“Perhaps that is the secret. It is not what we do so much as why we do it.” – George R.R. Martin
Let’s say that you’re someone with an idea. The big question you’re thinking of is, “but where do I even start?” Before you would even think of addressing this question, you would first want to consider a multitude of questions about whether or not making an app is the right call.
TLDR; If you’ve got an idea you’d like turned into an app, here’s a handy checklist of things to consider before getting started:
- Why am I even making this app? Money, fame, altruistic reasons, etc.?
- What’s my end goal for this app?
- Am I confident upfront that this app, once built, can help me achieve my goals?
- If it’s meant to make money, have I thought over the business model?
- Do I have a reasonable estimate how long this is going to take?
- I need to be my own biggest critic AND supporter.
- Do I know who my competitors are?
- If there’s no apparent market for your idea, is there a logical reason for that?
- Who is going to be in charge of managing all the nitty-gritty details throughout this whole process?
First off, the most crucial thing to ask yourself is not what the app is going to be, but why you’re even making it. Whether your goal is to make money, to become famous, to be altruistic or some other reason, reader, you need to understand your own rationale for why you want to have this app built.
Once you’ve carefully considered the “why” of your app, you should then direct your attention towards the “what”. Not what your app actually does, but what your end goal is for your app and how it will help you accomplish this goal. As you consider the various factors that I’ll cover over the next couple of paragraphs, you should be increasingly sure whether or not you’re confident upfront that your app can help you achieve your goals.
I can tell you that this journey is going to be a long one and that there’s no sense in trying to rush things. There’s going to be times when you feel like things aren’t going fast enough, and you’ll feel frustrated. But vice versa, there will also be times of great celebration, when you see the app start to coalesce into something amazing.
One way to reduce the impact of the rougher times is making sure you have a reasonable idea as to how long this whole project is going to take. That way, you can break down the whole process into smaller goals that you can meet at intervals along the road to the app’s completion. You’ll be much more successful in this endeavor if you’re unflinchingly critical of your own plan; you have to be your own biggest critic AND your biggest supporter.
If your plan for your app includes actually making a profit from its sales, it’s absolutely critical to consider the business model. What’s the size of your market, how much per copy can you charge, and how much will you end up getting? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself here.
Your goal is for your app to find a market where it will sell, and that involves knowing who you’re even selling this app to and how you’re going to go about advertising and selling it. To start on estimating your market size, consult http://www.netmba.com/marketing/market/analysis/ for an overview of the terms to memorize. For a more in-depth approach, https://www.thebusinessplanshop.com/blog/en/entry/market_analysis_for_business_plan contains a detailed walkthrough of how to perform an entry market analysis.
You should constantly be asking yourself whether or not the finances make sense to you. Having an accurate financial statement will help you realize if you need to recoup your investment after all and if you have the working capital to invest in the first place. This analysis is just one in a long list of scrutiny that you need to perform on the path to making your app a successful one.
Another essential bit of information to dig up before starting the development process is to know who your competitors are. If you research what your competition in this market looks like, and find that there are no competitors, there are several possible explanations. The most obvious solution is that your research is just bad or faulty, but it isn’t the only explanation.
If your research is actually correct in stating that there is no market for your kind of app, one solution is that you may be too far in advance with your idea. Conversely, there may have been a market for your idea in the past, but you missed the window of opportunity to enter into it. Finally, it may be that there is no market for your idea simply because there’s no demand for it.
Whatever the reason, it’s a red flag to be the only person in a given market. Just make sure that if you’re the first/only competitor, that it makes sense for you to be. As an example, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone when there was no market for smartphones. He chose to risk everything in being the first person in an unestablished market and counted on the notion that his product would be successful.
One last thing to consider in the planning process is knowing that there is a part of app development that involves excruciating attention to detail. Whoever you choose for your app developer, you have to decide early on which person will handle this task, and that they are willing and able to do so.
If you’ve made it this far, congrats! You’ve done the first step towards getting your app out into the world and raking in the dollars. Next time: Choosing the Ideal Developer.