How to Launch a Startup Successfully: Soft vs. Hard Launch Differences

When launching a new product into the market, there are two strategies that product managers and marketers can use. You can either opt for a soft launch, which is when you introduce the product to the market in a discreet manner and to a small and targeted audience. Or, you can opt to launch the product with a hard launch, making a large entrance and utilizing excitement to spread product awareness, quickly. As with all marketing strategies, each has its own pros and cons and scenarios in which one strategy will be better over the other. 

What Are the Pros & Cons of a Soft Launch & a Hard Launch? 

Soft Launch Positives

  • You can gradually present your product to an audience while maintaining full control of the release platforms and who can access the software/application. This works well if you want to monitor the behavior of real users, gain tractions, or scale slowly step by step. 
  • You can receive quick feedback from users and tweak the product application quickly and immediately. This works very well for products that haven’t quite found their fit in the market, as you can fine tune the details or pivot as needed. 
  • You can segment your users within a closed environment via a limited launch into specific geographical areas. Customers are always happy to experience a new product before a global launch. 
  • You can fine tune your user interface, optimize your core features, and spark up expectations. 
  • It takes less time to see results which allows you to gauge your customers’ reaction. The first initial data that you gather is critical in the success of your product as it determines your next steps. 

The cons with a soft launch is that it can have a lot of overhead as you will need a substantial budget to cover all expenses while you are gaining customer feedback and fine tuning your application. This means you will need to cover development costs, hosting fees, the initial marketing, and the cost of submitting your product to market.

Hard Launch Positives

  • Since you already have a finished product, customers are more likely to pick it up knowing that they are getting everything that it offers. This allows you to get a faster return on investment and potentially a higher customer engagement rate. 
  • A hard launch puts you into the market without competitors. Even if any information is leaked about your product prior to launch, it will take your competitors a significant amount of time to replicate you and catch up. This gives you market advantage. 
  • You have complete control over the marketing of your product. Why? You have the time to pre-plan your marketing strategy based and target precisely who your product fits. 
  • Launching hard into the market is a big event. The anticipation of a big launch reveal creates mystery and buzz around your product. This works in your favor as it generates hype and interest. 

The cons of a hard launch are that it is more expensive as you will need to reach a wider audience through multiple channels and place more capital into advertising resources to receive a quick return on investment. Your product will also be harder to tweak and making changes will be more expensive on a finished product. Finally, your audience will have higher expectations due to the buildup of interest that your product has created. 

When to Choose a Soft Launch Over a Hard Launch and Vice Versa? 

Contrary to popular belief, not all products need to be launched in a grand and boisterous way. A product can benefit from a soft launch if you are a small team and are in the market for the first time, require time to test the viability of your product, or you need to refine your product’s features by utilizing feedback from a small target audience. Beyond this, a product is well suited to a soft launch if you need to check price acceptance, need to test features, or need to test how much marketing is required to get your audience to engage with you.

On the other hand, you should go all in with a hard launch if you are 100% sure you can deliver your product on time, you have a product that is stable and reliable on all fronts, and you have eliminated all critical bugs and issues. When you are a large and trusted company, hard launches work well, especially if you have a detailed marketing plan and you have created enough “buzz” or “hype” around the product. 

5 Business Mistakes I made in the past.

Not using CRM 

 Bringing things under one umbrella has significantly helped me to reduce cost overhead. More data means more meaningful decisions. 

Not calculating Value of diminishing return.

  What looks good today may not help you to become better tomorrow. Any investment done on things which has diminishing returns is not going to help until and unless you have enough capital & your sole objective is to increase market share. 

Not investing in Process 

Investing in Process has helped business which I do and I consult to reduce reskilling efforts significantly. At initial days the process was never a priority but if I look back defining the process would have shorten the path of clarity.

Not investing in Automation

At least 30% of the processes can be automated to reduce stress ( Scheduled emails , reminders, posts, drip campaigns, content publishing ). And it can lead to consistency and brand value. I did not know the worth of doing this until I stated doing it by myself. 

Not thinking slow.

