Congratulations! Launching a new product to market is both exciting and tricky at the same time. You have pulled together a development team and are building a technically excellent B2C/B2B web app or digital solution that you know is desirable to your target audience. You are now thinking, "what about all other associated launch costs?"
What aspects should you be thinking of to ensure your solution continues to be:
- Feasible to implement and maintain
- Aligned to business purpose and priorities.
Master the mindset
Based on my personal experience, I think most people overlook the cost of maintaining a relationship/service with a customer. Too many believe that building a solution has a "DONE" state with minimal support needed. You will reach a "REASONABLE TO RELEASE" form in software and digital, but never really done.
In my former roles as Chief Product Officer, I built a reference table I shared with my leadership to frame an understanding of the range of decisions/considerations that go into managing a successful digital product.
As an online digital business, you need to master various components as an ordinary course of daily business typically grouped across:
- Driving revenue via digital platforms and software monetisation
- Using productivity tools to automate workflows and reduce human error
- Leveraging data and AI to create insights
- Enhancing customer experiences for retention
- Increase agility and operational efficiency
This means that the way you organise, measure, and advance the value of your business assets takes on a new digital dimension with all that comes in with it (digital product development, cybersecurity, due care, due diligence etc.).
This is important as it impacts so many aspects of your business core, including:
- What roles you hire for
- How your investment structure looks like (e.g. % distribution of investment towards digital platforms, teams, resources, go-to-market)
- How you engage and what roles need priority
- How you provide customer service and stay in touch with your target audience
- How you measure and assess market and competition
- How you reach customers
- How you build partnerships and strategic alliances
- How you prioritise work
Intentionally build in feedback cycles with your customers and business stakeholders
By this, I refer to intentional time cycles to ensure your frame of production and supply is aligned to the value that needs to be created to be and stay relevant.
Be clear on your go-to-market
Understand both how you will build your solution and how you will want to make your solution findable/sold. This will heavily impact what additional work you need to do to make your product available, findable, reachable and transactable.
Understand your potential costs
Use all of the above to then map out your costs and financial plan, remembering you need to deal with all of the below:
- Servers and infrastructure (costs, uptime monitoring, security etc.)
- Ongoing office expenses, electricity and utilities (or subscription to hosted infra).
- Unexpected costs of maintaining a product running (e.g. Supplier changed a technology API/end-of-life a product and needs replacement so as not to impact your commitments you did to your paying customers)
- Customer support cycles to answer customer service (how-tos, e.g. can you change my username/password), customer queries, bug investigations, and all kinds of help people ask for day-to-day around the product, invoicing, billing, refunds etc.
- Maintaining marketing initiatives needed to promote your product and expand reach.
- You may have a customer-facing front that may demand uniforms and the effort needed to ensure your teams remain presentable brand ambassadors to your set standards.
- Travel including hosting, food, hotels and transport.
- Cost of REPORTING - if you have an investment board, you will find that 40% of your time is spent ensuring you have the metrics and the data aligned to report on progress in a consistent and repeatable way.
- Cost of talking (time/travel/preparation) to investors and partnerships, and potential partners.
- Cost of bad leads - know how to profile and cut off fast enough in a way that is respectful to both parties. (especially if you are into RFPs)
Remember your pricing!
Based on the above, remember to work these aspects into your pricing to consider the DIRECT costs you need to make the product and the INDIRECT costs you need to ship, maintain, and keep relevant in the market.
- Sundries like stationery, paper
- Computing equipment (leased/bought)
- Software to run your business
- Services to maintain your business, e.g. accounting, government reporting
- Support operations (chat/email/phone etc etc)
If you would like to discuss please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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