By Owen Mead-Robins, Oprius Software
Becky asked me if I would write an article about Oprius’ recent launch. I decided to concentrate on 3 of the biggest aspects of the launch.
Probably the biggest lesson learned revolved around a decision about our booth. We are serving the Network Marketing industry, and typically vendors are pretty low key. A folding table will be setup with a drop cloth, pamphlets on top, and a few samples for people to take; something you would find at a bake sale. So do we follow the crowd or risk looking a bit ostentatious? We decided to go for it and spent the money to get a proper trade show both made up with custom graphics, lights, and a podium showing off our great software. The result was that we stood far above the other vendors and had the biggest crowds of interested people. The three of us at the booth were smiling and really friendly, so all thoughts of being ostentatious quickly vanished. Going for the gusto on the booth was one of the best decisions we could have made.
The software was functionally complete (meaning it did everything we promised) a couple weeks before the launch. In those two weeks a huge amount of time was put into little graphic, usability, and other tweaks. Honestly it was a bit overwhelming. Everyone here wanted a really polished piece of work. I personally was working 14+ hour days through it, and for the last 32 hours didn’t even sleep to get everything done. Perhaps we didn’t plan well enough, or did something else wrong. Perhaps we did everything we could have and this is a heads up to someone launching a new product. Having an exceptionally supportive girlfriend was a huge blessing through that time. In reading Founders At Work (which I would very much recommend) it seems to be the norm. So if you are thinking about launching a product soon, be prepared for the crunch time.
Oprius is located in Victoria BC, Canada and the conference was in Newport CA, USA. We decide instead of flying that we would drive the 2,000km on a road trip. So we packed everything up and headed out. We saved a bunch of money on airfare and had a great trip. Driving hard we made up time to spend at the beach and explore LA a little bit. I am a firm believer that you need to enjoy your work, and this was a great way to act on that belief, and bond with some of the people I work with. Again, we didn’t do the typical approach and it paid off in a big way.
There was a lot more leading up to, and at the launch, but in keeping this article under a page I will leave it there. Thank you Becky for your encouraging words through all of this!
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.