10 Things You Should Do When You Have an App Idea
The growth of the internet and smartphone use in the recent years has seen companies and individuals alike come up with innovative mobile app ideas that are making it big in the market out there. People remain unaware of how they can take their mobile app idea into a successful technology business. However, turning a mobile app idea from just an idea into reality should not be complicated. Building an idea into a fully functioning app will require some level of risk-taking, funding, hustle and programming skills. This should not discourage you from turning your idea into a successful app. You can achieve meaningful progress irrespective of your willingness to take risk, funds or background. This article will provide you with a guide using a step-by-step process of how you can take your mobile app from an idea to a successful technology business.
Understanding the risks involved
Launching a mobile application is a business move. It is a venture with risks involved and requires money, your time and a lot of dedication. Therefore, before doing anything else, you will need to figure out your level of commitment.
Developing a successful app comes with its own fair share of rewards and risks. An app start-up can be a fulfilling and life-changing decision. However, if you do not understand the involved risks and remain uncommitted during this process, you are likely to lose months of your time and thousands of dollars.
Do the research
It is important that you treat your mobile app ideas as a serious business project. Your concept might excite you and make you emotional; however, remember that the digital space is very competitive. Thousands of mobile applications are competing for users worldwide. For example, in 2019, the Google play store had over 2.46 million apps, while Apple store recorded more than 1.96 millions.
Researching will not only allow you to understand your target market but also how you can make the most earnings from your mobile app. You can use the following questions to guide your research:
- Who are my users?
- How will my app help them?
- How many similar apps are there? (if any)
- How can my app gain a competitive edge?
- How do my competitors promote their app?
Develop a business concept
Using the information you found in your research, develop a business concept. Do not rely on your memory. Write everything down. The business concept should contain:
- The app: This is the main idea behind your mobile app and its advantages and disadvantages to the user
- Market and possible competitors: the apps that you will be competing against
- Users: this will include an analysis of the target audience
- Marketing: techniques you will use in promoting your app
- Monetization strategy: How you are looking to make money from your mobile app
Partner up (look for co-founders)
While implementing a mobile app idea alone can prove quite complex, you can partner up. Having a partner/co-founder will allow you to take on different views and standpoints when undertaking certain aspects for your venture such as project management, software development and marketing, among others.
You can include the following individuals in your founding team:
- The visionary: This is the individual behind the idea (you)
- Hacker: The hacker is in charge of both technology and software
- Hustler: This individual will be responsible for everyday operations and cultivating relationships
- Hound: The hound will be actively looking and trying to figure out the needs of your audience
Get funding for your idea
Before getting started on developing the mobile app, you will need funds to cover some of the operational costs. However, it is important that you keep your budget realistic. The starting price for a basic app can cost you about $10k with more complex apps costing upwards of $100k.
Apart from using funds to develop the mobile app, allocate some of the funds for marketing purposes.Sources of funding include:
- Personal finance and savings: This is the best source of funds since you do not have to convince anyone or give out ownership of your app.
- Close friends: Before moving on to credit or investors, try and talk to close family members and friends who are willing to help you and believe in your idea.
- Credit: Banks can finance promising mobile app ideas. However, your idea will need to be backed by a well-thought business plan.
- Application contests: If you are confident in your idea, you can use it to participate in mobile application contests. In these contests, the winner gets to take home the funds required for the app development and promotion.
- Investors: there are wealthy individuals and organizations that offer seed capital required to develop your app. An investor is likely to fund your mobile app if your idea and plan is simple and understandable.
- Business partnership: You can also look for individuals interested in working with you in developing and marketing your idea. The partners can offer you funding in return for a percentage of the profits and other benefits provided in the partnership agreement/contract
Develop the app
Having secured your funding, the next step would be to develop the actual application. Start by developing a working prototype. Prototypes can be categorized into three things:
- Conceptual prototype: This type of prototype includes the schematic visualization of the app’s future screens and is often developed during the early stages of the app development. The conceptual prototype will help you identify and solve all the usability issues from the beginning.
- Interactive prototype: This type of prototype is based on the screens developed in the conceptual stage. An interactive prototype helps create an accurate visualization of your mobile app idea. You can use this to poach an investor or explain the logic of your app’s interface.
- Animated prototype: This prototype simulates the mobile idea app in work. This will help the UI/UX designer think the app through, visualize the functionalities and the process of interaction with the user
Create a marketing roadmap and prepare for market launch
While the app is being developed, your efforts should be focused on business development task and your app launch. Key steps include:
You do not have to think about creating a big brand when looking to launch your app. However, you will need some time and money in developing the app’s icon. This icon should maintain consistency with the visual materials being used in your communication channels.
App store optimization (ASO)
You should start identifying an efficient app listing before launching the app and not after launching and finding yourself with very few downloads.
You can rely on ASO to gain organic downloads, thereby reducing the budget to be spent on advertising.
Prepare for the launch
This involves determining the method/technique to be used in getting the word about your product out there. If you are working with a limited budget, you can rely on the following options in preparing for your mobile app launch:
- Write a pitch about your app to app review bloggers and website
- Join Reddit communities and inform them about your app
- Post details about your app on ProductHunt
- Post about your app on social media
- Send out messages and emails to potential users, family and friends informing them about the app
Test the app
Before publishing and launching your app, it is important that you take off time to test the app. Have family and friends take a couple of days playing with the app. You can also invest in online testing tools and have potential users test and give you feedback on your mobile app.
Testing allows you to assess the quality of your mobile app. A mobile app of poor quality will likely gain bad reviews, making it hard for your app to scale to the required levels.
Publish the app on app stores
Now that you have tested your mobile app and made the necessary corrections to the identified issues, it is ready for use. You can now proceed to publish the app on android or IOS app stores.
The next step involves exploring monetization opportunities that will allow your app to earn you money.
However, the process of Launching and publishing your mobile app does not end there. You will need to copyright and protect your app idea. This is best when done before launching the product. If you have already launched the product, it is important that you do so as quick as possible.
You will need to ensure that you undertake continuous improvement. This includes constantly promoting the app, fixing bugs, providing feedback to users, introducing new features and providing users with updates of the app.
The hardest part about an idea lies in its execution. No matter how good your idea is, it won’t mean anything if it remains in your head.