We all love success stories, especially if they’re about us and our business. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a new product launch take off like gangbusters after you’ve put considerable time into developing the idea and preparing the marketing blitz.
But I don’t care who you are or how successful you are. Not every new product is going to be a home run. Reggie Jackson was a five-time World Series champion and a 14-time All-Star who hit 563 home runs, but he also struck out more often than any player in Major League history. Every once in a while, you’re going to swing and miss with a new product.
So, the issue is not whether you’re going to have a new product that fails to live up to expectations, but rather how you respond to the situation.
There are two schools of thought on this. One is, “Hey, I believe in this new product and I’m going back to square one to figure out why it didn’t work and then spend whatever time is necessary to rectify the problem.” The other is, “Hey, I believe in this new product, but I don’t want to throw good money after bad. I’m going to cut my losses and move on to something else.”
Now, there are plenty of variables that will influence this decision. They include just how close you feel the product came to meeting your goals, how confident you are that you understand exactly what went wrong and how much time it would require to give it another shot. So, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of a new product dud.
However, if you’re not certain why your product fell short of your goals and you believe it will take a significant amount of time and energy to re-launch it, I recommend cutting bait and shifting your focus to a different product. There is too great of a chance you misjudged your product or your marketing or your customers, and you could very well end up wasting time and resources trying to make it work.
In most cases, you would be much better off re-focusing your attention on another new product. Sometimes we have to admit that we were wrong, all the while determining that the next product will be different.
Now, this is not to say you should forget about the product that failed to get off the ground. If you felt passionately about it, there’s probably a market for it. But perhaps not in its current form and not necessarily right now. File it away because you never know when circumstances might change which will make that product offering a better fit…and the home run you thought it would be from the start.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.