7 Steps to Take After You Have an App Idea
Coming up with an app idea is easy, figuring out what to do next is the hard part.
By the end of this story, you’ll have seven priorities you need to handle if your app idea is ready to go. Each one requires a lot of time and energy, but if you can knock them out of the park, you’ll be well on your way to starting the app business of your dreams.
1. Understand the Risk
Launching an app isn’t a hobby; it’s a business move. It takes a lot of dedication, time, and money. The first thing you need to figure out is how committed you are to your idea.
An app startup comes with both high rewards and high risks. Developing an app could be a life-changing decision, but at the same time, if you’re not fully committed and don’t understand the risk involved — you could lose thousands of dollars and months of your time.
Answer these three questions to figure out how committed you really are:
- How much time are you willing to commit?
- How much money are you willing to invest?
- Would you be devastated if your startup failed tomorrow?
2. Craft Your Value Proposition
There are more than 2 million apps in the App Store, so needless to say, it’s hard to get discovered. The only way to achieve long-term success is to know what makes your app unique. It doesn’t have to be the first of its kind, but there should be an angle that differentiates you from the crowd.
Answer these three questions to start brainstorming:
- What does your end user want/need?
- How does your app solve that pain point?
- What other solutions are available?
From there, you can get creative with the actual messaging. Keep in line with your brand and highlight why users should download your app over a competitor’s.
Remember, it’s unrealistic to claim that you’re “better” than existing solutions on the market. Focus on what makes you different.
A great example is Bumble’s “Ladies make the first move,” value proposition — this messaging was crucial to their marketing strategy. Bumble had little to no chance of competing against Tinder without differentiating themselves.
3. Create a Business Model Canvas
Remember, you’re not just building an app. You’re launching a product and a business. That means a business model canvas is fundamental to the process.
If you’re just starting your business, don’t worry about creating an in-depth business plan, you just need to figure out the basics and how they work together first.
To use the Business Model Canvas, simply put notes in each box of what you think will work best for your business. After you get your ideas out of your head, you can start talking to your potential customers so you can validate your ideas.
4. Flesh Out Your Idea
Getting an app idea out of your head and onto paper sounds like a no-brainer, but it really is the first step to evaluating all the pieces of the project and determining your business needs. After all, if you don’t know what your needs areーa developer won’t either.
Fleshing out your idea can be as detailed as you like, but the deeper you dig, the more confident you can be that a project schedule and budget are what you expect. You should plan to create at least one of the following:
RFP: A RFP is a document that is used when you have a problem but you don’t know how to solve it. In this case, it means you have the basic app idea, but you don’t know how to actually develop it.
Having documentation that describes key functionality is great to have when approaching developers. The more detailed, the better. They’ll be able to help you cultivate your ideas into a concrete plan.
Wireframe: This is as simple as a few pencil sketches in a notebook. Being able to think through how the app will “flow,” can better reveal the complexities of your project.
Interactive Prototype: Creating an actual UI/UX interactive prototype package will save you months of work and thousands of dollars all while reducing the margin for error. All of your features, animations and navigational elements will be defined, and your developer will be on the same page from day one.
5. Find Co-Founders
Starting a company is no small feat. In an ideal world, you should have two or three co-founders on board. Your partners will be able to take on different aspects of the business such as marketing, software development, project management, etc. This will give you more hands to tackle all of the work that needs to be done.
Here’s an example of common and effective founding team dynamic we have seen work:
- Visionary: Typically the person with the idea. Executes the grand vision.
- Hustler: Cultivates relationships. Focuses on everyday operations.
- Hacker: In charge of developing the software and technology.
- Hound: Analyzes user behavior. Constantly figuring out what the end user really wants.
6. Get Funding
Be realistic about the costs associated with developing an app. It’s not unusual for basic apps to run $10k-$50k, with more complex projects coming in north of $100k.
You should also allocate about 10% of your overall budget for marketing.
Other factors you’ll need to consider are post-launch updates, employee salaries, legal, etc.
If you don’t have the necessary budget, but don’t want to compromise on your visionー make finding investors a priority. You can start your search by using the following resources:
“Ideas are easy. Execution is everything.” ー John Doerr, Venture Capitalist
The hardest part of starting up is executing. You can have the best app idea in the world, but it means nothing if it only stays in your head.
So take the first step, figure out how committed you are, and start making your mark from there.