Are you part of the team responsible for your company or business website? Do you find yourself delaying the launch of that website again and again? Still trying to create the perfect website? If you answered yes to these questions, you may find yourself in a frustrating situation. We understand; we’ve been there with lots of business, and we’re going to tell you what we’ve learned. Here’s why you should launch your website now – even if it’s not perfect.
Your Perfect Website
“When will the website launch?”
“Can I get a launch date? I won’t hold you to it…”
“So, according to this timeline, our website will launch on (insert specific date)?”
Every kickoff meeting the question gets asked: “When will the website launch? How long will it take?” Followed up by, “Can we launch it sooner?”
The focus of those early meetings is to get the website online. The top concern is the date the website goes live – or launches – on the world wide Web.
Website launch is the goal; the focus is to meet deadlines so there are no barriers to launching the website. Everyone is on board with the plan. We’ve reviewed and agreed upon a timeline. All signs point to GO!
But sometimes, people get distracted. When that happens, the website launch date gets delayed. And delayed again.
The reason? Perfection.
“We want the website to be perfect.”
“We want to launch a perfect website.”
“We can’t launch yet – our website still isn’t perfect!”
It’s not surprising how often the word “perfect” is used – doesn’t everyone want the perfect website?
Here’s the problem with perfect, as stated by successful entrepreneurs and marketing gurus:
In Don’t Let Outdated Innovation Myths Limit Your Career, Martin Zwilling offers this advice: “The market and your competitors never stand still, so every moment you don’t execute on an innovation, you are losing ground, or losing an opportunity.”
That’s not the only way perfectionism harms your business.
“Firstly, it massively slows down the introduction of new products… Secondly, perfection postpones input from the customer… Thirdly, perfection is often not rewarded by the customer,” states Siimon Reynolds in The Great Error in Business: Seeking Perfection. He concludes with: “There’s a lesson in this. You get rich in business by giving customers what they want – not necessarily more than they want.”
What we can glean from Zwilling and Reynolds is that the pursuit of perfectionism causes delays. Those delays result in further delays. And many times, the delays are unjustified.
The launch of your product – in this case, your business website – is delayed, which means your competitors are at an advantage online, and you can’t get feedback from customers. Plus, many times customers don’t care about ‘perfect’ – they only care about what your website offers them.
While working on a web design project for your business, keep an eye out for perfectionism – both in yourself and others. Not only is it harmful to your bottom line, it can also harm business relationships as well as your company’s reputation.
Perfectionism shows itself in many ways. In her article, How Perfection Can Ruin Your Business, Lisa Evans identifies four personality traits of perfectionists that cause more harm than good:
- Perfectionists avoid taking risks.
- Perfectionists are inflexible.
- Perfectionists take too long to get things done.
- Perfectionism can affect relationships with employees and co-workers.
“Attempts at perfectionism can be very harmful, and will likely lead to failure for your business. Perfectionism is a form of OCD, and as such, it can actually be considered a mental health condition.” (Steve Jobs, and Why Perfection Might Be Your Worst Enemy by Jeff Haden)
Focusing on a “perfect” website is damaging to your business and may even be destructive to your health and relationships.
And how much is “getting to perfect” going to cost your company in lost profits?
The Cost of Delayed Perfection
When you decide that it’s more important to get it “perfect” than to get it “online”, you’ve shifted your focus away from launch to perfection.
The truth is, to delay your website launch in pursuit of perfection is costly to your business.
You cannot profit from a website that is not online. That means every day your website launch is delayed, you lose money.
“Cost of Delay is a way of sharing and understanding the impact of time against forecasted outcomes. It provides the means to calculate and compare the cost of not completing something now, by choosing to do it later.” (An Introduction to Cost of Delay by Derek Huether)
You don’t want to focus on perfection and destroy profits. But you still want a great website for your business.
There must be a better way!
Another Way to Success
“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” -Mark Twain
You don’t need a perfect website; there is a better way to success. It’s called continuous improvement. What it means for you is to move forward with launching your website, and work to improve it one small step at a time after it’s live.
