How to launch a product in seven days

- Project Management

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by Vasco Duarte

It’s 6am and the alarm goes off. Last night was fun, we were talking about saving the world — in our own modest way — and came up with some great ideas for creating a happier meeting facilitation approach that helps the team feel closer to each other, gain greater job satisfaction and finally end the silo-thinking we’ve been struggling with since last fall. But now it is 6am, and it’s time to get up and go to work. Time to put into action the great ideas we generated yesterday.

Somehow, this doesn’t feel as exciting as it did last night. It feels like routine, while yesterday it felt like something important was happening.

Have you been there?  Where you’ve had a good brainstorming session with friends or colleagues, but when the affect of the endorphins wears off you feel like you are in the hamster wheel of life again? Or perhaps, that’s how everyday feels — like routine.

Jurgen Appelo shared this with us about launching his own products:

Some people have told me that I have completely changed their lives through my books. One person told me that, because of my writing, he decided to quit his job and he became an entrepreneur. And he is much happier now! Of course, I don’t get such stories every day, which is why I cherish them even more when I do. They confirm to me that, by doing what I love (which is writing books, speaking at events, and living as an entrepreneur) I can have a lasting effect on other people. And that feels great! 

You might have a lot of experience. A lot of great ideas that when discussed with your friends, become larger and larger. Sometimes these ideas turn into something you could try at work.

Perhaps a new game to help the team jell, or a new facilitation technique to tackle that lack of safety in retrospectives. We have those ideas, and may even implement them in our own environment. But those ideas would benefit others as well and could potentially change somebody’s life for the better, giving them greater job satisfaction and making them happier overall.

What if you could transform those ideas into something that has an impact? Into something that helps people “out there” get their lives into better shape, or solve that conundrum that they’ve been struggling with since last fall.

You can do it, in fact, anyone can

We can turn our experience and knowledge into something that helps others solve problems we’ve already worked on, and break out of the hamster wheel, turning our ideas into Happiness with a business model!

So, let’s get started

Day #1:

The first day is about knowing your customer. Find ten people you already know — friends and family that represent who you want to help — and ask them a simple, yet important question (I’ll explain this question and why it is important in the handout below. Read that specific page and follow the links to understand why this important question is so important). The key thing is that these people need to represent the kind of person you want & can help. It can’t just be ten random friends. So, for example, if you plan to help test managers better motivate their team to try out new methods, then you should find ten test managers or test team members so that you can ask them the important question.

Day #2:

The second day is a follow-up from day one. It’s all about getting as many answers as possible to the important question. We’ll share all the details as we go — including what this “Important Question” is.

Day #3:

Day three is about sitting down and creating. You will take the responses to the important question from days one and two and write down a possible solution to the biggest challenge or frustration your friends and colleagues shared with you. Alternatively, you can also interview ten people to ask them how they solved that frustration in the past, but that would take more than seven days. So sit down, and write out how you’d solve it.

Day #4:

On day three, after you’ve completed writing, you’ll get the content you just created formatted and prepared to be sent out — as a PDF — to those people who answered the important question in step one. You’ll get started on writing a blog post, that introduces the document you just created. This PDF will have the answer to the most important frustration and the blog will be short and to the point. It will explain what the problem is that you propose to solve and announce the solution PDF you just created.

Day #5:

Publish the PDF in the blog post and start asking everyone who downloads it the same important question you asked your ten friends and colleagues.

The goal is to increase your knowledge about the people you are trying to help, and learn what other important problems they’re facing.

Remember, you can get anything you want, as long as you help others get what they want. This is not karma — although it could be — it’s simple math. You get gratitude, connections and help from those you are generous, friendly and helpful to.

The 5th day is when it gets really exciting as you’re preparing the product. When your first product is sold for the first time during the launch, your life will change!

It happened to me when I launched the #NoEstimates book. Since then I’ve been helping others do the same, because I believe that the world changes, one small product at a time.

You help people, and they change the world!

On day five you”ll set up your method for selling the product. It could be a video, an email course, a book, a mini-book, a Skype call with you to answer questions. The product could be any method or approach to distribute your knowledge to those people that want it and can benefit from it.

So on this second last day, you will decide what type of product it is and prepare what we call, “the cart” — a method to distribute the product and charge people for access.

This is the day you’ll start to write, or create the product you’ll be selling based on the problems or frustrations that people have shared with you.

The goal is not to be super exhaustive. Pick the most common problem and create and document a solution for it. Your goal should be to have a simple, yet helpful product by the end of day six, not a huge book or some five- day training program. Remember, we want to have an MVP — small learning experiment that delivers value — to sell.

Day #6

On day six, and once the product is created you will write a short blog post — 500 words or less –that announces the product. This blog will follow a simple formula. You write about why you are publishing that product and what the top three problems are that you will be solving with it. After this, you’ll get someone –explained in the PDF at the bottom of the page –to lay out your product.

Day #7

So it is time to let the world know what you have been creating this week. Publish the blog you wrote on day six, open the cart and celebrate! In seven days you went from having knowledge, to creating a product that helps others improve their lives. You are contributing to a better world, and that’s reason enough to be excited.

Remember, from day five to seven you must continue:

  • The important work of sharing what you learn from the answers to the question you asked in steps 1, 2 & 6
  • Publish a short blog post answering one of the many frustrations or issues people are sharing with you
  • Each blog or Facebook post — or any other social media post — ends with a simple reminder that there’s one PDF guide to solving one of those problems
  • This work is about getting your message out there to as many people as possible. Ask your friends to repost and retweet. You want your ideas to be exposed to as many people as possible, so that you find those that can benefit from the information and knowledge you are sharing
  • Prepare another part of the project: The product you will launch on day seven!

This is the simple version of the 7-day plan, to go from an idea to launching a product. One that you know for sure, will help people out there create a better, happier and more productive life for themselves.

The world has changed for the better with small acts, that bring about better experiences for others. Sharing your knowledge and experience as part of a business, ensures that you can continue to do it for as long as that business is there. Who knows, maybe even that can become your main occupation.

How would you feel about that?

Want to read more about launching a business? Check out these great articles:

Photo: Unsplash

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