The Anatomy of a Launch: Preparing for the Unexpected

Before I launched this blog I determined to not make the same mistakes I had on my first.

When I started that one I spent a month slapping it together and launched.  I thought, “Wow, how hard can this be?”  Bad question.

Photo by Rick Harrison

Photo by Rick Harrison

 

I was excited to be underway but  immediately hit challenges.  My site went down—twice.  Once because I used a free theme which turned out to be incompatible.   And the second time because my hosting server crashed.  Eventually I rebuilt it but with enormous effort.

Then I kept floating around trying to figure out what I really wanted to write.  My focus shifted from personal finance, to spirituality, self help to news event commentary.

My style changed from long in-depth pieces to short pithy posts to music videos.

I felt like I was drowning because on top of this each week I needed to come up with additional posts.

 

I started asking, “What happened to the easy part?”

 

So when I thought about writing again, after a year hiatus, I determined I’d be smarter about it.  I was going do a smidge more planning this time.

I wrote notes about everything—focus, length, style, tone, site design.

I wrote everyday.  Some posts which only my computer will ever see.  Then my ebook.  Then the posts you’re reading.

And now we’ve launched.

The difference is remarkable. 

Huh, go figure.

I have a clear idea of my goals and the initial route.

I don’t feel as stressed because I’m not making it up as I go.

I have a backlog of articles which reduces the pressure.

And I’m confident I can face the unexpected at least semi-rationally.

 

Solomon wrote, “Whatever you desire to accomplish pursue it wholeheartedly with all wisdom, knowledge, planning and diligence.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

 

Effectively planning for the unexpected reduces reacting to it ineffectively.

 

I would guess most of us have launched into a venture with a shade less than the planning we needed.  We’re excited to see our dream.  We can feel it and can’t wait to get started.

So we launch and almost immediately hit roadblocks.

“What now?” we wonder.

We struggle then hit another.  We fall behind because we’re trying to stay up with our schedule but need to fix the problems.

Panicking we slap together fixes only to find more problems.

Stress mounts.

Sound remotely familiar?

 

Instead, just spending some time ahead of launch thinking through our goals and strategies can pay huge dividends.

 

It helps us clarify if we write those ideas out as well.

We determine what we truly want to accomplish.  We think through, “What does success look like?”

We gain confidence to launch.  We can see the end goal and how to initially start on the journey.

It builds margin to face the inevitable challenges.  We’ve ironed out the basics so when the unexpected hits we have time to solve those issues.

It helps us launch successfully or at least not disastrously.  The first few days and weeks are critical. They can set the tone for how successful we’ll be.

In short, it gives us the ability to get a running start at the onrushing surprises.

So how do we develop this plan?  We’ll discuss that next.

 

When have you launched a new venture?  What difference did planning ahead make to your success?