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Livin’ la vida startup

Perspective: Lessons learned in new launches

After many years reporting on real estate startups, I finally had the opportunity to live the life of a startup when Inman News launched the new Web site last week.

Experiences are always more beneficial when given the chance to stand back and process lessons learned along the way. I’d like to share mine here for any readers who may be struggling with launching a new project this year:

1. Things will go wrong. There’s no getting around it. The months and months of planning and developing will lead up to a launch day and you can’t really plan for how that day will unfold. Just keep a cool mind, remember that it’s all part of the launch, and try to fix problems with a head-first approach — which leads to #2.

2. Charge ahead no matter what bumps get in the way. Again, bumps are a natural part of launching a new project or Web site. You can’t always anticipate all of them. Always be faithful to the project, though, and don’t let the obstacles fool you into walking backwards.

3. We tried to do a lot — probably too much. This is always the bane of a project with a bunch of creative and smart people working on it. Don’t try to save the world in one launch. You’ll definitely go further by growing your project in phases.

4. Set your expectations. Technology and Web development have come a long way, but let’s not kid ourselves — stuff doesn’t always work the way we want it to.

5. Ignore your inner cynic. There are many moments, like when nothing seems to be working right, that you’ll feel this was all a mistake. Cover your ears and block the doubt. When things go right, it is a thrilling experience well worth the struggles.

6. Be appreciative of your team every step of the way. It can be tempting in a pinch to bark at your colleagues when your site launches and crashes, but remember that they are the ones who will pick it up again. Do not let your temper overtake your project. You and your audience or consumers will likely never remember all the difficulties that came about on launch day.

7. Never underestimate your core customer. Ours happens to be a really great group with an open mind and an appetite for innovation. We planned our launch with that in mind.

Thanks again to everyone for the valuable feedback here in phase one of our launch, and for sticking with us when the site was moving at a crawl. We couldn’t have done it without you, and, quite frankly, we wouldn’t even have tried.

The new Inman News is a site we hope you will find yourself digging into when you’re looking for solid real estate news and information, or for advice from savvy colleagues. We hope the news becomes even deeper through the comments and conversations our readers will provide alongside the stories.

We hope that all Inman News readers will be brave enough to launch their wildest ideas into new sites, new services or new business models during what looks to be another tough year for real estate.

If no one took a chance on a venture that in the end could fail, we’d all fail anyway by not trying something new.


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