An app is a product just like any other: building one requires courage and knowledge. In this five-step guide, we’ll tell you what you need to know to confidently build your app.
However, be aware: going through the following five steps may be tough. Eventually, you may want to adjust your idea or even replace it with another (better) one. That’s perfectly okay. In the end, it’s not the idea that should drive you but the impact you want it to make in the world.
First things first
EGO is a software consultancy and development team. This means we have expertise in building web and mobile apps and consulting businesses about doing so.
We often get emails from potential customers saying something like “I have an app idea. Where do I start?” or “How to create an app and make money?” So we decided to share our expertise to help you get building your app faster and more efficiently.
What we won’t share is how to navigate the business side of the process. Things like finding funds, consulting with investors and business angels, and looking for partners and co-founders are also extremely important for your success, but we’ll cover them in other posts.
At this point, we’ll present a plan of things to do if you have a great idea for an app.
1. Polish your idea
We often hear app ideas like “Uber for waiter recruitment” or “Instagram with GIFs.” But businesses don’t work that way. You need to understand clearly what your value proposition is. In other words, why will your users want to use your app.
The value your app provides should meet the needs or wants of your users but at the same time do it differently than competitors. Because there are hundreds of thousands of existing mobile apps.
Your value proposition will be crucial in defining your product delivery roadmap. So you might even want to do market research and talk to your potential customers first to confirm your expectations and better understand your target audience.
Another way to polish your idea is to consult with industry experts and investors who know how to evaluate business ideas and who are looking for more when funding startup owners than a simple “I have a great idea for an app.”
2. Explain your idea in detail
The better you understand what your app should (and should not) include, the easier it will be for you to make difficult decisions about it later.
When the idea is in your head, it often seems that everything’s clear and simple, but writing it down shows how many things there are yet to be decided. The more detailed your idea description, the easier it will be for you and your team to bring it to life.
If you have an app idea nicely described and documented (maybe even with sketches or wireframes), it will save you time and resources later during the development phase.
3. Figure out your monetization model
A decade or two ago, you could raise funds, build an extremely innovative digital product, and then experiment with monetization approaches for years, expecting your product to finally become profitable.
Today, this is no longer the case. You can’t just decide on monetization later (unless you have money to burn). You app’s monetization model will define its roadmap from day one.
If we were allowed only one simple answer to the question, “I have an app idea, what to do next?” it would be to decide on the monetization approach. Because if you can make people pay for your idea, then it’s definitely valuable enough to be implemented.
Finally, once your app idea has been turned into your product vision and technical requirements, you can proceed to the actual development.
4. Find a software development team
Whether you decide to hire an offsite team or bring a bunch of experts right into your office, it’s important to ensure you have access to all the specialists you need. An app development team should include:
- A UX designer to define user interactions
- A UI designer to provide modern-looking interactive interfaces
- A project manager and a business analyst to understand your app requirements and turn them into a product roadmap
- A tech lead to decide on the app architecture and make sure the product will be of the highest quality, easy to maintain, scalable, and upgradeable
- Software developers of different kinds depending on the specifics of your idea
- Quality assurance specialists to check the final result for bugs and threats
In most cases, instead of building your own team or finding and managing freelancers, it’s easier to work with a software development partner who can provide necessary experts on an hourly basis. Besides, when you have a powerhouse team, they’ll work more productively and will bring useful insights on how to create an app that’s engaging, intuitive, and enjoyable to use.
Once you find a few candidate teams, send them a description of your idea. If you’re worried about confidentiality, sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to negotiations.
Companies should provide you with time and cost estimates, and with these you’ll be able to pick the team that fits you best.
5. Learn how to create your own app
When all preparations have been made and you’ve found a team to implement your idea, app development starts.
You may think this is the easiest part. After all, the development team just needs to build what you’ve described so thoroughly in step 2. But actually, this is the most important and interesting part of the whole process. Your readiness to go through this journey will define the long-term success of your venture.
Here are the top three concepts we recommend learning more about before starting app development.
- DESIGN THINKING. The reason why so many startups fail is that they’re too sure their idea is great and that they know what’s best for their users. Design thinking demands that you learn about your users and work with actual data, not your assumptions.
- LEAN STARTUP. When you’re limited on time and money, it’s crucial to build a working and valuable product as fast as possible. Eric Ries calls this a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Focus on building it first.
- AGILE DEVELOPMENT. This is a series of techniques that help software development teams meet the constantly changing requirements of lean startups. Knowing Agile’s basic principles, such as the iterative approach, is a plus if you’re going to work tightly with your development team.
Bonus: Remember that failure is success in progress. It may turn out that your initial idea won’t work. This is perfectly okay and is part of the progress. It’s not about hitting the sweet spot the first time; it’s about trying until it works.
You’ll learn more about this concept when reading about the Lean Startup approach.Shift your thinking from “I have an app idea. What’s next” to “I’m ready to bring value through an app. Where do I start?”
The bottom line
In most cases, building an app is a never-ending process. You’ll always have things to improve and add, and users’ needs will regularly change.
So the more you know about this business from the very beginning, the fewer mistakes you’ll make and the faster you’ll succeed with your idea.
The best way to make sure you know enough to succeed is to work with a reliable business partner who’s always there to lend a hand and consult on any issues. Should you need a consultation, feel free to drop us a line.