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I Have an Idea for an App. Now What?

I Have an Idea for an App. Now What?

We've gotten this question a lot in our nine years. Lots of people have ideas for apps. But few of them know where to start. Here's what we recommend.

Ask yourself two critical questions.

  1. Will the app provide value?
  2. Will it solve a problem?

How do you know if it does either? If it solves a problem you have, then maybe others have a similar problem.

Start talking to people who may have interest in the idea. If it’s an app for developers, talk to developers. If it’s for farmers, talk to farmers.

I suggest not asking your family and friends. More often than not, they’re going to tell you what you want to hear.

Don’t be afraid to share your idea.

Many first-time entrepreneurs worry their idea will get stolen if they share it.

I have several issues with that:

  1. An idea is worthless until it’s executed.
  2. There are rarely any original app ideas.
  3. People are busy. (They have their own side projects and interests. They’re not going to steal yours.)
  4. Even if someone did steal your idea, what matters is how you execute it.

Get involved.

In addition to talking to people, get involved in your local startup community.

In our area, we have Startup Weekends, Meetups, and 1 Million Cups to engage with other innovators. The people you meet will connect and inspire you.  

Startup Weekend is a great way to validate your idea. At the end of the weekend you’ll likely have a business model, prototype, and a team to help you execute.

I recently attended a local Startup Weekend and witnessed this first-hand. It was truly inspiring.

Once you get through the weekend, your team may be ready to participate in a Venture School, which I would consider the next step. Venture School is designed to accelerate your business.

Educate yourself.

If you aspire to be an entrepreneur or you are the type of person who is always coming up with ideas—educate yourself. Here are several books we recommend to the entrepreneurs we work with.

Reading these books will get you in the right mindset for creating an app:

These books will help you structure the execution of the app and the business model:

Look introspectively.

Are you prepared for the highs and lows that accompany entrepreneurship? It’s a lot harder than you might think. For every Uber there were thousands of other apps that failed. Here’s a graphic that depicts plan versus actual.

Here’s what not to do.

I’ve talked about what you should do if you have an app idea. Here are a few don’ts: 

  • Don’t write a business plan. After reading Business Model Canvas you’ll understand why. They are too structured and don’t leave room for the pivots you may make during the course of your "validated learning" (see Lean Startup). 
  • Don’t get discouraged. Many people get discouraged because a similar app already exists. Maybe your app will have a better business model or maybe yours will be focused on a different niche.

If you have done all these things and are ready to take your idea to the next level, reach out about our Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Design, and custom software and app development services.