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39. Product Development Process Week 3: The Behind the Scenes of 2 Product Launches

20 March, 2019
The Bean Ninjas Podcast
The Bean Ninjas Podcast
39. Product Development Process Week 3: The Behind the Scenes of 2 Product Launches

Want to learn from our new product launch strategy?

In Episode 39 of the Bean Ninjas Podcast, Bean Ninjas CEO Meryl Johnston and Partner Wayne Richard continue to go behind the scenes of 2 Bean Ninjas product launches.

This is part 3 of our 5-part Product Development Process series. 

In case you missed them, you can tune in to part 1 here and part 2 here.

Bean Ninja founders

Make sure you're solving the right problem. That then makes the sales process easier. Share on X

New product launch strategy updates

Here at Bean Ninjas, we’re currently developing two new products:

  1. A Xero Foundations online course, and
  2. A Virtual CFO offering for small business.

So we thought we’d take this opportunity to go through the experience of researching, validating, selling, launching and improving these products.

Determining an appropriate sales strategy for your new product launch

One of the keys to successfully launching a new product or service is to work out how you’re actually going to secure the first (or pilot) group of clients.

You may think that it’s simply a case of screaming from the top of your social media lungs on Facebook, Instagram and the like, but in our experience with both product launches this has not been the case at all.

A lot of social activity during product launch does not necessarily equate to actual sales. Share on X

Legendary Silicon Valley startup advisor and Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham shared the following advice in his article Do Things That Don’t Scale:

One of the most common types of advice we give at Y Combinator is to do things that don’t scale. A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. You build something, make it available, and if you’ve made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised. Or they don’t, in which case the market must not exist.

Actually, startups take off because the founders make them take off. There may be a handful that just grew by themselves, but usually, it takes some sort of push to get them going. A good metaphor would be the cranks that car engines had before they got electric starters. Once the engine was going, it would keep going, but there was a separate and laborious process to get it going.

The most common unscalable thing founders have to do at the start is to recruit users manually. Nearly all startups have to. You can’t wait for users to come to you. You have to go out and get them.

By the way, if you’ve never heard of Y Combinator, they’ve had some super successful startups go through their ranks including AirBnb and Dropbox. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? 😉

Related: Investing in Bean Ninjas – Interview with Simon Pilkington 

The power of a single sales page

One of the benefits of forcing ourselves to create a 1-page sales page in the first week of our launch is that we can then put it in front of people in our target audience, and obtain valuable feedback.

These actions go a long way to finding the much talked about product-market fit (especially if you’re hanging out in startup circles like we are).

Here’s a screenshot of the 2nd version of our landing page for our Xero Cashflow course (notice the video?):

Xero cashflow course v2 screenshot

After gathering feedback, and discovering that there were, in fact, another type of customer interested in a Xero training course i.e. people who wanted their virtual assistants trained, we created another landing page specifically for them:

virtual assistant cashflow course landing page screenshot

With additional feedback from potential buyers, we also updated the original landing page. For instance, we removed the video because it was too long and not doing as great a job of selling the course as we had hoped. We also updated the messaging to match the problem .

This is version 5 (the most current version):

xero cashflow course v5 landing page screenshot

The result? We’ve had 9 people enroll in these courses since we originally put the landing page up 4 weeks ago.

It’s all about ensuring that you’re solving the right problem.

Listen in to know more about our new product launch strategy:

Wayne and Meryl discuss:

  • Working out an appropriate sales strategy for your new product or service
  • Using feedback to answer: “Are we creating the right buying experience?”
  • Are you addressing the right problem, and clearly positioning the right offering?
  • The additional work required to deliver on your product promise (that you might not have planned for)
  • Prioritising between family, work, urgent client requests, and launch priorities
  • Finding time to allocate to the launch and time-blocking
  • The impact on content creation time when collaborating with somebody else.
  • Challenges of launching these new products, and how Meryl and Wayne is addressing them individually
  • The steps we took since our week 2 update, and how we’re tracking with both launches
  • Objectives for next week
  • Planning for selling the product beyond the launch phase
It makes such a difference when there is time blocked out to focus Share on X

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If you liked this episode, remember to listen weekly to learn more of Meryl’s great tips for growing your business fast. Click here if you would like to subscribe to the Bean Ninjas podcast on itunes.  We would also love to hear what you thought of today’s episode, so feel free to leave a review here.

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