There is No Perfect Moment

Can we talk about products, product launches, entering a market and all that? I'm someone who likes to plan. I have spreadsheets. I'm not Tony Perez (the guy who says forget the plan, let's just do this!). But after years of planning, I'm come to one conclusion: there's no perfect moment.

Deregulation & Pacific Bell

Years ago Pacific Bell was going to step into the deregulated California market because of a telecommunications bill that had passed.

A friend of mine spent months looking at getting into long distance, bundling services, and creating unique offerings for the small business sector.

He spent tens of thousands of dollars on each survey he ran to collect market feedback.

I know this because after a year of planning and re-planning how to enter the market, he still hadn't. I had a front row seat and watched the entire process.

So when we started talking about starting a company, he was ready to try his hand at something new.

All that planning wasted.

The Shifting Mobile Market

I also remember a company called Iridium, that was building a global, satellite-based, cellular network so that you could talk anywhere with their global phone.

When they started, phones were expensive. Plans were expensive. And people were still limiting their calls to nights and weekends.

So when Iridium put 77 low Earth orbiting satellites into space, the business model showed per minute costs at a high level, but not crazy high. Why? Because it was comparing the rates to the existing mobile phone market.

But all the planning they did didn't help them predict the rapid lowering of per minute charges in the digital cellular industry.

The result was a launched platform that cost more than anyone was willing to pay.

All that planning wasted.

Does Anyone Remember Facebook Places?

It can't have been more than a few years ago when Facebook spent time and energy planning the launch of “places” to compete with Foursquare.

Meetings were had, assignments given out and monitored, and the product was released.

Don't remember it? That's because it was likely cancelled before you ever got a chance to try it.

All that planning wasted.

I'm Still a Planner

I'm not saying you shouldn't plan. If you're starting up something new, from a service to a product, reducing risk is critical.

[Tweet “All the planning in the world won't matter as long as that great idea is still in your head.”]

People think entrepreneurs are risk-takers but in reality, our goal is often to mitigate the most amount of risk we can. We're constantly looking for ways to push that risk out, or push it on to others (that gets talked about a lot less, huh?).

Some amount of thinking, risk mitigation, and contingency planning is critical.

But all the planning in the world won't matter as long as that great idea is still in your head.

As long as it's just an idea, all your plans won't mean much.

The only way you can even create logical, reasonable, and useful plans is if you've put something out there for people to react to.

Test the Waters

You have to get your ideas out into a place where people can react to them. I have a friend who created some leadership material for a 6 month course she planned to give to a group of young women.

Instead of planning for every possible contingency, she created a 6 week trial, brought some women together, and tested the short-version of the material.

As she hoped, she learned a lot! Best of all – she could tweak the little areas she needed to so that her full course could be perfect.

There is No Perfect Moment

Stop waiting for the perfect moment. It's an illusion. It doesn't exist.

The other day I wrote about lifetime licenses. I told you how to think about the price point you offer them at. But it's a suggestion. How do you know if I'm right? You have to test it.

When is the perfect moment to test a pricing change? Yesterday.
But the next best time is now.

So here's my suggestion.

Take a tiny step forward. Any step. But get your stuff out there so you can start collecting feedback right away. You never know what you'll find.

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