Pad your release dates. Users are a finicky bunch and will
complain loudly and often if you continuously delay your products.
My readers will hate me for suggesting this, but when announcing a product's
release, add a few months if it won't be released for a while. Using
quarters instead of exact months is also a good tactic. Then when
you get closer to your release date, give another update. If you
say you are releasing it during a particular month, don't wait until the
last day of the month to post an update on your website. Your potential
customers want updated information. If (and when) a delay is needed,
say why. Let people know what is finished.
Work with other manufacturers. External memory modules
are becoming the rage, with Compact Flash, MMC, SmartMedia, etc. getting
cheaper and more easily accessible to consumers. What happens when
you take an MMC with data for one module and put it in another? We
don't know yet. What should happen is that the data should
coexist peacefully. Companies should work together for compatibility
among these cards, and could even potentially use the same conduit for
data transfer. Another benefit of working with others is that more
people hear about your products. Consumers benefit, you benefit --
Work with VisorCentral. Several companies have asked readers
in our Discussion Forum about things they would like to see in their products.
Feel free to ask questions, but be upfront and let them know who you are
and what company you represent. One company worked with VisorCentral
to have a special beta testers forum. Things like this bring all
sorts of good will towards your company and send a message that you are
interested in your customer's opinions.
If you can, get VisorCentral a pre-production model to write about so
you can get your product some press. VisorCentral had an
article on my beta impressions of the Stowaway keyboard and have beta
tested for several products. When people see that a product is almost
done, they anticipate it more and can handle a delay much better.