With mobile apps dominating so many industries over the last 10 years, the mobile app industry is incredibly lucrative and still has plenty of opportunity for new ideas. However, in such a competitive market, how do you get started? We discussed this very topic with our CEO, Duncan, who gives his take on what your startup needs to get going!
START WITH AN IDEA...
Let’s start simple, you need an idea. Not just an idea, but an idea that is based in a field that has little noise, lots of room for expansion and solves a real-world issue. Take Monzo for example, this took the relatively boring field of banking, and delivered intuitive design and a simple solution to the real-world problem of clunky mobile banking, completely changing the way we interact with banks. Making something slicker, easier to use or more convenient for the end-user is a great starting place for an idea.
Once you have your idea, you need to apply your domain knowledge. This is deep, subject-specific knowledge that means you can position your idea towards the users that will benefit the most. For example, you may be a student in a particular subject and unable to find a quick way of completing a task that is either time consuming and complicated or mundane and boring. You would have domain knowledge in that particular area, therefore be able to provide a strong idea for an app.
Once you have your idea and you have applied your knowledge of the subject, some in-depth research is key. This will allow you to better understand the current state of the market and will also allow you to better understand what your app will be competing against. At this stage you can start to spot ways in which you can differentiate your product or service even more so, giving you more of a unique selling point.
Next, onto funding. Funding is key to sort out as this will allow you to go to the development stage with a clear structure of how you will be funding the project and give you a clear direction. This will give you credibility and allow you to make impactful decisions.
Once you are ready to get into development, timing then becomes a consideration. This means identifying a solution ahead of a trend, if you are hearing about something in the news, that is a good indicator that you are too late. Development can be a lengthy process and being early with an idea is crucial to its impact.
Then, once your idea is in place, you have an idea of a timeframe and your funding is secured, this is the point where your team will start to come together to build the project. At this point, bringing together a competent team will keep the project on track and on budget. This will also help the product stay focused and on budget, as the goal during development is to achieve the MVP (minimum viable product) whilst spending as little as possible, as intelligently as possible. This can be achieved by focusing on rapidly developing prototypes that can be tested efficiently. Using existing software assists with this as this can cut development time dramatically, allowing for rapid prototype development.
Once the MVP has been produced, this is where user testing comes into play, allowing for refinement and feedback, this loop of feedback pushes the app to become better, stretching the initial concept and delivering a better user experience. This is where scaling the product will be necessary, leading to more of a finished product, and if you don’t know what scaling is, don’t worry, we’ll have a blog about that in the near future. At this point, it may make sense to move all development internally, allowing for tighter control over resources and scheduling.
Well, there you have it, an overview of getting your startup through the app development stage and the steps necessary to get your idea to a working application. Of course, there is a lot more to building an app than this simple overview of the stages outlined here. There are some great places to look for more information, such as books like ‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries or podcasts, for example, ‘How to Start a Startup’ by YCombinator / Stanford University. We will also be releasing more blogs in the future, going in on specific aspects of this overview, with more detail on how to go about building an app startup. We will also have a new start-up specific page on our site in the near future, outlining our process, stay tuned for that.