We are familiar with the success stories of Snapchat, Instagram, and others. They start with an idea amongst friends and end with a billion dollar valuation. When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion investors began looking for the next big thing. Did you think, I have a life changing idea and can do this also?
In Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview Trailer, Jobs talks about the disease that grips most people, which he explains is "thinking that a really great idea is 90 percent of the work. The problem with that is that there is a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product and as you evolve the great idea, it changes and grows."
If you stare at your smartphone and dream of seeing an icon that represents your idea, this blog post is for you. Many people struggle with staying focused on the day-to-day tasks while pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. The good news is there is always room for a new app.
First, build a great app that meets the criteria of success. Then acquire the proper programming, develop a catchy name, and stand out from the competition. Now what? Follow these six key ingredients to making your app a success.
First secure funding. The amount of financing required depends on the five-year business plan. Remember to include personnel, engineers, search engine optimization, promotion and strategic partnerships. Funding sources include angel investors, crowdfunding, and sites like Kabbage.com.
Funding allows you to provide the next key ingredient. Shape a business around the app. Build the company with the end in mind. A clear vision is beneficial because acquisitions occur between organizations not technologies. Even if you don’t want to sell your app, you will build a great business.
Create an infrastructure that allows the business to grow and thrive. The Guide To Starting A Successful App Business: Tips and Resources, published by Victor Balasa provides insight into how to structure the business and monetize the app.
The next ingredient calls for a lean operation. Keep the business profitable and growing. This way you are more attractive to buyers. Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startup, explains that companies can create order, not chaos by providing tools to test a vision continuously. Ries suggests, “Lean isn't simply about spending less money. Lean isn't just about failing fast, failing cheaply. It is about putting a process, a methodology around the development of a product.”
Getting customers to download the app is difficult. The fourth ingredient is to promote the app and maximize the number of downloads. Sell as much and as often as possible. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, there are more than three million apps available. Apps began focused on engagement, today acquisition and conversion are paramount. The local app market requires a strategic plan. It is also important to broaden your reach to a global stage, including the Japanese and Chinese app market. High download and retention numbers are attractive to buyers.
Use the funding to improve the app speed and technology. Keep track of the analytics to manage the version updates. It is important to track downloads, users, session times, repeat users, and factors that monetize the app.
By adding the other ingredients, you will likely run a strong, growing business. The final ingredient is the most important. Do not run out of capital before a sale occurs. If you are not interested in selling, consider acquiring apps similar in nature to create a healthy portfolio, (i.e. health, fitness, fashion, or gaming).
The next step is to do it again. There are always problems to solve. Build a portfolio of apps. An app portfolio is more attractive to buyers. By adding all six ingredients, you will have an infrastructure in place to secure, shape, and sell the apps seamlessly.
Sapphire White, Graduate Student
Master of Arts in Emerging Media
Loyola University Maryland