The following is a guest post by ChopDawg.com, an award-winning app development company that has worked with over 180+ startups and companies from all around the globe, helping them bring their web apps, mobile apps, wearable apps and software ideas to life.
Follow ChopDawg.com on Twitter at @ChopDawgStudios.
If you’re looking to turn an idea into an app, do you know who you’ve made it for? Do you know what technology it’ll run on? That’s the very first question you need to ask yourself to get started.
And the second question is: now that you know who you are serving, what is the most optimal technology that would deliver this vision? How your idea can become something that is used and loved by people is obviously very dependent on the concept itself.
Your idea itself will only take you so far
You need to know how to leverage technology to turn your idea into something real.
But most of all, you need to understand how the ways people consume apps has changed since 2009, since 2012, etc.
The first commercially available smartphone running Android was the HTC Dream, which launched in September 2008. Time has moved quickly on the social acceptance of Android, and flooding the market with non-Apple smartphones. When that first consumer release took place, that was one of the many beginnings of the app revolution.
2009 was when Uber became a company, and in 2010 they were live in San Francisco. From that point on, everyone would know that the smartphone was more than a communication tool. Smartphones would leverage technology to give people the convenience they never dreamed of.
That was a milestone moment, and now we don’t need any more ridesharing apps that mimic Uber.
That was also then, and Uber was an app that had a natural stickiness to it -some people depend on the likes of Uber now. It’s a dependency that the app created though, as the world turned without Uber before. But it changed the way some people think about getting around.
So is your app changing the way that people think? Could your app’s impact grow well beyond app store domination? That is tough, but it’s not impossible.
Downloads are harder to get, users are even harder to retain, and you’re competing with the big apps. People only have so much time to use your app. Give them what they want. And what is that people want? Start by thinking independently of technology, and think about the wants and needs of people. Then, how can you use technology to serve those wants and needs?
Whether you want to build something for the iPhone, Android, Web, Traditional Software, Wearables, and Smart Devices (like Alexa, Google Home, etc.), take a step back first. If you’re struggling to think about what you want to do, think about what can best serve the people that you are helping.
Knowing WHO your users on is an even better way to keep yourself afloat. A bond with your users gives you a group of people to fall back on.
So where should you begin?
We’ve been in business SINCE 2009, and since then, have not only documented our journey, but everything we have learned via our podcasts, blog posts, and videos. So we’ve compiled what we feel are the essentials in starting from the ground floor. If we can give you a little bit of a boost with these posts, then that makes me happy!
NOTE: some of these posts are from a few years ago, and there is also a lot of recent content. No point in re-inventing the wheel if something is working, but we’d still love your feedback. We plan on incorporating people’s ideas into future posts, so let us know!
Start with the basics first:
How does one come up with a game-changing, world-shaking, profit-making, great idea to build a startup around?
There is no silver-bullet way to answer this question, but there is a framework to go by that will give you some guidance on figuring this out. Knowing your own needs, as well as others’ is such an empowering first step.
Before you dive deeper into your plan, you should also focus on whether or not you should start with iOS or Android first if you’re planning to do mobile. It’s usually not a good idea to start with both at once, because of that balloons costs. Besides, which phones do you think your users are most likely to use first? Go where your market is, and then expand if you have the funds.
Learn about what goes into making a great user experience. In some ways, we see a lot of entrepreneurs overthink user experience and in other ways underthink it. Approach this from a bottom-up way of thinking, in addition to the top-down.
Figure out how you plan to pay for your app. Do you want to build a prototype? Do you want to create an MVP?
One of the biggest things that we often see is that people think an idea might only take a few thousand dollars to build, while it may, in fact, take a few hundred thousand. Sometimes it is the exact opposite. The issue here is that due to such wide-range of pricing, nobody knows what a true fair value is and what the market is demanding.
What is your necessary minimum budget for your idea to gain traction as a product? Going through this checklist will help you get to that answer.
Yes, you can get overseas firms to build your app for a fraction of the cost. But despite the propaganda, you aren’t necessarily going to get a substandard product.
Do you plan to hire a company such as us? Do you expect to build your team, if so, what goes into hiring employees?
If you think that app design and development agencies are too expensive, that they aren’t worth the money, or you don’t think they will get anything done for you that you can’t do better by hiring your talent internally, in some cases you’re right.
One of the biggest things is understanding right away when it is the right time to hire your first team member. For many new entrepreneurs (including ourselves at the time), this is the hardest thing to get right. Hiring that one new employee constitutes a 100% increase in your workforce, and you are going to feel the effects of that (good or bad).
One of the biggest challenges of them all comes down to hiring. More often than not, if you’re an early-stage company, you need all the help you can get, and there are challenges here. On the one hand, you want accelerated growth for your new business, and on the other hand, you also want a great team. You have immediate requirements, but it pays to think about the long-term growth that you two will have together along with the business.
It’s a huge decision, right? Make the wrong one, and you could be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars while wasting months, if not years of your life.
Figure out how to market and ensure you have a successful launch!
Imagine you just launched your app and it got approved. You envisioned downloads, press coverage, and the investors pouring in. But then when you only have a slow trickle of sales (mostly from family, close friends, and that one random person that did find it), you then concluded that it’s them who are wrong for not wanting to use or invest in your app. Looking inward at yourself and your app is a requirement for making something that’s really for people.
We all know the first 100 users will be the hardest that you’ll ever work for it. It’s the same as the first $100 that you earn. Soon after you hit that significant milestone, it gets easier.
Also, avoid the dreaded scope creep that keeps you FROM launching
Scope creep, the not-so-secret killer of almost all app development projects out there. The scariest part, everyone assumed that scope creep wouldn’t happen to them.
We’re going to cut right to the chase here – just launch. If your product is working, don’t even think twice.
Be ready to learn more. And be open to change, because you’ll be shocked by how much you do
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