What Overtime in Sports Can Teach You About Startup Launches

startup team

This is the third post in a series of posts aimed at preparing startup marketers for a product/service launch. The first post can be read here and the second here

My entire marketing career has been spent in startup land. I’ve been a part of every product and feature launch at each company I’ve worked at and have learned a ton along the way about how to launch a fresh new product/service to the world and what it means for your life during that period of time.

Launches are like overtime in basketball. Every minute counts so you can hit your launch date. Every move counts — your competitors, the media, your investors, your customers (current and potential) are all watching. They’re in the stands at the ready for your big debut. So if you’re working at a startup now and getting ready for your first or next launch, here are some tips on what to expect and how to prepare.


1. Be ready and okay with working even longer hours


Once you tell your board your launch date and communicate to the world you’ll be launching soon, the clock has started counting down. You likely already work 10+ hours a day, but get ready to see those numbers increase even more over the next few weeks or months just as they do during playoffs. Especially if your team is still small, everyone needs to chip in more to test functionality, take on new projects, and get more done than ever before. It’s exhausting, you may face burnout, but in the end you and your team are all working these longer hours in order for the launch go off without a hitch and to reach the ultimate payout down the road.

Here are a few reminders during this tiring time:

  • It’s temporary
  • You’re all in it together
  • You now have an excuse to stay in or be lazy when you’re not working since it’s a rare occurrence and you need to rest up for the next day
  • You’re creating a category-defining or even life-changing product/service and to see it finally go live will be extremely gratifying and exciting


2. Consider it the norm to get emails from your team at odd hours


You, your team, and of course your founders and CEO care deeply about the launch going well, attracting lots of media coverage, and getting great customer traction. You’ll likely find yourself waking up throughout the night with ideas that you need to get out there. I find myself doing this all the time so I make sure to note all those ideas down on my phone as they come, even if it’s at 2am. Or, if I’m wide awake at that point, I embrace the idea flow and get up to work on the idea(s). Your team will be doing the same. So if you are approaching your first launch and realize your founder sent that email at 3am or 11:30pm, that’s why. A launch is all consuming so embrace the craziness. You can sleep it off later! What do you think the Patriots are doing right now? Resting!


3. It’s truly a great thing


It’s not easy extending your working hours even longer than they already are or losing sleep over ideas, but know that at the end of the day you and your team are pushing the envelope on innovation in your industry and if done right, it will be met with excitement and hopefully a big payout down the road. That’s what startups are all about, after all. Big risk meets big reward (hopefully). If you truly don’t enjoy it, startups (and being involved in the launch promotion of a product/service) may not be your thing, and that can be okay too. But if you do love it, brace for and enjoy the ride!


Extending your Reach

If you and your team are approaching a launch and need a few extra hands to help strategize and execute on launch activities, let us know. We’re a full-service digital marketing firm in Boston specializing in early stage startup marketing and launches. We’ve been there, we completely get it, and we love it. So get in touch!