How to plan for success

How to plan for success
Anne Beth Jordan

Posted: Wed 5th Apr 2023

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." — Sun Tzu, Chinese philosopher and military strategist.

The back story

I have just launched my first novel, a self-published memoir. Yes, it can work very well, as getting a publisher can be a lengthy process.

I’m excited. I never dreamed that I would be a published author. My first novel, set in Cuba, covers many issues of human frailty and the delights and joy of travelling around one of the largest Caribbean islands.

I’ve been posting over three platforms on social media, for about four months, mindful of the best times to post, planning, scheduling, building my tribe, and engaging, all the while preparing and planning how to get my book out into the public domain.

It’s a lengthy process from the moment I put the last ‘full stop’ to the next stage of getting it ‘out there’ and selling it.

Editing, proofreading, typesetting, designing the book cover, printing. Did I get the sequence right? Setting my launch date, have I given myself enough time? I became overwhelmed.

I thought I had planned well, and created a timeline. I discovered that one of the most important elements I’d only done half well. The advance planning and marketing.

For someone who has been in marketing all her business life, I realised I had misjudged so much, and if I had planned better, I know I would have got better results. The result is the selling of more of my book. which was part of the pre-launch plan.

So, why am I telling you this?

My biggest ‘aha’ moment was when I came closer to the date of the launch. I had printed and planned to sell ‘X’ amount of copies before the launch, to give my readers time to read and review. I found that I had misjudged my time scales, panicked, and became just a tad overwhelmed.

I meet many businesspeople and owners who suffer overwhelm from not getting the results they most want and are tired and lose focus.

What could I do differently to launch my next book?

I would plan my launch at least nine months in advance and build my tribe ready to buy my book. For the first one, I had given myself only seven weeks pre-launch.

It really doesn’t matter what you are launching. If it is not done with due care, thought, forward-thinking and planning, you are only going to get a half-decent outcome on your road to success.

Five key steps to planning the launch of a product or business

1) Set a timescale

While setting your timescale, be realistic. You are a human being and need to take care of yourself while being brilliant and working towards your target date.

Create a timeline for the whole of your launch with all the important components involved. You will know what they are. Your timeline is not static and can be adjusted along the way, but be constantly aware of your end date.

I fell short on mine.

Work out all the steps required, and try to foresee. Look into your personal crystal ball. Include in that the support you need, who will and can help you; tangibles required to get you to your end timescale.

2) What's your offer?

  • How does your offer measure up to others in the marketplace?

  • Is it a niche product?

  • What’s its USP? How desirable is it?

  • Is there a strong market requirement and does it have a shelf life?

  • Have you created a mission and vision for what you are offering, not just for the product, but for you yourself?

  • How will you get others to love what you are offering and want to be a part of it?

3) Get to know your market, and get to know where your audience socialises

When I wrote my book, I had a very clear idea of the genre. This would allow me to know exactly where my niche was and therefore what groups of people would be attracted to my story, helping me to identify my ‘tribe’, my ‘audience’.

  • Know and recognise your market.

  • Begin to interact with your market, make friends, engage with them, and hear their stories and needs.

  • The people closest to you and their friends can be your first and best customers if you are just starting out.

  • Prepare your audience to be receptive to buying your product when you pre-launch and launch. Get them ready and hungry to want what you are offering.

  • If you have decided to launch your product ‘X’ months from the launch date, you need to start gathering your audience together ‘X’ months before.

It takes time for people to ‘listen’ and ‘hear’ what it is you are offering.

4) We know social media can help

If you post on social media, your groups could be inundated with posts from other people and may MISS your posts and only see them a week, two weeks after being posted. So, plan to ensure that your audience does not miss your messages.

  • Make them loud and clear but don’t overload them. There is a fine line to this.

  • If you are confident about social media that is great, if not, get help. Find an expert to help you; you may need to spend a little bit of money – it’s worth it.

  • Take the load off your shoulders and ask for help.

  • Choose a social media platform that works best for you, my advice is don’t overload yourself with too much at the beginning.

  • Be creative in finding new and unusual markets. Be a visionary, go beyond where you think you can go. Go local instead of too far away.

I decided to approach all the libraries in my area, which covered about 80 miles or more, to do book readings and signings. The libraries also bought books for their clients.

Build strong relationships and loyalty with your audience. Offer them a little something they can’t resist and will remember you.

5) Money, and how much

  • How much is it going to cost to get your product/service to market?

  • If you fall short, will you have a resource to help you?

  • Draw up a budget and cash flow, if you don’t know how, seek help. The internet has lots of great tips and templates.

  • Price your product to reflect its true value and worth and be mindful of market sensitivity.

Connect with Beth on Enterprise Nation today.

Anne Beth Jordan

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