How to navigate the fear of launching a new product

November 29, 2023

By Laura Crossan, Marketing Coordinator

Shipping and launching new features can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience. You've put in countless hours of hard work, creativity, and resources into developing your product, and the pressure to deliver a flawless experience to your customers can feel overwhelming. However, it's important to remember that fear is a natural part of the process, and it's something that many founders and product teams experience.‍

But before we proceed, we want to stop right here to let you know that the mere prospect of trying something new is nothing short of a superpower. Not all companies have the ability to do this, so if you are a small business or startup, you are about to break new ground – and that is a pretty awesome thing. But that often comes with unexpected judgment and criticism from not only your customers, but also your peers. Don’t let this weigh you down or hold you back. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t fear failure (or the meaning of failure)…. It is what drives you forward and makes you stronger.

But what if there are bugs? 

One common reason why entrepreneurs and small businesses may lose confidence in their ability to ship and launch features is the fear of the unknown. What if there are errors or bugs in the code that may cause the tool to malfunction with a large number of users? What if the product doesn't perform as expected, or worse, blows up with unexpected issues? These uncertainties can lead to doubt and hesitation, making it difficult to take the next steps in launching new features.

Another factor that can erode confidence is the pressure to meet deadlines and deliver a perfect product. As a founder or product team, you may feel the weight of high expectations from customers, investors, and stakeholders. The fear of falling short of these expectations can create anxiety and self-doubt, leading to a loss of confidence in your own abilities or those of your engineering team.

Regain your confidence

Despite the fear and uncertainty, it's important to remember that you are on the right path. Shipping and launching new features are crucial steps in the product development process, and they signify progress and growth for your business. It's normal to feel nervous or hesitant, but it's important not to let fear hold you back from taking the next steps.

Here are some tips for navigating the crossroads and regaining confidence in shipping and launching new features:

  1. Set realistic expectations and goals. It's important to set realistic expectations with your customers, internal teams (product, design, engineering, etc.), investors, and stakeholders. Be transparent and define launch objectives, goals, and KPIs. If you are aware of the potential risks and challenges of launching new features and communicate any known limitations or issues, you will expect less surprises because everyone on the team is aligned. Setting realistic expectations will help manage the pressure and reduce the fear of falling short of expectations. Remember, the goal is not perfection, but providing value to your customer.
  2. Test your product thoroughly and move quickly.  Prior to launching new features, invest time and resources into thorough testing. Conduct rigorous quality assurance (QA) testing to identify and fix any bugs or issues. Utilize your product with different scenarios and user cases to ensure that it performs as expected. Testing will help you uncover any potential issues and give you greater confidence in the stability and performance of your product. If a bug or issue is found post-launch, move quickly to resolve it. Keen attention to a customer’s needs can go a long way in winning a new customer.
  3. Trust your engineering team. If you've hired a capable and experienced engineering team, trust in their skills and expertise. Have open and transparent communication with them, express your concerns, and work together to identify potential risks and solutions. Remember that your engineering team is there to support you and help you achieve your product goals. If you are doubting your team, maybe it’s time to find a new one.
  4. Start small and Iterate often. Instead of trying to launch a complex product with all the bells and whistles at once, consider starting small and iterating. Launch a minimum viable product (MVP) with the essential features and gradually add more features based on user feedback and market demand. This approach allows you to mitigate risks, gather feedback, and make improvements incrementally, reducing the fear of launching a massive, error-prone product.
  5. Never stop learning. Mistakes are inevitable in the productive development process, and they can sometimes be valuable learning opportunities. If you encounter issues or errors after launching a feature, don't be afraid to acknowledge them, take responsibility, and learn from them. Use these experiences to make improvements and prevent similar issues in the future.

Prepare for launch

When it comes to informing customers about a new launch, communication is key. Be vocal and enthusiastic about your upcoming launch and prepare for customer sentiment. Consider your target audience and what they may be interested in or concerned about. Take time to research their needs, pain points, and preferences, and tailor your messaging accordingly. Address common questions or objections upfront to increase transparency and trust. This can include sharing information about the features, benefits, pricing, and availability of your new launch.

To increase the initial impact of your release, consider building excitement through teasers, sneak peeks, and early access opportunities. Use multiple channels to communicate your message, such as social media, email marketing, and targeted advertising. Finally, remember to listen to customer feedback and incorporate it into your launch strategy to ensure a successful release.

Embrace the journey ahead

Fear and uncertainty are common when it comes to shipping and launching new features. However, by trusting your engineering team, thorough testing, setting realistic expectations, starting small and iterating, and learning from mistakes, you can navigate the fear and regain confidence in your ability to deliver a successful product.

Mistakes are a part of the learning process, and taking calculated risks is necessary for growth. Embrace the challenges, be fully transparent and always keep the lines of communication open with your customers. With the right mindset and approach, you can overcome the fear of shipping and launching new features and achieve success in your product development journey. Don’t let fear hold you back from realizing the full potential of your product.

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At Vault Innovation Group, we’re more than just another custom software development company — we’re a partner in your success. We specialize in helping companies ideate, build, and develop technology solutions across multiple industries. For over a decade, we’ve solved design challenges, shipped purpose-driven products and software, and have successfully helped launch more than 60 tech companies. With a proven track record of results, VAULT uses technology to grow your business according to your specific goals. 

Expand your technology with confidence. Connect with our team today to schedule a no-obligation discovery session.

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