Don't Get Caught up in the Influencer Bubble!
And more advice from Max Ringelheim, cofounder of 2015's viral Hoverboard fad via his former massively popular brand PhunkeeDuck. Max shares some key lessons learned and insights about launching the Hoverboard product in 2015 that will allow readers to avoid mistakes. Max is a sales and marketing consultant and founded an emerging media company called "When Going Viral," consisting of a blog, podcast, public speaking workshop, and soon-to-be book designed to educate the business community on the positives and negatives associated with going viral.
1. Don't let influencers cast a mirage over your business
If you work with major influencers, make sure you don't have a mirage in your mind around the relationship. Ultimately, these types of larger influencers may give you significant, additional coverage for your brand via the press. All of a sudden, you have news outlets and media reaching out to you. You may have this idea in your head that everything is smooth sailing, and you may not be mindful of some of the critical components needing extra resources to continue to sustain the virality. For instance, having adequate customer service resources in place when your business is going viral is critical, and if you don't have this in place, you could shoot yourself in the foot. It is very possible that other portions of your business could be suffering when this influencer mirage is cast over your business. You don't see it because everything seems fantastic on the surface.
2.Don't overlook fraud protection for your startup!
For a new business or a business that has been around for a few years that starts to generate a lot of traction, you need to be concerned about fraud. In particular, if you are launching an e-commerce business. I am very adamant about entrepreneurs and startups getting a dedicated fraud detection solution service. These days, fraudsters have gotten so good at what they do that often payment processing company's fraud protection services aren't enough. When you are in the e-commerce world, fraudsters can effortlessly generate a bunch of automated credit cards through your system until one works. Often if you don't have a dedicated fraud detection solution integrated into your site, your business could be in trouble as fraudsters begin infiltrating your website. Third-party fraud detection services can instantaneously detect fraud upon a transaction being submitted. You will know if a payment is set to go ahead and ship out your product in a couple of minutes. The service might also tag a transaction to say if there is potential fraud or straight out determine that it is fraudulent. These services are pretty inexpensive. They take a small percentage of each transaction they review, and they protect you from losing revenue and the product being shipped out.
3.Don't overlook forecasting.
If you are looking to create a viral product or have a viral product launch, you want to make sure that you have correctly forecasted the number of units you will need from the factory from the get-go. There are different ways that you can effectively go in with what you think is a good product and have that forecast in place ahead of time. You want to have a bit of market testing before your launch or look at competitors in your space and see how they forecasted.
4.Manufacturer exclusivity is key.
Suppose you believe that you have a solid product/market fit for the business you are launching and that there will be a large amount of traction. In that case, I think it is essential for entrepreneurs to develop an exclusive partnership with their manufacturer to set themselves up for the future.
Often entrepreneurs think about this exclusivity arrangement a little too late. It is already not in the manufacturer's best interest to be exclusive because they see all this ancillary demand pop up outside your own company. If you can invest in that relationship early on, it puts you in a stronger position.
For more insights and learnings from Max Ringelheim, you can follow him on all the major social media platforms using @maxringelheim and @whengoingviral