Product Launch Risk Assessment

Launching a new product can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences of a business owner’s career. New products can mean the difference between success and failure for a lot of companies. When you plan the launch, you’re planning for the former, but you should also prepare for risks that could cause the latter.

In the last week we’ve seen Apple launch the new iPhone and, for the most part, it’s been a success. But there have been a few issues, overselling on pre-orders and teething problems with the new software. A company the size of Apple will have applied strong risk assessment to the launch and will have been prepared for those setbacks. Smaller businesses planning a new product need to make sure their risk assessments are up to scratch too.

Reputational Risk

When you go public with a new product, the obvious risk is to your reputation. If the product gets a negative response from the media or the public, it could affect other successful products. You need to be prepared to manage the impact of negative reviews or public opinion. No matter how good the product is a negative response is always a possibility. Your risk assessment management procedures should prepare you for this scenario.

Liability Risk

You might see negative public reaction as the worst-case scenario for your launch, but there are other risks too. Depending on the product, a malfunction could create a liability risk. Obviously, some products create more liability risks than others, but a risk assessment should be applied to every new product. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Demand Related Risks

Sometimes success can be just as much a risk as a failure. If your business isn’t prepared for a swift increase in demand, your staff could be put under severe strain in meeting that demand. That can create health risks or, if the demand is not met, could come back to reputational risk or even affect cash flow.

The important thing with risk assessment is to be as comprehensive as possible. A product launch risk assessment may not be an obvious candidate because it’s expected to boost business. But it’s only when you’re sure that you’re prepared for the risks that you can really prepare for success.


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