Apps are big business these days, and why not? Just look at these numbers:
- Apple’s $400 million acquisition of Shazam, an app for identifying songs
- Atlassian’s $425 million acquisition of Trello
- Cisco’s $3.7 billion acquisition of AppDynamics, an application analytics firm
- Intel’s $15.3 billion acquisition of Israeli driverless car firm Mobileye
These headlines are just the tip of the iceberg. There’ve been plenty of big-ticket acquisitions around the world. Makes you want to reach for that slice of this delicious pie.
But, before you hop on to the app-making bandwagon, here are a few pointers you must consider to gauge whether your app idea is a profitable one or not.
Your app should solve a problem
All the best apps in the world have succeeded because they have solved a specific problem.
- Signal solved privacy issues by offering a complete end-to-end encryption
- WhatsApp made communication faster and easier
- Spotify made streaming music a buzz
- Airbnb made leasing and renting apartments cheaper and easier
- Uber made 24×7 cab hailing and ride sharing a buzz
There can also be different approaches to solving a particular problem in an effective and a cheaper way. So, it’s not necessary that your app should be the first one. After all, competition is always good in any venture.
So, understand the ins and outs of the market you are trying to create or operate in your ideation phase and then move on to the next phase.
Your app should be a potential market fit
While it sounds really good to market your app’s USP, you must also ensure if that USP resonates with the potential users. We all tend to think things from our perspective and do not always consider others’ perspectives into account. Other people’s candid opinions go a long way to help you in validating your app idea as well as minimize your mistakes.
It might also help you discover a totally different need altogether. Take, for instance, these apps, which can be termed downright quirky as they discovered a need that we never knew existed earlier:
- Drunk Locker App – this app locks all your social media or any other frequently used apps after you’re dead drunk to save you from the embarrassment of drunk texting and calling.
- Kwit App – this paid app makes ‘quit smoking’ sound a lot more fun with earned points and achievements that help you save money.
- LastPass App – how many of us frequently forget the unending number of passwords in our life? This app is like a locker that keeps all your passwords safe.
- I Can’t Wake Up! App – We all are tired of hitting the snooze button of our alarms. This app offers you 8 wake-up games/puzzles. Once you choose a puzzle, the alarm won’t stop until you solve it.
- Things I Didn’t Buy (TIDB) App – this cool app lets you capture all the unwanted stuff you end up buying. At the end of the month, you can total the amount and see how much you could have saved.
- Carrot Fit App – this app makes you lose weight fast if you’re the type who can take criticism in your stride! It makes snarky, sarcastic remarks on your body and weight so that you negatively feel motivated to lose those extra pounds.
When in doubt, create an MVP
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. Now, let’s break this down and see what it means:
- Minimum means a ragged, simple and bad product that no one wants to use; however, you will need a minimum amount of resources to create such a product.
- Viable means a product which is useful, interesting, fast, has a beautiful design and takes a lot of money, time and efforts to make.
So, basically what you want is a product that has minimal features, solves a particular problem, and allows you to spend minimum resources to get your first users. That’s an MVP for you.
It allows you to better understand the needs of your audience and build your app around it. It’ll not only help you minimize your development cost and test your business project in a real-time setup, but also help you save time, get crucial feedback, and your first paying customers without going bankrupt!
If you’re looking for a famous example of a startup that started with an MVP before they made it big, read the story of Airbnb. Co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia had no money to pay a rent, so they decided to offer their apartments as a cheap accommodation to participants of their hometown conference. What MVP did they design? A very simple website with photos of their flat!
You are good to go – build your brand & promote your app
Now that you’ve come past the MVP stage, it’s time to let the world know that you exist! This is an important as well as a difficult step because your job is not over yet. In a world deluged with information, getting out there will take significant investment.
Try various channels – reach out to your friends, acquaintances, blog, visit various social media forums and channels where you can look for an organic and polite way to post it. In short, go through the whole charade.