Startups love to talk about being in "secretiveness." It sounds so intresting, clandestine and illicit.
The realities of "secretive" are not always intresting. In fact, it's fairly debatable if companies should even operate in stealth.
Some startups want to stay super secretive to prevent someone else from stealing their idea. Others believe that staying quiet builds a bit of allure around your brand, which could turn into anticipation or buzz.
So how do you know it's time to launch? Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are a few key questions that will help you determine when the best time to go live.
1. Have you gotten a lot of unbiased feedback on your product?
The biggest drawback to being stealth boils down to feedback. For a startup, that means you need someone who is not drinking your Kool-Aid to use your product as it was intended and tell you if it works outside of a carefully controlled environment. If you are designing for consumers, you need as much of that feedback as possible. Every person is a snowflake — you might give your product to 100 people and get 100 different responses on what they think.
If you are selling a B2B product, you need beta users to give you feedback and evince ROI. Without that, you are iterating on something that will likely need a complete rehaul. If you can get feedback at scale while you're in stealth, then by all means focus on fine-tuning your product until it is ready for public consumption.
If you can't, then know you will likely have to re-do a lot of the work that you've already done.
2. Is your team built-out?
The next question to ask yourself is: Do you have the infrastructure to support "what's next?" If you don't have (or can't yet afford) a sales and marketing team that can help take advantage of the attention and leads, then that spotlight is lost. If you don't have a team in place to nimbly adjust your product based on user feedback, then you will be dead in the water. Further, if you don't have a communications team in place to help manage things if they go wrong, or to engage with the people giving you unsolicited feedback, then you're going to miss a huge opportunity to turn your early adopters into product evangelists.
Launch is a big part of the equation, but the challenges come soon after. I always ask companies what their marketing and communications infrastructure looks like. You need to follow up with engaging content to keep people interested in your company — a cadence of news, thought leadership, user stories and relevant data to show that you are alive and kicking.
3. What's your customer acquisition strategy?
Many companies make the mistake of thinking that a communicated launch of their product will function as a their primary lead-generating activity. For example, we frequently hear from companies who inquire about a "huge press push" around their emergence from stealth, only to cut ties with us after a month.
My first question is: "What is your strategy for acquiring customers?" If the company doesn't have a post-launch marketing plan, then I usually suggest that it might be best for them to put their PR budget towards sales and marketing. I see many consumer-facing companies in particular holding onto stealth mode because they don't feel the product is perfect. What happens a lot, however, is that they launch with a huge spectacle and then go quiet; people forget about the app or product.
Although some products do grow organically, the crowded landscape of products targeting consumers means that you have to put some promotion behind it.
4. Do you have proof that you have a business?
We agonized over the angles asking ourselves what insights and assets we wanted to give the reporter, and what narratives we wanted to push.
After the journalist accepted the embargo, took the interview and listened to the story, he said, "You know, I don't like to cover companies coming out of stealth. At that point, you are an idea. Come to me when you can prove that your idea is a business."
To write a story that readers won't see through, the media needs proof that your company adds value. Funding is always a good affirmation, but with the flood of VC money into the market, it is not always enough. Proof can come in many forms: user traction, successful beta users and other forms of user data are evidence that the market needs your product.
While we're taught the importance of making a good first impression, we can't forget the vital impact of good second and third impressions. If you fail to follow up with early users, who's going to remember or trust you. Focusing too much on your emergence from stealth without looking at the long game is an easy way to end up on a "Where Are They Now" list.
Disclaimer :- Following article come from Mashable Business
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