In part two of our series, we’ll help you consider a few important logistical questions: What exactly do I build? How do I get funding? What’s in the first release?
How To Bring a Killer App Idea Into Reality: This six-part series is designed to give a basic roadmap on how to get your app into the hands of the people whose lives you want to improve. Whether you just have an app idea floating in your head, or a team of coders ready to go, you’ve come to the right spot.
Defining Your Solution Overview
In part one we looked at whether or not your app idea really has what it takes to go the distance. Now it’s official: there are more people interested in your app idea than just your grandparents. Knowing that your brainchild has a real chance in the market is a great feeling, but you still have a long way to go!
Just as you wouldn’t break ground on your new home without a blueprint firmly in hand, your app must have a well-defined product roadmap so you know exactly what lies ahead. You also need to come up with answers to a few important logistical questions: What do I build? How do I get funding? What’s in the first release?
Three Simple Steps on How to Define Your Solution
1. Decide What to Build
2. Obtain Funding
3. Create an MVP
Step 1) Decide What to Build
With your idea and audience in place, you now need to develop a clear-cut plan for making your vision a reality.
Before advancing any further, do your best to understand how each of the following variables will affect the project:
- Timeline – How long it will take to develop, test, and release the app from start to finish.
- Scope – Which features the app will include and when they will be developed and released.
- Budget – How much money you have to spend, what it will be spent on, and over what period of time.
- Resources – What assets are at your disposal in terms of employees, contractors, office space, hardware, and software.
- Branding – The overall look and feel of your app, including the logo, color scheme, and user interface.
By viewing your situation through these lenses, you should now have enough information to produce two documents: your first product roadmap and a requirements specification document. The product roadmap is a visual timeline showing all of the development work that your team will do throughout the project.
Product roadmaps are generally used to set expectations for team members, as well as to define clear milestones for the benefit of external stakeholders.
The requirements specification, meanwhile, needs to describe the overall purpose of the app as well as the specific features and functions. This document must be as detailed and unambiguous as possible in order to get everyone on the same page.
The requirements specification is generally used to set expectations of technical capabilities for team members and potential investors.
Step 2) Obtain Funding
Your idea might really be worth a million dollars, but getting that first thousand can be the hardest challenge of all.
Potential sources of funding include:
Websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe are popular choices for startups and entrepreneurs who can present their cases well to the end user. Crowdfunding campaigns perform better when incentives are well thought-out. Also consider running crowdfunding from your own website to reduce cost.
Business idea or app contests run by incubators, accelerators, universities, and businesses can provide prize money and a whole lot of exposure. Sometimes this involves an exchange of a certain amount of equity. Check out this list of the Top Ten startup incubators.
Angel Investors can fall into two separate categories. In the first, there are the three Fs – Family, Friends, and Fools – who invest because they believe in you. In the second, there are wealthy individuals who professionally invest their money into startups. Typically, Angel Investors arrive in the earliest stages of a project, getting in at the ground floor, sometimes even before an app’s development is complete, and they give their money in exchange for equity. Just in case you’re looking for these folks, here’s an A-Z list of top Angel Investors.
Self-funding is an excellent way to go so long as you can sustain it until you are able to obtain more professional investors or turn a profit. You can bootstrap your startup using savings from your day job! One great reason to self-fund is to retain full ownership of your new business.
Small Business Loans
A risky yet potentially rewarding way to obtain funding is by taking out bank loans, which will require you to have a concrete business plan backed by research and figures, a proven track record, and possibly a form of collateral.
Step 3) Create an MVP
Once your plans are established and your funding is secured, all effort must be focused on getting your minimum viable product (MVP) out the door.
The MVP, as defined by entrepreneur Eric Ries, well known for his book Lean Startup, is “that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
Think of the MVP as the next step of market research, a stripped-down version of your app built simply and inexpensively, showcasing the core of your app’s value proposition while attempting to deliver it without the distraction of extra features or bells and whistles.
Beta testers and potential users can interact with the MVP and provide insights, allowing the app to improve over time and to help inform how you’ll deliver the essential value proposition to a known group of users.
Our next entry in this series Part Three: The Newbs Guide to Prototyping for Mobile Apps will cover how and why to create wireframes and mockups, discuss the proper care and feeding of prototypes (to get great feedback), and respond to the question, “So why should I spend time on a prototype anyway?”
Having trouble getting your big idea off the ground? Let us help you with the heavy lifting!
The Dropsource team of mobile app experts is here to help you strategize, design, and build powerful mobile apps that delight. Get in touch with us for a free consultation to see how we can help bring your killer app idea to life.