This approach is based on Kaizen. “Kaizen is one of the core principles of The Toyota Production System, a quest for continuous improvement and a single word that sums up Toyota’s ‘Always a Better Way’ slogan.” (Toyota Production System guide from The Official Blog of Toyota GB)
Instead of working to make your website perfect before launch, plan for improvements once it’s online. Figure out who will make edits and updates to your website long term – this helps quell fears about launching a website because it provides a way to improve the website.
“Sustained success is largely a matter of focusing regularly on the right things and making a lot of uncelebrated little improvements every day. Getting better and better one step at a time adds up.” (Theodore Levitt Thinking About Management)
Your business website will probably have a CMS built into it, so you and your team can make text and image edits to it. Also consider updates that require professional developers; identify the team responsible for highly technical edits early in the web design process to mitigate fears that arise as you near launch.
Additionally, keep in mind that you cannot gather customer feedback or data until your website launches. Jessica Dobbs makes this point when discussing The 10 Basic Kaizen Principles: “Improvement is made from action.” To improve, you must act!
When to Launch Your Website
Your website doesn’t have to be perfect to launch online.
It just has to be good enough.
What is Good Enough? When is your website ready to launch?
At Artonic, you’ll hear us talk about a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) when discussing website launch.
“A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.”
We quoted Siimon Reynolds earlier, but here’s a recap: “You get rich in business by giving customers what they want – not necessarily more than they want.”
YOUR CUSTOMERS… your website users… your target audience… you’ve heard us say this before! It’s all about the people who use your website – your brand, your marketing strategy, and now your website launch – everything depends on your customers and what they want, what satisfies them.
Here are a few questions to help you determine if your website is ready to launch:
- Does my website work? Is it functional?
- Is all Contact information correct?
If you’re this far, you’re probably ready for launch! You’ll need to take care of basic concerns, like hosting and domain name registration, but you’re a lot closer to being ready to launch than you previously thought.
The thing is, most of our clients are way ahead of the game by the time launch is discussed. Not only do they have a minimum viable product, they have a built-in website strategy based on company goals and user needs. (This is how Artonic builds websites: based on goals and user needs.)
So, once a website is designed and developed, what delays a website launch? Unfortunately, if you’re striving for a perfect website, any flaw or perceived imperfection is cause for delay. We hear lots of things:
“We’re adding new employees in (insert timeframe). Let’s wait to get their photos on the website.”
“We don’t have updated contact information for every person on the Board of Directors.”
“Susan from Accounting just read through the website, and she has a few edits she’d like to make to the tone of the website verbiage.”
Not one of these concerns is a valid reason to delay website launch. Why not? Because they don’t seriously impact the user. Your customer doesn’t care if Lonnie isn’t on the website, or Barb doesn’t list an email address. The things mentioned above can impact your website – especially if your website content isn’t written with your brand in mind – BUT you can make those changes after you launch the website.
Changes can be completed later if they are not vital to the satisfaction of your website users. Don’t let minor issues delay your website launch; instead, take a one-step-at-a-time approach to updating your website.
Small Doses Get It Done
“Most things get done in small doses.”
It’s true, and websites are no exception.
A website becomes better when small changes are made over time, with input from the people who use it. The goal should be to create a good user experience for people visiting your website. Look for ways to implement small changes that make your website better.
Kaizen applied to website changes:
- Continuous, Ongoing
- Easy to Implement
- Improve User Experience
- Boost Efficiency
Once you shift your viewpoint from perfection to improvement, you’ll start to see your website in a different way.
Kaizen is the idea that making small, continuous improvements is better than waiting for perfection. When it comes to your website, apply kaizen to everything, especially launch and maintenance.
- Evaluate each reason for delay against whether it helps the end user.
- Consider the cost of delaying launch – not only in potential profits, but also in business relationships.
- Have a plan for how you’ll update the website after it launches. This can ease fears about launching “before it’s perfect”.
Plan for Website Support & Maintenance
Artonic offers ongoing website support and maintenance for our clients. This website support plan helps you keep your website up to date, so you can focus on growing your business.
Give Artonic a call or email us if you’re interested in website design, development, or marketing.