    “Followup email”  this is not a 5 minute task. This is a minimum 30 minute task to perform effectively and meaningfully. You need to pull up information , process information , propose information and then also update the CRM effectively so in future if the same lead is being taken by someone else he knows from where to start. Objective of the followup is not to complete the `followup” task. Objective of follow up is to generate interest in the potential customer so S/he can respond. It takes time to understand importance of thinking slow in fast paced environment. Trust me it turned out slow is fast at the end.

The RACI matrix: By Far the simplest ideology I came across to manage team.

There will be days in your professional life when you feel that oh you learned something which will act like an elevator In your growth, discussion on RACI  Matrix was one of that.

I would like to give credit to @Sharada Bose , time to time I take advice from her ( she has been wonderful person & always ready for mentoring).In Early 2016 when I was onsite in USA for one of the largest Parking Solution provider of USA, She brought this topic while having discussion about cross functional team’s performance.

I would recommend top management should go through RACI matrix. Implementation in organization can be done multiple ways. May be it needs a separate blog post on it ;). But having thought process of RACI in early age can help a lot. Not only for executing IT Projects but this should be in DNA of the organization.

What is a RACI Matrix?

RACI  stands for Stakeholder’s Role Responsible Accountable Consulted & Informed

The four roles that stakeholders might play in any project/ task/decision include the following:

  • Responsible: People or stakeholders who do the work. They must complete the task or objective or make the decision. Several people can be jointly Responsible. Cross functional team members can be responsible as well. Responsible stakeholders are the one who needs to execute the task with or without help of other stake holders. More authority should be in hands of Responsible & accountable person.
  • Accountable: Person or stakeholder who is the “owner” of the work. He or she must sign off or approve when the task, objective or decision is complete.  In smaller organization & smaller task Responsible person can be an accountable too. As an organization there should be only one person accountable. Multiple people in this role usually create conflicts.
  • Consulted: People or stakeholders who need to give input before the work can be done and signed-off on. These people are “in the loop” and active participants. People who may be at same position or may be lower or upper in management or may have better knowledge about the task ( it can be cross functional or it can be outside of the organization also) should be consulted for input in decision making. Also people who may not be responsible or accountable but may get highly affected by the decision should be consulted during the process.
  • Informed: People or stakeholders who need to be kept “in the picture.” They need updates on progress or decisions, but they do not need to be formally consulted, nor do they contribute directly to the task or decision. ( sometime people make mistake on consulting a stakeholders who are supposed to be informed not consulted) If there is a change in the process or decision is made on something there may not be direct impact on day to day process but to ensure that their own decision making process stays aligned with what organization has decided, these stakeholders should also be kept in loop.

 More about Responsibility Alignment Matrix

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsibility_assignment_matrix

https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/raci-matrix.php

https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/how-to-do-raci-charting-and-analysis.php

Every time when you think of a change management, project management ensure to fill up RACI matrix.

Feel free to tag me on Twitter @ketanraval or linkedin @ketanraval if you want to discuss more on this. I am happy to share my experiences. Yes I did implement this in multiple companies & department.

6 TV Shows Entrepreneurs Should Keep Watching in 2019

When it comes to our perceptions about entrepreneurs, there is this idea that they are constantly on-the-go, hustling their business, improving themselves, reaching new milestones, and obliterating anything that proves to be a distraction. However, despite the fact that entrepreneurs may not have a lot of free time to kill, there is still quite a lot that one can learn from watching television shows like ABC’s Shark Tank, and CBC’s Dragon’s Den. Beyond finding inspiration for overcoming obstacles, entrepreneurs can take away quite a bit of learning and education just by having the television show on in the background of the workday.

The ABC’s Shark Tank. This is one of the oldest and most popular American business-related reality TV show currently on the air allows budding entrepreneurs a shot at bringing their dreams to fruition by presenting and pitching their ideas to a panel of industry leaders who have turned their ideas into multi-million dollar empires. The billion-dollar tycoons look to invest in the best business products and services that are offered up by the entrepreneurs cast on the show. If one or more of the tycoons likes the idea and wants to invest their money, a bidding war can erupt, driving the investment sky high in price. The best thing about this show for entrepreneurs watching is they get to see both the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial journey and get some tips on how to polish your pitch making skills.

