Do you have a product launch coming up? Perhaps you are looking to upgrade or enhance a product or service that is outdated. Or maybe you are simply looking to refresh something that is already going well. Either way, your business needs a strategy to mitigate the risk associated with a product launch.

Let’s walk through a few ideas for how to do your next product launch. Consider this checklist for your business.

  1. Consider your current customer.

Do you know who your current customer is? If not, now might be a good time to get to know them and make sure all of their needs are being met. If not, perhaps this is a good place for an enhancement. Gather this data and create a plan for how to deliver this new product or service in a way that meets their needs.

  1. Know your why.

A positioning statement is important, as it informs all that follows. While your positioning statement can vary, you will likely want to consider a number of different factors including: the target audience for the product, the brand name, the product category, and how it is different than competitors. It might be important to also consider proof points.

  1. Present your product and positioning statement.

Before you proceed, make sure your product and positioning statement sit well with your target customer, employees, investors, and other stakeholders. Here’s how to do this. Include at least 20 or more of each group to get feedback. If the majority from each group like the new product position, then proceed. If not, consider the feedback provided and make tweaks.

  1. Get ready! Plan your go to market!

Go-to-market strategies vary depending on the business model, but many have similar components. Most need to build awareness, offer incentives, and do ongoing promotions. Your plan for going to market will inform what happens next with the product launch.

  1. Be SMART with your goals.

SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) goals will be key to ensuring success at the launch and as the launch unfolds. It will be a good way to track progress, alongside the P&L (profit and loss) statement metrics.

While anyone in a company can propose these SMART goals, it should have buy-in from the top (the executive team), as well as functional leaders. Ensure everyone on the team knows who is responsible for what and when it is due so the goals can be easily tracked.

  1. Launch!

When everything is in order and planned, set your launch date. Consider the date based on logistics and operations. Prepare your team to handle the influx of customer service that will inevitably follow. Consider bonuses for employees who go above and beyond during the launch. Also, make sure to prepare your marketing and PR for the launch.

  1. Pivot, if needed.

In the early days of the launch, make sure to assess and adjust the strategy, if needed. Determine if you are meeting your goals. Talk as a team and share progress each month. Determine if new steps or actions need to be taken in order to meet the goals. Make sure this is based on feedback from stakeholders. They can give valuable insights into what is working—and what is not.

  1. Discuss successes—and failures.

Make sure you take some time to talk about the lessons learned during the product launch. Make sure to identify both the successes and the opportunities for improvement. This will require looking at the results, asking hard question, and getting to the bottom of any challenges that exist. This data will be critical for the next launch and will ultimately serve your customers and employees better in the future.

  1. Celebrate.

Every product launch has milestones and major accomplishments that deserve to be celebrated. Team members work hard to get something off the ground and deserve to be recognized. Consider how to applaud your employees and to build a sense of community in your company. That just might help lead to the next successful product launch.