So You Have A Great App Idea?

We’ve all heard the stories of people that have made a simple app and have become millionaires off of something that doesn’t event seem like an amazing idea. Take Twitter for example, not only does it do something that many apps have done before (posting text on the internet), but it also limits the user to only 140 characters. It seems so simple, and yet, its worth over a billion dollars.

Now if an app like Twitter can be worth a billion dollars, of course your “great” app idea should be worth a few million, right? Well, not quite. Ideas are a dime a dozen, and everyone thinks that their idea could be the next big thing. Although you may have a million dollar idea, it’s the execution of the idea that actually counts. There are a number of questions that you should ask yourself before attempting to turn your app idea into a reality.

Why are you making an app?

If you are going into the industry thinking that this is a great way to make a quick buck, then I can assure you that your likelihood of success is very low. Making an app is very time consuming and costly. If you aren’t passionate, the time and money that you spend to build the app may go to waste if you lose interest in the project. Having any investment in an app that you’re not passionate about may lead to frustration and discouragement of pursuing other ideas in the future if the app fails.

What exactly will the app do?

Most of the time, people will have all the different ideas for their app ready to talk about, but they rarely have anything written down. One of the most common mistakes app creators make, is starting the process without a full understanding of the scope for the project. This can lead to the app becoming something completely different from the original idea because new features may be added or whole feature can be forgotten and left out.

The best thing to do would be to write down all the ideas related to the app and draw out a screen flow for how the user would actually access those feature in the app. This will give you a better understanding of what features make sense to add and where to put them. It will also force you to think about some of the experiences the user would face had you not drawn out the app layout.

How are you going to make the app?

Is this going to be an app that you make by yourself or are you going to hire someone to build it for you? Making the app yourself can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but can be very lengthy. Building it yourself not only gives you the bragging right of saying you did this yourself, it also teaches you a useful skill set and gives you a strong sense of accomplishment. Having a product that is consumable by the masses shows that you’re a person that knows how to get things done and proves you have a strong self-drive. However, if you want to take the other route of having a professional make the app for you, there’s a different question you have to answer.

What is your budget?

If you think that friend of yours that knows how to make apps is just going to drop everything for your “great” idea, I can assure you that they won’t. Nobody wants to work for free, especially on a dream that is not their own. Apps are extremely expensive to make and you have to be ready to pay up.

A simple utility app like a calculator could cost a few thousand dollars; throwing in the complexity of having individuals network with each other increases both the cost and timeline of the project. You can always cut the cost of the project to a considerably lower price by outsourcing the work overseas, but keep in mind that there is potential for language barriers, slow turnaround time, and abandonment. This could still happen in your native country, but the chances are considerably lower if you could see the person you hired within a matter of minutes or hours.

Which platforms are you targeting?

Along with knowing how the app will be built, you have to know which platforms/devices you’re targeting. When most people talk about apps, they are usually referring to a mobile app, but you could make a web app or even some type of hardware app. You should be aware of the demographic you are targeting and know what their preferred platform is going to be. If you make an amazing mobile app for poverty stuck individuals that don’t own smart phones, then who’s really going to benefit from the app?

When working on a mobile app, companies generally target iPhone before Android because Apple customers generally spend more money. However, if your app specializes in something unique and requires a certain level of freedom, then Android may be the right way to go. Don’t do Windows phones first; I still haven’t met someone with a Windows phone and don’t even know what they look like.

How are you going to market your app?

Once you have the app built, you finally get to the most important part, MARKETING. Yes, marketing is the single most important thing for any product; you have to spread the word about your app and make sure people can access it. If you have a world changing idea that everyone should be participating in, but people don’t know about it, then you have nothing. This loops back to knowing your demographic and being intentional in your marketing strategy.

If your demographic watches live TV then consider commercials, if they watch YouTube then make an ad, if they are always on a particular website then buy some ad space. Regardless of what type of app you have made, be sure to do your research and get yourself in front of the right people.

Are you sure you want to make an app?

So hopefully you have a solid answer to all of these questions because making an app is not as easy as it seems. You should be passionate about the app you make because there’s no guarantee that the app will be profitable or that you’ll even want to finish it. Knowing exactly what you want the app to be and being able to show the flow of how the app will work, allows you to set the scope for the project. Make a decision on whether you want to make the app yourself or if you are going to hire someone to do it for you. It’ll cost money regardless of who builds the app, but if you hire someone, be ready to pay. Study your demographic, figure out which platforms they use, and get in front of as many people as possible. Once you a strategy to address all these questions, you will be ready for the long journey of creating an app.

Good luck! 👍🏽

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