CBC’s Dragons’ Den. Although very similar to Shark Tank, this Canadian production provides entrepreneurs with an unscripted, front-row seat to the country’s top venture capitalists. Individuals who have business propositions are allowed to approach the five dragons with a pitch of their idea and if any of the dragons are interested in the idea, will fork out thousands of dollars to help them get their business idea off the ground. Negotiations do happen and the entrepreneur may find themselves with a dragon that wants a higher equity percentage, royalty sales, or may get a flat out offer. The main key here is that an entrepreneur is not permitted to accept an offer or multiple offers unless those offers total the amount they initially sought for their business idea. For budding entrepreneurs, Dragons’ Den provides a full-on look into how negotiations, partnerships, and pitches are dealt with in real-time.

CNBC’s Awaaz Entrepreneur. This Indian television series focuses on small and medium enterprises with the intention of aiding and educating budding entrepreneurs within the country. For those who want to learn a thing or two, Awaaz Entrepreneur helps young individuals understand the nuances associated with building and starting up business ventures. The idea behind the show is to help support emerging businesses within India to help make them successful since small and medium businesses are the driving force of the Indian economy. The series showcases the journey that small and medium enterprises must take to transform into larger businesses and it resolves common business-related queries through guest experts on the show.

Apple’s Planet of the Apps. Another American reality TV created and broadcasted by Apple Music provides developers with a chance to pitch their ideas to a team of successful entrepreneurs. If the entrepreneurs like the idea being pitched, they will mentor the app developers through the creation process, provide funding, and help with scaling the application up. Successful entrepreneurs include Gary Vaynerchuk from VaynerMedia, Will.i.am who is a multi-faceted entertainer, Jessica Alba an American actress and businesswoman, and Gwyneth Paltrow who is also an American actress and businesswoman. Those who participate in the show can learn a lot about industry knowledge from the best.

CNBC’s Billion Dollar Buyer. This American reality TV show introduces promising small business owners to Tilman Fertitta, one of America’s most successful businessmen. Tilman Fertitta is the CEO, owner, and sole shareholder of Landry’s INC, a multi-brand dining hospitality, entertainment, and gaming corporation that operates across thirty-five states. Throughout each sixty-minute episode, Fertitta spends time with two small businesses, shares his expertise with them on how to push improvements out for their products, and then decides whether to place an order with one, both, or neither of them. With the purchasing power of two billion dollars, not only can Fertitta transform the small business owners’ companies but their lives as well.

CNBC’s Follow The Leader. Each thirty-minute episode has the best-selling author, Farnoosh Torabi, spending forty-eight hours with superstar entrepreneurs in a bid to find out what makes these individuals so successful. Those who are watching from the television screen will get to see unique business philosophies, learn about new methods and practices that brought these individuals to success, and find out what talents they were able to use to reach business success. You will get to see the likes of Tracy Anderson (Tracy Anderson Method), Katia Beauchamp (Birchbox), and Gary Vaynerchuck (Co-founder of VaynerMedia).

Regardless of whether you are just starting the process of your business, are in the midst of expanding what you have built, or are already quite successful, taking some time to relax, recharge, and find inspiration is not only good for one’s soul but it can provide you with unexpected inspiration. So rather than feeling guilty for not hustling and grinding, consider watching the above shows and get a look at how the business world works behind-the-scenes.

What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur may be different for everyone, but the new methods and strategies you can learn from these television shows may enable you to grow and build your business beyond what you ever thought capable.

*Images are copyrights of respective shows. Happy to remove in case of objection.

Random Act of Kindness

Your character defines your future. I am strong believer of Random Act of Kindness & Keep searching for smaller opportunities.

Here are few of Random Acts of Kindness which anyone can do at any time.

