It is an exciting time to be an ambitious entrepreneur. Software as a technology offers incredible potential to build new business or even create new markets. And, unlike most other technology opportunities, a smart person can educate themselves to have all of the knowledge they need to imagine, plan, and create a quality mobile app. What an opportunity!
However, the same ease with which people can create new apps also makes it simple to create the wrong thing. This wastes both time and money. If you’re going to start a company or build your own app, start by making sure your idea is one worth building. Here are three easy tips to help you do that:
Is there a competitive opportunity?
If you or I can think of a new idea there is a reasonable chance someone else has before. Research extensively what apps are already on the market doing what yours has done or something similar. Evaluate what they do well and poorly. Identify what gaps there are between what you have in mind and what they are already doing. Perhaps there truly is nothing out there yet doing what you intend. Well, that’s great! However, if there are already similar things out there you should be very realistic about what the need and thus opportunity might be for what you want to do.
Do people want it?
Most great entrepreneurs got started by creating something that they are making for themselves. They wanted something that wasn’t there, saw an opportunity, and made a solution to fill it. The problem is, most ideas like this aren’t ideas that a lot of people would want. The entrepreneur hasn’t made something to address a market and that has real potential. So, take some time to do research. Interview strangers - not friends and family! - who represent the demographics of the users you envision for the service. How interested are they? Does it seem like a real market will be there?
How will you get to end users?
Increasingly, the creation of new apps is the easy part. It is the marketing and sales, getting people to know about and try your solution, that is truly difficult. Depending on the type of users you intend to engage you should be thinking about what kind of investment of time and money will be required to get them on board and fuel your company. Do you even know how you will be able to reach them in the first place, much less convince them to buy, use, and help promote your app? You should have good answers to these questions, and projected budgets behind them, before writing a single line of code.
The excitement and potential of creating a new software company is exhilarating. However, it is very easy to waste weeks, months, or even years making something that does not have space in the market, or that people do not want, or that you are unable to connect users to. The time you take up front to test your idea will not just validate your vision: it will help focus and hone your business, improving your company and offering to the benefit of you and your investors.