Business Management

From concept to launch: How to simplify your product creation process

Kyle Reid

Updated: Jun 18, 2024 · 7 min read

Kyle Reed headshot

Most business owners struggle to rally their teams around taking a big idea from vision to launch. No matter what they try, costs always go up and timelines get longer, leaving them feeling like they’re the only ones driving progress forward. If this is true for you, you aren’t alone, but there are specific steps you can follow to change this pattern and lead your team to success.

For the past eleven years, my job has been to take ideas from the whiteboard to launch and framework ideas into multi-million-dollar products. This work has taught me that launching a successful digital product doesn’t have to feel like rocket science. It’s a matter of understanding where your weaknesses lie and knowing how to organize yourself for success. In this blog, I’ll help you do just that by walking you through my five-step framework, equipped with the best practices you need to launch profitable products. But before we get to it, we have to start with three things that can go wrong so you can avoid them.

The three villains

The five steps I’m about to introduce are the keys to successful product and website launches, but equally important are the three villains working against you:

  1. Time: Things can take longer than expected.
  2. Costs: Halfway through your project, unexpected costs can pop up.
  3. Missing the mark: Your end results can end up looking vastly different from what was intended.

Maybe you’re all too familiar with these villains or maybe they’re brand new to you. Either way, you’ll want to avoid them, and by following my five-step framework, you can. Let’s dive in and turn your ideas into successful, profitable realities without wasting time, incurring extra costs or missing the mark.

Step one: The Kickoff Meeting

Your first step to a successful launch is to get everyone in the same room for the kickoff meeting, and it’s vital to assemble the right people for this gathering. While it is true that having too many cooks in the kitchen can stall progress, the purpose of this first meeting is to get everyone on the same page and oriented around the vision of the project, so don’t be afraid to include anyone who could be relevant to the launch — you can always trim the meetings down later.

Once you have your attendees locked in, you can focus on your objective, which will be to collectively review the product brief. Reviewing this brief will align everyone on the project’s goals. As people learn the ins and outs of the product and its launch, they’ll naturally come up with unique questions, suggestions and feedback you may not have thought of. So, don’t forget to provide time in this initial meeting for everyone to give their input.

Step two: Establish your timeline

After you’ve shared the brief and ironed out any last-minute changes, it’s time to break down your project into bite-sized pieces. This is an essential part of the process because it makes a big, intimidating plan more manageable for everyone involved and helps you keep a close eye on each phase along the way.

And remember: This step relies heavily on clarity. Everything should be time-bound, measurable and specific. Leave no ambiguity so no one has to guess what’s needed of them or when tasks should be completed.

Man with glasses and book

Pro tip

As you determine what should be completed and when, have everyone sign off on the timeline. It will strengthen the commitment to the deadlines because no one wants to let the team down, especially when the timeline is established through collaboration versus delegation. This small act can ensure everyone is invested in the success of your product.

Step three: Build

When it comes to the building phase, starting simple is the way to go. It can be tempting to dive in head-first and build as much as you can as fast as you can, and simplicity might seem counterintuitive, but it’s worth it. It’s what will keep your team organized and protect them from feeling overwhelmed.

Begin with a simple document outline to establish deliverables. This is not the time to worry about fonts, layouts, colors, and drop shadows. During this step, you are simply fleshing out the product and how it functions.

Then, you’re going to need feedback from the key stakeholders. Consider asking them the following questions to get an idea of where everyone is at:

  • Do you and your team feel ready to jump in?
  • What needs to change? (i.e. due dates, deliverables, etc.)
  • Are you missing anything?

Getting critiques and suggestions out in the open early on is necessary to avoid last-minute, drastic changes. However, if there’s ever contention around how to build the product, base your decisions on the product brief objectives.

Once everyone gives the green light, it’s safe to begin the hi-res design and add colors, fonts, drop shadows, and more. After the design is settled, pull in your key stakeholders again and get their approval before your developers begin architecting the build.

Step four: Quality assurance

By this point, you’ll have been in so deep with your product that it might be difficult to spot weak areas. To remedy this, you need objective, fresh eyes to take a look and help uncover what you might be missing.

So, for step four, call in staff who haven’t been working as closely with the new product. Have them test it out, then ask them to identify the strengths and point out any flaws that need to be dealt with before launch.

A staff review is just the starting point. It’s also critical to acquire third-party reviews from people who are completely unattached to your business and have no inside knowledge of your product. Once you have a group of unbiased individuals, give them permission to be completely and brutally honest.

Finally, you’ll want to select a group of clients to review your product too. This will give you a solid idea of how your audience at large will react to your product.

Now, beware: The feedback you receive through this process can feel disheartening, but remember that professionals want feedback, and amateurs want praise. The more critical the analysis, the better. This will save you time in the long run and set your product up to be foolproof.

Step five: Launch

After three rounds of thorough reviews, your product will be strong and prepared for launch!

You may feel like it’s time for a vacation after all this hard work, and that will come soon enough, but this is when you need to lean in. Watch your numbers, your analytics and your inbox. Obsess over the feedback and responses. Is the impact of your product trending toward the goals you set? If not, make changes!

Don’t beat yourself up if you have to make product tweaks post-launch. In fact, this is one thing you can count on. Being agile and adjusting is the key to a successful product that lives beyond the initial launch hype. The longevity of your product is determined by your actions after you go live.

Ready, set, launch!

As you think about this framework and ponder your next product launch, remember this: keep it simple.

Follow these five steps, but don’t overcomplicate it. By sticking to this plan and taking each phase as it comes, you’ll ensure a well-thought-out, timely launch of a product your audience adores. And don’t forget to get excited because soon you’ll be celebrating a successful launch and laying the foundation for future launches to come.

Author Bio

Kyle Reid is the Sr. Vice President of Design and Technology at StoryBrand / Business Made Simple / Coach Builder. Kyle began his career as a graphic designer in 2010 and quickly became captivated with combining beautiful design with function.

Over the years, he's designed and built successful brands, launched best-selling books (selling over 1 million copies), designed web apps that have acquired over 1 million leads, and designed web-based products that have grossed over 8 figures.

In 2022, he and his family packed a few suitcases and moved from Nashville, TN to Portugal where he currently resides.

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