Pay Toll of your fellow driver
Collect Courier for Neighbor
Give Chocolate to colleague without any reason.
Give a Birthday Call to your facebook friend
Call on Natural calamities
Have a Tea with Watchman
Buy a bus ticket for school or college boy
Give Away Window Seat to new flyers
Show a direction to stranger
Give a Way to person who is in hurry
Help Old age people at Bank
Thank Traffic Police
Send Thank You Note to your boss.
Bring Water for your lunch mates
Give Blanket to Homeless People

Do you have your own list ?

Business Lessons from Game of Thrones

Are you in the “Game of Business”?

– Business Tactics to Learn From Game of Thrones

You might have already come by numerous posts, fan theories and spoilers on Game of Thrones. For the series’s fans out of there, it is obvious for your social account feeds to be flooded with posts, memes, articles on the show. Unlike other series where the most honorable and noble leading figure tends to win, GoT has a much more realistic approach to determining the victor in a scenario.

The reasons why this show has become so popular is because of various strategic approach by each character. Below I have tried to break down the strategies and how they can be applied in modern business.

Pay your debts.

 

“A Lannister always pays his debts.”

-House Lannister

The phrase that pops up, referring to the richest kingdom’s credo is “a Lannister always pays his debts”. There will be times, when you will need help.The most obvious ones are financial, but it can also be something as small as introduction to an important person. Be it a favour from a partner or a loan from a bank, it’s important that you pay back your debts as soon as possible

Kill with kindness

“The occasional kindness will spare you all sorts of trouble down the road.”

-Cersei Lannister

Certainly, The scenes in HBO series are violent and highly graphical. In between there are times of sacrifice and kindness. Showing kindness to business partner or customer/employee might seem unnecessary, but it will pay long-term dividends. “The occasional kindness will spare you all sorts of trouble down the road”-Cersei Lannister to his son-Joffrey

Let your competitors destroy themselves.

“Your enemies hate each other as much as they hate you.”

-Tyrion Lannister

Letting your “combatants” fight each other through marketing campaigns gives you a chance to build up your own storehouse, and attract more customers. As Tyrion Lannister-The dwarf-prince says,”your enemies hate each other as much as they hate you.

 

Unity builds power.

“Choose people that are passionate and focused on a singular goal–your goal,”

-Robert Baratheon

A united team is always more powerful than a group of individuals working independently. The King of Seven Kingdoms – Robert Baratheon, once explained how power of an army can work. He held up one finger, and then held up five fingers; asing the queen which number is greater. She guessed it wrong – Power comes in one unified approach

Don’t be afraid of failure

“Every flight begins with a fall.”

Everybody gets knocked down but it’s how each of us react to that failure or blow that determines the outcome, Like Three-eyed raven and Arya. Fall down. Get back up. This is the only way to make it in the business world.

Know who to Trust

“You don’t need to make formal alliances with people you trust.”

Knowing who to trust is critical, especially when a company first launches. Eddard Stark chooses to trust Littlefinger and gets his head chopped off for his efforts. If he had trusted Renly instead, things would have turned out differently.

Sound a little dramatic? Sure–but a good lesson for anyone trying to build a company.

It’s about the Journey

“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

-Petyr Baelish

Petyr Baelish – One of the most cunning characters of GOT, keeps most of his wishes to himself. However, with this rare advice, we see real motivation of his character. When there is chaos, he is always looking for how he can advance himself.

So if you’re a Game of Thrones fan I hope you enjoyed this blog and I hope you’re enjoying the latest series as I certainly am! I have a question for you now……

Which character in Game of Thrones would make the best sales person in your opinion? Add it into the comments box below and let’s see who would be King or Queen in the Game of Business!

Optimus-Prime-Transformers

5 Leadership Lessons From: Transformers’ Optimus Prime

Movies are not only meant to be a source of entertainment. Few movies leave an impact over the course of your life. Over the years I have watched a lot of Transformers movies and they have taught some valuable leadership skills from doing so. While it sounds a little strange Optimus really was the first leader I studied under.

Here are 5 leadership lessons I have learned from Optimus Prime.

1. Be Humble

Optimus have been honoured as ‘Prime’ but he did not start that way. His original name was Orion Pax. Orion has been described as a; librarian, warehouse worker, data clerk, and dock worker. His previous job has changed the story of a well spoken, humble and wise person rising to power never has. Very few of us are born into leadership, keeping humility parallel. Remembering where you come from will help to keep us grounded no matter how high we rise.

