In 2017, Apple’s app store generated over $26 billion for app developers. Factor in the other entities making a profit off apps, and you have a mind-boggling number of app-related funds.
Of all the new apps on the market, only a few will go on to become wildly profitable. But every one of them started the same way — as an idea.
If you’re thinking “I have an idea for an app,” you might be wondering what it takes to bring the concept from idea to launch. This guide is for you — keep reading to find out what it takes to make your app idea a reality!
I Have an Idea For an App: What Next?
All great apps start as ideas. But before you start building, you need to do some work to hone that idea into a workable app. Here are the steps to follow, starting with your big idea.
1. Refine Your Idea
Ideas usually start as somewhat vague, shapeless forms. First, you’ll need to do a little more thinking to make sure that idea can make a good app.
Start by changing your idea into problem-solving terms. Rather than thinking about what your app does, or the cool name you’ll give it, think about how it will help people.
Successful apps need to solve a specific problem. Nail down which problem your app will solve, then think about the people in your target audience. Who has that kind of problem, and how will you app help fix it? For example, parents might want an app that will help them check their kids’ digital activities.
In addition to answering these questions, you’ll also need to decide which devices or platforms will host your app. Should it be a web app, mobile app, or both?
Finally, how will your app make money? Some generate money with paid subscriptions, while others are free and rely on ads. Do some research to find out how apps make money, and think about which model will best fit yours.
2. Reflect on Yourself
Starting an app is effectively starting a business, and it comes with many of the same risks (and potential rewards). Before you move forward, take the time to reflect on how far you’re willing to take this idea.
Look at your schedule and see how much time you can devote to building an app. Even if you outsource the work, you’ll still need to be available to work on certain things. Do you have skills that you can use to create or market your app, or will you need to hire other people for all of it?
You should also think about how much money you can invest. If you know how to do some of the work yourself, you can save some money, but you’ll need to invest more time. Set boundaries now and be realistic about the possibility of failure. If things aren’t going well, at what point will you back out?
This shouldn’t scare you out of moving forward with your app idea. Many things worth doing involve some level of risk. You just need to be realistic about it so you don’t run into unpleasant surprises later.
3. Start Designing
Now, you can start designing the details of how your app will look and function.
You don’t need to be a professional designer to sketch your concepts of how you’d like aspects of the app to look. How will the app be structured? How will the homepage look? Which colors will it use?
You can use your sketches as a reference point once you start putting a team together to build the app. Most designers don’t want to come up with the whole design for you. They want some ideas to work with, and their job is to make those ideas into a functional app (or tell you if they won’t work).
4. Research the Competitors
As you work through the design process, take a look at the competition. With so many other apps out there, you’re sure to find some competitors.
Competitor apps have the same target audience and seek to address the same or similar issues. You’ll need to be able to clearly define how your app is different from theirs. What does your app have that they don’t? If you can’t answer this question yet, do some tweaking until you can.
5. Gather a Team
Apps don’t get built by one person alone. Now, if your idea still sounds good among the competition, it’s time to build the team that will bring it to life.
Your team should have the skills you don’t. For example, maybe you know the basics of building an app, but have no marketing skills. You’ll need a marketer on your team to connect the app with the users who will love it. Or maybe you need app developers who know how to build a custom app.
Once you have the right team together, you’ll have access to the knowledge of how to move forward, including making a prototype or wireframe and running tests.
6. Raise Funds
This step might come before you get your team together, or your team members can help with it. But no matter what, you’ll need to get an idea of the costs it will take to build and launch your app, and then come up with the necessary funding.
There are many sources of app funding, from crowdsourcing platforms to angel investors. The right one for you depends on the unique factors of your app.
Make sure you factor in all of your costs so you ask for the right amount of money. You’ll need to pay your team, pay for marketing, and have enough left over to make necessary app updates in the future.
Making Your App Idea a Reality
Lots of people have thought or said, “I have an idea for an app!” Only a small percentage have actually committed to making their idea real. Just by reading this guide, you’re already ahead of the crowd!
Interested in learning more about the connection between tech and business? This guide can give you inspiration!