Benefits of a Soft Launch for Your Start-Up

When you’re working on the business plan for your start-up, there’s a lot of things to consider. During all that planning, don’t forget to think about your soft launch!

Why do a soft launch? Think of it as the step between beta testing and releasing your product into the wild. A soft launch allows you to release your product or service to a select few. The benefits of this are three-fold: you get early feedback, one last chance to catch and correct errors, and you foster stronger relationships with your core customer group.

People feel special when they get invited to a soft launch. I was once invited to the grand re-opening of a restaurant I’d been patronizing for some time, and to which I had given some early feedback. When I received an invite to the soft launch of their new menu, I knew that I was a valued customer and that the owner cared about my opinion. This was confirmed when the owner stopped by my table and asked me what I thought about the new iced tea options, tea being a particular passion of mine. I knew then that the owner had been paying attention to what his customers cared about.

Use the above story to inspire your own soft launch. Whether you’re having a soft opening for your store or restaurant, or an early release party for a physical product or an online soft launch, you’ll want to keep the same things in mind. Think about who you want to invite, why, and what is important to them. Let them know how much they matter to you, and your business.

Some ideas of people to invite to your soft launch:

  • Friends and family. They’ve provided moral support during the process of getting your start-up off the ground and are surely excited to see what you’ve built.
  • Financial backers, for obvious reasons.
  • Members of the press, in your industry and possibly outside of it, too. They’ll help generate buzz and build excitement for your launch.
  • Customers and clients from previous business endeavors. They liked what you did in the past, they’ll be interested in what you’re doing now.

Be sure to have a mix of people who will feed your excitement and build your ego, and people who will give you a reality check with honest feedback. Most importantly, listen to what everyone says. What do they like? What problems did they encounter? Look for trends, and see how you can quickly address concerns, while emphasizing the best qualities of your product ahead of the launch.

A well-planned soft launch will live up to its name, gently easing your product out into the great wide world.

-AJ

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