“Optimus Prime is constantly trying to make sure his followers are OK, and that human beings aren’t harmed in the fights between robots,” Spain notes.

This taught me – compassion and integrity are vital traits of a leader.

2. Admit It

Optimus Prime knows that he can not directly handle every key project in his group and as such, he knows he must delegate some things to his team members. He gives the authority and the power to accomplish a given task and trust them to know what they need to do and how it must be done. The micromanagement is highly avoided here for betterment of the team members. He doesn’t baby sit them.

3. Ethics

One of the makes Optimus Prime stand out from his peers, is his commitment to his values. Optimus uses his values to guide his decision making. Moreover, he stands by that decision. As a leader, people need to know what your ethics are and the manner with which you plan to follow them.

4. Collaboration is the key

There talent of the Autobot team is abundant and Optimus Prime has the ability to see each team member’s strength and talent. He has the knack to collaborate with the strength and talent of each team member. From the weapon expertise of Ironhide or the healing skills of Ratchet, Optimus Prime uses those benefit the team. Optimus Prime employs each of those skills to get the most productivity as efficiently as possible.

The Lesson Here: You have to know how to identify each team member’s talent and learn how to capitalize on those. You should bring out the best in each member, and find a way to use the strength each member has to offer.

5. Teamwork

Optimus has many formal and informal advisors. Some were soldiers like Ironhide and Ultra Magnus, some were scientists like Perceptor and Ratchet, and some were human like Spike and Sparkplug. Whenever decisions had to be made Optimus collected the viewpoints of a diverse group of trusted advisors. I know I make better decisions when I check with a number of people who see the issue at hand differently.

Many movies has inspired me to become a better leader and Transformers, the last knight is no exception. This movie has taught me a prime lesson ‘To let your leadership qualities shine, you must be able to identify and capitalize on the talents that each team member possesses.’

letsnurture-team

Why it is wise enough to have multilingual and culturally diverse team?

People speaking different languages have different minds. When you put a bunch of these malleable minds together in a company, you are actually creating the potential for some truly original thinking.

“The productivity of the company lies in the diversity of its team”

There is a business thrive round the world on the basis of the diversity of ideas that are created by a multi-cultural workforce. Multicultural awareness is one of the most essential soft skill for any company. It definitely goes beyond office culture to the economic benefits. According to a recent survey by the Economist, two-thirds of 572 international company executives say that their team’s multicultural nature have contributed in increasing their organization’s innovation.

The Benefits of Multilingualism and Cultural Diversity

The language that any team speaks would be as significant as their cultural offerings. It has been scientifically noted that the structure of a language that we speaks influences the way we see the world around us. Meaning, people from different language/cultural backgrounds think, behave, and communicate in different and unique ways.

Observations of multi-language work teams show that mixed-language groups have a propensity to find innovative solutions for practical problems arising in any business. This is because they use a range of communication strategies in flexible and dynamic ways. When speakers from different language backgrounds work together using a common language, they draw on subconscious concepts that lie below the surface of the language they happen to be conversing in. Using different languages in collaboration may lead to new connections being made, especially when dealing with complex tasks.

Multilingual and multicultural employees in a team is like having different cognitive tools in your took kit. This could be one the most influential reasons for any company to invest in a diverse talent/lingual/cultural pool. So, along with a range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds of the people, the more number of languages in a team helps in improving the company’s culture and the productivity. This in turn helps the team to come out with the greater potential propensity to think up original solutions that can be drawn from all of their cultures. The company’s intellectual capital thereby will  grow at the faster pace than ever before.

How LetsNurture fosters diversity?

A recent study has reported the total number of 1.5 billion english speaking people. It covers around 5.52% of the world population. 4.46% of the total world population speaks Hindi, and 5.85% of the world population are spanish speakers. French speaking people covers 1.12% of the world population.

