our yearly business plan, and anytime we do a launch, we review past Lessons Learned documents to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes!
The questions we ask are:
- What worked really well?
- What did not work really well?
- What can we do to make it better and easier next time?
Allright… I’m off to do a bit more work… then heading out for the night to the movies with my bosom-buddy Lil… when in doubt… get a life!
See you back in the next day or so with ze fruits of our latest launch!
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