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Solvers talk: Launching a product during the pandemic

Launching a product during a pandemic is a challenge – but a worthwhile one. The global consumer shifts also created big business opportunities. How has the pandemic impacted the business environment? How has it changed the way we innovate and launch? And what is the formula to a successful launch plan?

Today we are speaking with Tina Janeva, a Business Development Specialist and Product Launch Expert, and Solver at Solveo, to unveil her ways of adapting to the new normal, while helping businesses build and launch new products during the pandemic.

1. The corona global pandemic changed most aspects of life in 2020. How did it impact business development efforts and startup activities?

The pandemic changed most aspects of life and work and subsequently created a lot of new business opportunities. Human needs are always evolving, but events like the pandemic are a catalyst for rapid change. Many entrepreneurs naturally saw this as an opportunity to capitalize and build something new. At the same time, already developed companies faced big losses and needed to innovate to stay afloat. They released new products and services, adopted their offering, changed the way their workforce functions, and created new communication pathways with the customers. It’s really interesting to see how much innovation is currently happening all around and its impact on the life of the consumer.

2. Has the ways we launch products and businesses changed as well?

Launching is always about speed, but especially now, it is crucial. If you think about it now more than ever, everyone around the world is going for the same piece of the pie. It’s a race. However, the goal isn’t just to release the product as fast as possible, but to build buzz even before you’ve launched. It’s a lot of work. That’s why a lot of entrepreneurs enlist the help of innovation agencies like Solveo. That way they can focus on making the products as best as possible, while we help them build buzz, gather feedback, and get maximum impact at launch.

3. Talk us through the steps of developing a launch plan. Is it a one-fits-all formula or it changes depending on the project scope?

I guess it’s both. Every launch plan includes the often forgotten prelaunch, launch and post-launch phases. There is a lot of preparation that goes into all of them and it’s key you plan them ahead of time. Things can also change during any of the stages and you will need to make last-minute alterations. Feedback from early access subscribers, beta users and test subjects is priceless.
If you are aiming to launch a business successfully, you have to keep your real potential customers at the forefront of your mind. I guess that is also what makes up for the biggest differences from project to project. Every industry is different and the channels through which you can reach potential customers also change depending on that. Even if it’s the same customer in question, the way you approach him to try an app and the way you approach him to try a new soda are different. Finding the right channels, and the best approach are the biggest keys to a successful launch.

4. How has that process changed during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, the digital environment became our window to the world. Suddenly, more people could be reached through digital channels than ever before. When planning a product launch during the pandemic, digital channels are a must 

5. What project are you currently working on? Anything we can look forward to?

Currently, I’m primarily involved in 2 major projects. One is developing Claxi, a local delivery market place, and the other is launching Kelp, a no-code interactive data app development platform. Both are unique and exciting, so I guess it depends where you are and what you are into.

6. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in launching a new product or business?

That’s a challenging question to answer. I think it really depends on the project. Sometimes it’s really difficult to get the first users, but it’s important to remain persistent and continue tweaking the approach. Other times, the biggest challenge is discovering you have to change the whole product/service to fit the customer’s needs. What’s important is to welcome all feedback and make changes on the fly until you find what works best. And even then you’ll have to continue tweaking it so it won’t get stale. It’s a process and a lot of work, but the end goal makes it all worth it.

7. What tools do you use to plan and coordinate a launch?

I feel we are all very lucky that the pandemic struck at a time where Zoom, Slack, Clickup and Miro are accessible. Imagine this happening 20 years ago when all we had was email, or even prior to the internet. Every launch requires a lot of collaboration and I can’t imagine doing what we do without these tools. Miro and Clickup are especially great because they help you visualize and plan out everything.

8. What are you looking forward to in 2021?

I think we all focused on hustling in 2020 and some of the amazing projects people were working on are still in the development stage. I’m excited to see them see the light of day, as well as the launch of the project we are working on. I’m also excited for the coming decade. I think we are about to enter a new age of innovation and prosperity, kind of like the Roaring Twenties that came after the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. I think the changes we’ve faced will result in a socio-economic boom in the coming decade. And I’m excited to witness it, and be a part of it.

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