Ideas are like nipples, everyone has them. If you think you have a great idea that can turn into a bestselling app – I have some news for you – You are not alone! Almost everyone thinks the same.
In the start-up economy where entrepreneurship is idealized and apps like Tinder and Uber have taken the world by storm; everyone thinks they can be the next Zuck.
But if you are even remotely aware of the App Market, you know this is far from reality. Let me just put it this way – you have a better chance of surviving in Russian roulette then launching a successful app.
Ouch, that hurts! Don’t worry, I am not here to de-moralize you, I just want you to know what the stakes are.
So let me just start-off with de-bunking the myth – A great idea means a successful app.
Nopes, it doesn’t. Getting an app developed is just a small part of a huge jig-saw puzzle. In-fact, I would like to take this a step further and say that –
the real work starts after the first version of your app has been launched.
No one is going to use your app; no matter how great it is, if people don’t know it exists. But this is a topic of discussion for a separate blog altogether.
So after reading this, if you still want to get an app developed, get ready to embark on this Entrepreneurship journey which has lots of ups and downs, not to mention a couple of pot-holes as well.
So I’ll share with you a couple of tactics that you can use as a framework to turn your idea into a stellar app:
It’s a no brainer but people often forget that they can consult their friends and families as well. Share your idea with them and see if they are as enthusiastic as you are about that idea or not. If they do not think it’s a good idea, ask them the reason behind that. This will help you get a different perspective on your idea because as humans we are deeply flawed and overrate our own ideas and creations, which is known as the Ikea Effect.
Who better to guide you on an app idea than a seasoned veteran? Get in touch with them and discuss your idea with them. They can help you discover if your idea is worth exploring or not.
One of my favorite questions that I like asking my clients is – Why do you think people will install your app when there are already so many options available to them – which often ends up in a lot of cussing and me being called a jerk! But sometimes when this doesn’t happen, the question helps me to understand the client’s mindset and motivation behind getting the app developed, which helps me to consult them accordingly.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want to get developed, it’s time to go and do some old school Marketing Research. First off, you’ll need to ask yourself what problem does your app solves and who will benefit from using it. Then get in touch with a couple of your ideal customers and share your app idea with them and ask them if they would be willing to use such an app or not, and why. The important thing is to focus on their whys and using those insights to refine your idea.
You’ll also need to check if you have any competitors and what makes you different from them.
Writing on a piece of paper has a magical effect; it helps you clear your thoughts and get a better perspective on an idea or a problem that you are trying to solve.
So write down your idea and the steps of how you envision your app to work. So for a simple dating app, it would look like this:
Idea – An app where people who love reading novels can meet and date each other.
This is it. Pretty simple, right?
This has a lot of benefits as well as it helps you to get a clearer picture of what you want and helps others understand your vision as well. Also, if you want to get a quote for getting your app developed, this will save you a lot of headaches and ensure that each Agency/Freelancer is on the same page. And if you can create wireframes using tools like Balsamiq or Invision, more power to you!
If this is too much work for you then you should hire a Business Analyst or an App Consultant for creating an SRS (Software Requirement Specification) Document and Wireframes for you.
I am a big fan of building a Business by Bootstrapping it. So I usually recommend my clients to test the waters with an MVP version first before going all out and spending a significant chunk of their hard-earned money. For the uninitiated, let me briefly explain what an MVP is.
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It means a product that just has enough features that it can be launched to demonstrate the core idea of the product, test the hypothesis and gather feedback from the early adopters. An MVP helps you to validate your idea without burning a hole in your pocket and provides you the room to improve as you get the customers’ feedback.
Apps like Uber, Airbnb and Instagram, that we all are in awe of, were all launched as an MVP first. Most of the people see their current version with all the bells and whistles and want to get a full-fledged app developed in the first go itself. But what they do not understand is how these apps initially started and how much effort it took them to make these apps a global phenomenon.
I even suggest my clients to launch the first version of the app on a single platform only – iOS or Android – depending on which device there target audience is using. For example – In US and UK, it’s a safe bet to launch the app on iOS as a majority of the people use iPhone there whereas in Asia, majority of the users use Android, so launching the app on Android makes more sense. But if you have to have the app launched in both the platforms, go for a Cross-platform technology like React Native or Flutter.
Once you’ve launched the first version of your app, it’s time to gather your customers’ feedback and see what’s working in your favor and what’s not.
You can use the Pirate Metrics by Dave Maclure, who is an angel investor and the founder of 500 startups, to track the progress of your app. The five crucial metrics that it uses is acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue(AARRR).
If the users love your app, you can go ahead and roll out the new features in the app that you initially left-out in the MVP version.
In-case your progress metrics tells you otherwise, which is more often than not, don’t lose heart, there is still a lot of room to grow. Get in touch with your customers and see what they like or dislike about your app. Based on the feedback, you can decide either to refine your current idea or make a pivot.
A pivot is a change in Business Strategy to achieve your vision based on the feedback/response that you have gotten from your users. If you have invested a lot of money and time on the initial version of your product, this is extremely difficult to achieve; courtesy of the sunk cost fallacy. So an MVP that is launched with a minimal effort and use of fewer resources can help dampen the blow of the sunk cost effect as well.
Let me explain you with the help of an example what a successful pivot looks like. BurBn was a simple app that allowed users to check-in, post plans, and share photos. When its founders were analyzing the user data, they found that people used to post a lot of photos on the app after applying filters from some other photo filter apps.
So they studied all the photo filter apps that were available in the market and launched a new app whose sole purpose was to allow users to post photos, apply filters on it and share it on the app with other members. That app is none other than our beloved Instagram!
Also, Youtube, Flickr, Twitter, PayPal and Groupon are some of the renowned Businesses that made a successful pivot. So yeah, you should not be afraid to pivot if your idea is not received well by the customers initially.
It’s always difficult for an Entrepreneur to decide whether to persevere or to pivot. This is where having progress metrics comes in handy. By analyzing these metrics and using your gut feeling, you can make an informed decision.
I hope by now you have a pretty good idea on how to turn your idea into a stellar app. If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to write them in the comments section below.