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.
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?