The Ramblings
of a Serial

A Flawless Five-Month Failure

I spent five months making the perfect product
I was convinced I had a winner
nobody bought it
here’s why

My marketing agency had increased prices by 4x in two years. This was good.

But we had a $1.5M pipeline of leads who would have bought at our old prices. With nothing to sell them.

So of course, entrepreneurial ADD kicks in, and I need to create something. Launchpad was born to get these (now too small) clients to where they could afford our new retainers.

It needed to be SO good that in 6 months of being in Launchpad the ROI would be enough to pay for our core marketing program. I’d create a whole new pipeline of leads.

Entrepreneurs do this all the time, whether it’s new a whole new brand, a new initiative, a new marketing campaign. We get an idea, and start building the thing.

And that’s why nobody bought Launchpad. My five months of work, it being an absolutely amazing product, those didn’t mean anything.

I hadn’t validated:

  • Did the market want it?
  • If they wanted it, would they buy it?
  • If they bought it, would they get the results I thought they could?
  • If they got the results, would they convert into higher-end clients?

It turns out, just like 10 year old boys and ninja swords, little clients weren’t interested in age-appropriate toys. They want all the strategy, hand-holding, and done-for-them work of a full service engagement.

They just aren’t willing to pay. Which is why small and shitty clients stay small and shitty (a rant for a different day).

The real point is that I hadn’t used Scientific Entrepreneurship to validate my hypothesis before investing significantly in making the thing.

How should I have done it?

  • Find a small test that validates the earliest link in the chain
  • Run that test
  • Adjust hypothesis
  • Test again

I could have gotten on the phone with 20 prospects and talked with them about if they wanted Launchpad and in a few hours, saved myself five months.

The easy thing to do is build it thinking you’re right. Because as entrepreneurs we’re awash in the excitement of possibility. But when we do build it, they probably won’t come.

Our ENEMY is uncertainty. We think that planning down to the last detail will eliminate uncertainty.

But we forget: No plan survives contact with the enemy.

So whether you’re launching a campaign, product, or company – do not build first.

Test. Iterate. Then build, but just a little.

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