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After Zombification, I Had to Tell Our Customers We Were Shutting Down

Recently, I had the displeasure of telling our Body Boss customers we were shutting down August 31st. I’ve been dreading these calls since we zombified Body Boss as of April last year – see 21 Lessons from Failure and Moving On.

Thoughts on zombification and the calls…
  •  Zombification allowed the team to showcase as a portfolio piece for other opportunities. Though not a “success” like Facebook or Uber, Body Boss was a success in many other ways. Don Pottinger and Darren Pottinger are leading amazing startups today while Andrew Reifman is growing an impressive client portfolio with beautiful UI/ UX.
  • Zombification delays the inevitable. When you are no longer working on your product or business, the market will let you go like you did.
  • Little issues become big annoyances. During zombification, we all transitioned to other opportunities. However when bugs came up, they took time to reorient ourselves back to the code.
  • Be honest. My voice was noticeably trembling on every call. But given our honesty and trust we built, customers understood our position and were supportive of us with Body Boss and beyond.
  • Have a transition plan. We notified customers in May of the sunset in August so teams could continue using Body Boss during the off-season while finding alternatives. This was appreciated.
  • Speak in-person/ on-phone. The partners who have stuck by us deserved our time. We spoke to our top partners on the phone, and resorted to email for scale.
I was scared to make the calls; however, they went well, and each call showed why I love building great products and brands… that is, we had real fans. Each call was a moment we could take pride in – hearing how much our product was loved and support moving forward. We created that from nothing but an idea…

What are your thoughts on leaving a company, product idle (“zombified”)? How would you handle sunsetting the business including notifying customers and other partners? What would make transitioning easier for you as a customer?

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