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My “Notes” (below) are from when I did this podcast (in other words, expect some typos). This by no means covers everything in the podcast…so download the podcast for all the tips!
This week we are talking about one of the most dangerous or sabotaging elements to a business or brand.
Some people obsess over every detail on their brand.
These people call themselves “detail oriented” or that they have a great attention to detail.
Certainly this can be a valuable skill, but it can also cost you greatly.
It never ends…
… the changing of every last detail…last minute…creates delays and nothing gets out there to the real world.
….it is called “Feature Creep” and it can kill a launch and create costly delays in capitalizing what is going on in the market.
The term really comes from software development. When during beta testing people want more and more features added.
The poor programmers keep adding so many new features, they never get the product launched.
So, this week, we are going to learn the phrase “is it good enough”?
What is the minimum you need in place to get started – the answer may surprise you.
But first, let me give you an example of how this affects people almost every day.
About three years ago I had a client that had a sports nutrition product…well, more of an educational training.
It really was a great program. No one was doing anything like it…and the market is hot.
The sale of it would be pretty classic.
Invite people to a webpage and offer them a free “bribe” in exchange for the email.
Once they had that email, they would send them a series of emails all leading to an “upgrade” sale to a training.
The model is perfect. It works for everyone selling anything.
Sure, sometimes they funnel video, sometimes you are looking at a webinar, sometimes just come cool looking pdf’s – but sales are sales.
What was not perfect was the fact that he was spend countless hours on tweaking the training itself.
Obsessing over every particular detail.
Do you know the difference between Crimson Red and Rusty Red?
Well, I do….NOW.
I sat in a two-hour meeting watching three people discuss which of those two colors should be used on a banner on the website IN the training.
Now, even though I am getting a very nice hourly rate, I don’t want to be bored either.
Maybe I was cranky. Maybe I was bored.
At some point, under my breath, I said, “Will either of these make a F**ing difference in the sale.”
Well..someone within earshot asked if I said something…
…if you know me…I took it as the floor is now mine.
“I said, will any of this make a F**ing difference in the sale?”
They looked at me with blank faces.
“Let’s break it down…
One, this banner is IN the training. They have already purchased your course. They are already on board.
Secondly, is someone really going to refund because, as they look at all your materials, the banner off to the right is Crimson Red instead of Rusty Red?”
You all believe the banner should be red. Cool…just pick one and move on.”
You see, they key phrase that helps me when I am building a new project is this….
“Will X prevent a sale?”
“Will X cause a refund?”
If they answer is, “most likely, no” then move on already.
Now, BEFORE I continue…let me be very clear.
I am a huge fan of A/B testing.
Change something to see if you get in improvement in sales or whatever you goal is.
But, A/B is a tweak.
If you never get off the ground because you obsess over the smallest details…you will never get off the ground…ever.
And I can tell you that any project that NEVER gets off the ground does not have sales.
The finish the story, this client never really got the product up and running.
The following month was spent on tweaking a “text message alert system” – forget the fact that since they had not sold anyone yet they had no idea if anyone even wanted a text message alert system.
Needless to say, it was one of the only clients I had to simply walk away from.
Three years later, the product never really got off the ground and the edge they had has been bested by 3-4 other programs that are out doing the same thing.
The window is gone.
If this story sounds familiar, it should.
We have all been there.
We get excited about launching something, get about 80% of the way there…then stall out on the little things.
I hear it all the time.
I want to launch my website but can’t until I have my logo.
I want to start tweeting but don’t have a website to send them to, so I better wait.
I want to start a Facebook fan page, but I better wait until…blah…blah…blah.
Yes, some things should be done in order.
But, most things should just be done.
Here is another phrase for you…
“You have all you need.”
If you are listening to this, I am going to guess this is not your first podcast about building a brand you have downloaded.
Matter of fact, I am also willing to bet you have a couple “trainings” squirreled away on your computer that you have yet to finish or even open.
You figure, “as soon as I get time to watch that training from XYZ I will be ready to launch my idea.”
And here we are.
If I sound harsh, it is because I am.
It I sound like I can relate, it is because I can.
I have been that person.
All my ducks had to be in a row.
Website. Bribe. Product. Etc etc.
Take a look at “Be The Lime.”
I have no clue where it will go.
Because I am letting the listeners and readers guide me.
You should start something with an end game in mind, but you also need to be flexible and act quickly.
When I started Be The Lime I was going to offer, at some point, training.
I still will.
What I thought the training would be about is different that what I am hearing the need is.
Imagine if I spent a couple months building a training to go with Be the Lime, launched, and then realized I was totally off base.
Big waste of time…and I am not even talking about the dangers of feature creep.
Now when I do a Be The Lime training (or mini-trainings) they are tailored to, specifically, what people are asking me for?
No waste of time. No feature creep.
Here are some tips to keep you on track.
- Set a realistic deadline – Don’t pick a general date like “This Fall.” You won’t hit it. Pick a specific date, like October 10th and then back into your tasks that need to happen on earlier dates to hit that deadline.
- Set a budget – You can always add things later. When you are launching something new I like to think of the cool “bells and whistles” coming out of profits. If your concept is good, you will sell. Build the product bigger after sales occur.
- Outsource small things – What is the highest and best use of your time? If you are an amateur at Photoshop, jump on Fiverr.com and hire someone to do your logo. Suck at writing? Hire someone off iwriter.com.
- Will XX prevent a sale or cause a refund? You can always tweak and A/B test later (and you should). But, as you a building keep moving forward.
- Test on a small scale. – You might not know if your idea will even work. Let’s say I wanted to know if cat slippers would be a good training to sell.
After searching around and finding NO ONE else in the industry I might bail. Or, I might run a couple ads on Facebook (for less than $50) to see if I get any interest.
Just send them to an article or something. Just to gauge the level of interest. If no one clicks…there is your answer…move on to something else.
- Avoid “shiny objects” or the “next best thing.” – Marketers do a great job of feeding us “the next big thing” we need to buy. Webinar software, Auto Facebook posts, Twitter domination tactics. Whatever. Some of them are pretty cool…some of them are a big waste of time (and could hurt your business).
Whatever you decided to launch you brand with…stick with that. You can always add something later.
If your in-box is filled with new cool stuff from the gurus…”mute” those emails while you are building your product.
- Focus – I am a big fan of those extra large Post-It notes you can hang on your wall. Right now there are 5 of them on my walls – each for a different project.
Items are prioritized. But, if there is ever a lull in the action, I can go straight to a board and know what I should be working on.
They are also great motivators as you can check items off when they are completed. Helps you release you are moving forward…even when you feel you are not.
So, this week, I want you to look at something that has been sitting on your desk for some time.
You know…the “almost ready” to launch item.
Ask yourself…. “Is it good enough?”
Chances are, at this point, it is not…BUT what do you need to do to make it good enough and finally get it out there?
Enough delays! Enough of this feature creep!
“Acting incorrectly is not the worst thing that can happen to an entrepreneur or a brand. Inaction IS!”