If you have a great idea for an app and want to develop it, you should go for it! But know that there are many steps between your inspiration and having a viable income-generating product. Most importantly, if you don’t have software development skills yourself, you’ll need to seek out software development services to create a prototype and then the final product.
Additionally, you’ll need a business structure to assist with app sales and provide support. You can create one on your own or hire a company to walk you through the process. Either way, there are several key steps involved.
It’s hard to create anything if you don’t know what the result is supposed to look or work like. Therefore, the first step in creating your app is to give some serious thought to what you want it to do. That’s why you should ask yourself these questions:
- What does it help you do?
- What special features does it have?
- Which devices does it work on?
- What is the design like, including colors, typeface, and layout?
Now you’ll need to test your ideas with other people. You might imagine something that feels fantastic to your eyes, but is it general enough that others will want to use it too? Enough to download or buy it? You can collect answers to these types of questions in various ways:
- Take an informal poll on Facebook or other social media. Keep in mind that results will be biased because your friends will want to support you.
- Check out similar apps already available. Are they popular? How many downloads have they gotten? What are the reviews like? What do people like and not like about these apps? What are they missing that yours could provide?
- If you have cash available, hire a professional market researcher to do a more in-depth study.
Here’s where things get interesting. Either using your own skills or relying on software development outsourcing, create a prototype of your app idea by taking these steps:
- Conceptual. Sketch out different user screens as you envision them looking in your actual app.
- Interactive. Take your idea one step further by creating electronic screen designs that you can show to potential funders.
- Animated. Create a design that shows your app in operation.
Say you’ve built some prototypes and gotten some good feedback from friends, software developers, potential business partners, and potential investors. Now you need to get serious about the business end of things.
- If you haven’t already, conduct professional market research to identify a target market and make sure they’re interested in your app.
- Create a business plan that includes that market analysis information, a description of the company’s goals, products, and structure, marketing, and sales plans, and financial projections.
- Start talking to people you know with great marketing, sales, and customer support skills, as well as vendors to help with things like accounting and IT.
Now that you’ve created a formal business plan, you should have a better idea of whether your app is likely to succeed. If you still think it is, now is the time to secure funding. There are many ways to fund your business:
- Your own savings. Think carefully before you use your savings to launch your business. Is it money you can afford to lose?
- Credit. Again, is the risk worth it? Of course, you’re optimistic about business success but have a backup plan in case things don’t work out the way you hope.
- Friends. Be up-front with friends about how their money will be used and what will happen if your plans fall through.
- Business partners. Make an arrangement with someone who can bring funding to the table. But, be sure to spell out the responsibilities of each person moving forward.
- Investors. Again, be as transparent as possible with anyone willing to invest in your new venture.
- Crowdfunding. People love to take a chance on a fun idea, and crowdfunding is a simple way to do it. Get a friend with marketing savvy to help you write your pitch.
Once you’ve secured funding, use it to finalize app development.
So, your app is built and you’re up and running! Great, but make sure you support all that hard work with adequate marketing. Many resources and professionals are available to help you with this. Here are some initial ideas to try:
- Create a website with a demo and links to download your app. Point all other outreach (such as social media posts) to that site.
- Start a blog and post articles of interest to your target audience. Use social media to point to these posts.
- Place online ads.
- Seek out thought leaders and influencers to help promote your app.
Your next moves include running your successful business, continuing to market, and measuring success. Then you can consider growing with additional apps or other products your target market might like. Good luck with your app idea!