4 Steps to Get Through Your Launch

Hopefully, the business holiday season is in full swing for you and your shop is slammed with orders! No doubt, while you have been processing and shipping, you've been thinking what's next? 
We are dreamers - always thinking and inventing our next thing. 
It can get overwhelming to think about a huge product or project as the big picture. I am totally overwhelmed right now with something big for Stationery Academy next year. My accountability partner had to talk me off a ledge this morning on our weekly call. I've convinced that sometimes our calls are more therapy than accountable. We need both, don't we?
I can’t start working in the morning until my desk is clear and organized. In fact, I've starting cleaning it at the end of the day so I can jump right in with a clear space and mind right away.
Approaching big projects in our businesses works the same way. You have to get organized when tackling a big project. 
Recently, I decided to take on two big projects with a corporate client as well, and I’ve been avoiding my project for Stationery Academy because I don't have a plan.
When I recognized that pattern of procrastination, I knew needed to break the project down into some smaller steps, so that I could get started and feel like I've checked something off the list. Cue the endorphins!

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With any big launch or project, you will need to wear a lot of hats and be able to switch your mindset, depending on which phase you're in at the time. So, put your planning hat on and let's dive in to my 4 simple steps to getting through big projects or product launches

1. SET GOALS

I want you to write down your top 3 goals. What is your purpose? How will you measure these goals using dates and metrics? For example, you can measure the success of your launch by saying you want to sell 30 pieces in the first 30 days. Make sure your goals are realistic, but a stretch to reach.

2. PLAN AND ORGANIZE

Create a big long task list. This could take you a week or two to complete - keep a list near by or use the notes app on your phone to write things down immediately as they pop in your mind. Once you have your long list, prioritize in phases. Identify the tasks you need to do first with a 1,2,3 (or ABC), then go back and fill in the lower level tasks or subtasks for each of those.

This doesn't have to be perfect - you won’t get everything on this first your first try

For product launches you should be thinking of high-level phases like:

  • Product Design and Development
  • Website Updates
  • Content Development
  • Marketing
  • Testing or Beta

 

Ask yourself "where do I need help?" Think about your weaknesses? How can you find people to help you there?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Content Development - help writing your about page, website content, or product descriptions
  • Website Developer - landing page design, sales page, online shop
  • Designer - help with product development and design? If you are a designer, can you assign smaller design tasks to a junior designer?
  • Assistant - need someone to upload your items to Etsy or your shop? Or maybe you need someone to manage this project timeline and keep you on track?
  • Product or Software - what software or products do you need to launch?
  • Vendors - Do you need to work on pricing from a vendor or supplier? 

 

Ok, time to put on your work like crazy hat and get to work!

3. COMMUNICATE and IMPLEMENT

First, assign task ownership and deadline, so everyone knows who is responsible for each thing? Each task needs an owner, even if it's you for everything! Assign a timeline of how much time each of these phases or tasks will need so you have a realistic expectation of completion date.

Use a project management system to get organized, like Basecamp, Trello, ToDoist, or AsanaSlack is a great way to communicate with larger groups in real time. Communication is the biggest issue with projects and these cloud based platforms are a great way to keep everyone on task.

Get going on your plan and stick to your timeline! Hold people accountable.

Other tips:

  • If you aren’t the accountable one to keep this project on task, you need to hire someone to be that person. This probably needs to have a high level of responsibility and be very organized. High in the Executer level on the Strengths Finder test.
  • Make sure to set scheduled meetings each week with your team or accountability partner to check in with progress. This changed the way I work on projects completely - just with simple communication.
  • Be realistic with your timeline and set deadlines that you can stick to - at least as much as possible.
  • Launches are stressful! Acknowledge that up front, give yourself some grace, and plan something fun ahead of time to relieve stress.
  • Set small goals and have mini celebrations for reaching certain milestones.

Every project, no matter how big or small, are just series of smaller tasks. If you set small goals, you’ll be less overwhelmed.

Now for the party hat! Congratulations on your launch!

4. MEASURE and REVIEW 

Keep tabs on your goals and celebrate each milestone. Always review what worked and what didn't during each phase. Make a note of what would you do differently next time. Now's the time to pop the champagne and grab a massage - you deserve it.

P.S. If you are a maker, artist, or designer who is designing or making any sort of product to sell, sign up for our newsletter to keep in touch and have bi-monthly free content about running your business in your inbox. We would love to see you next March in Pensacola for Stationery Academy 2016! Learn more here!

NewsJennifer FaughtComment