There are five elements to the Launch Sequence, but you can’t get started without the first and crucial step: Understand.

Related: The 5 Elements to the Launch Sequence

Our Launch Sequence was derived from “design thinking”.  Design thinking is a proven protocol that can be used to take an idea, product, project or business from concept to launch.

Here’s the big idea:

The best products or businesses are born out of extreme empathy for the end-user or customer.

In other words, you will only be successful to the degree that you really understand the needs, problems, opportunities or challenges that your perspective customers are facing.  Even though you may believe that you have an incredible idea or product, and may be chomping at the bit to get out in the marketplace and prove it, you need to slow down to really study your customer in depth.

One of my favorite examples comes from Intuit, the makers of Quicken. Quicken helps you develop a budget, manage your money and generate reports to track progress.  When the tool was being developed, the company sent software engineers to customer’s homes to sit down and observe as the product was being used.  How long was a typical Quicken session?  Were customers anxious when they used the tool?  What features were most helpful?  What needs were still going unmet?  Quicken became a hit because Intuit understood their customer at a different level.

To prepare for your Launch, what can you do to understand your customer?

  • Can you gain access to watch them in their “natural habitat”?
  • Can you interview them to learn more about their challenges or frustrations?
  • Can you ask them what feature would be a game-changer?
  • Can you read between the lines to sense needs they don’t even know how to articulate yet?

Your product or idea will only be successful if you fully understand what problem you’re solving and why you’re solving it.

Next: Read about the second step in the Launch Sequence.