LetsNurture has always adapted everything that could help in the growth of company. The diverse team is one such example. Our divergent team includes Andersson, Omid, Tyler and Bryce. LetsNurture team has the lingual and cultural knowledge of English, Hindi, Spanish (Latin) or French, that covers most of the nations round the world.

So, along with the technical knowledge in the majorly evolving fields like IoT, AR, VR, Mobile application and website development; LetsNurture is wise enough to invest in multi-lingual and culturally diverse team. We will be happy to be your best partner for Offshore Development. Do email us at info@letsnurture.com for further queries.

“The greater the diversity in your set, the more you can accomplish.”

Justin Trudeau

4 Leadership lessons to adapt from Justin Trudeau

The success of Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, isn’t a not-known fact anymore. He is talked the most for his generosity, positivity and leadership. He is no longer termed as ‘privileged and naïve’. I have a great respect for this guy and have studied a lot of qualities from him. One of those qualities that inspires me is his persuasion towards a redefining leadership.

There are four leadership values of him that drives me to be a better person.

Diversity is opportunity and strength

Diversity is the engine of invention. It generates creativity that enriches the world. – Justin Trudeau.

He brought a fresh approach to the political landscape with his charismatic style and an approach to leadership that is respectful and collaborative. Many politicians talk about diversity while Trudeau made his first decision to embrace diversity and took an action on this.

His cabinet is the best example of his views on diversity as a strength. He viewed it as a potential strategy to strengthen the potentials. His cabinet has half men, half women, gay person, a blind person, and few members who are non-canadian by birth. He states that “I like to be surrounded by brilliant people”. This statement of his proves that intelligence isn’t measured by race, gender or sexual orientation.

I believe diversity within your team opens a door of opportunities for you. Not just with a business perspective but also in terms of self development, it truly helps a lot. Diversity helps in understanding different perspectives of singular thing and is beneficial for an individual growth.

Emotional Intelligence is an asset

Definitely Trudeau is a man of good proposition of IQ, but that’s not the only quotient that made him a good leader. What matters to the people is his emotional intelligence or EQ. Justin consistently conferred a message of hope.  Inspiring hope is a critical message for leaders and leadership, not simply because it is easy, but it evolves where there are changes in the environment and the difficulties experienced.

Justin has an exceedingly high EQ, which is driving much of his success. With his acts of kindness, he keeps on proving that people need to know that their leader cares for them and only then, a true meaning of leadership is achieved.

A leader isn’t someone who needs followers. A leader is a person who inculcates leadership in his audience. And this can only be possible if the person is able to understand the others. This demands a high level of EQ as it isn’t as easy as it seems. This develops a problem solving skills in an individual which leads to a better reign of productivity.

Focus towards positivity

Trudeau’s campaigning and governing is marked by an incredibly positive tone. He not only welcomed refugees but also went to the airport to welcome Canada’s first Syrian refugees. Where others saw potential problems and concerns, Justin led through a lens of seeing what is possible.

As a leader, he understood the need to foster and cultivate the ability to focus. Where the others talked about problems, Justin thrived towards solving them. He pursued those problems as opportunity for the betterment.

A keen focus towards positivity ensures that you are well aware of the problems and they no longer seem to bother you. It guides you to be prepared of the upcoming hurdles long before they even arrive. Focusing towards positivity ensures you the constructive strategies to stay ahead and face the obstacles.

Humility is the key to lead

Humbleness and politics, I know this sounds contradictory. But Justin has made this combination go well to work with. Justin stated in an interview with CNN that he would let the world adapt his approach in Canada.

Humility-is-the-key-to-lead
Humility is the key to lead

Justin listens to his people. He understands that listening is absolutely critical to leadership. It is an essential skill for him as a leader to create the trust with his team and citizens. He listens to his people in order to guide them in a right way with a clear vision.

If we do a good job in trusting and listening to the people and being humble to them, we would not require to ask them to follow us. They will be obliged to do so. By being humble and by listening to your team, you ensure them with your trust and support. This is a key element towards team building.

Learning always leads to growth

Being a leader doesn’t mean you have all the knowledge of the world. It means you share all the knowledge you have with the people and lead them towards positivity and growth. I thrive to become better day by day and all it takes is a little effort.