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Here’s a Quick Way to Validate Your Mobile App Idea in 2017

Don’t wait for someone else to validate your great app idea. Validate it yourself!

So you have an idea for an app. But it’s not just any app idea.

After browsing the App Stores, you realise there’s nothing like your app available. You’ve mentioned the idea in conversation and noticed that others think it would be an awesome app. You’ve defined what your app is all about and envisioned how it will revolutionise the world.

This is exactly what happened to Evan Spiegel in 2012.  He dropped out of Stanford University to focus on his idea for a photo-sharing app. Its main focus: communicating with the full range of human emotion—not just what appears to be perfect or pretty”.

This might have sounded like a great concept back in 2012. But was that all it took for Evan to go ‘all-in’ on his app idea? What made him think his idea would stand out from apps like Facebook and Instagram? How did he know there were smartphone users looking for a photo-sharing app like his?

Before you start investing time and money to make your startup dreams come true, you need to spend the time upfront validating what your app idea could truly become. Idea validation helps you to not only save time and money, but also focus your efforts on building an app that people want to use and increases your chances of creating a successful app startup.

This is what Evan Spiegel did in 2012 before leaving college to focus on his app startup called Snapchat. Validating Snapchat back then may not have shown that it’d be worth $20 Billion and the third-most popular social network in less than five years, but it did allow Evan to move forward with confidence in the market demand and long-term viability of his innovative app idea.

That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you validate whether your app can generate revenue, attract users and allow you to join the wave of successful app entrepreneurs in 2017.

Even if you’re not too ‘tech savvy’ or just taking your first step towards entrepreneurship, this complete guide will take you from the initial concept of your app idea all the way to its successful launch.

 

App Developer Melbourne

 

Step 1 – Establish the basics of your business model

Identify your target users and find out if your idea is profitable.

Having a great app idea is definitely a cool ‘eureka’ moment to have, but without a workable business model, your idea is likely going to stay in that moment rather than becoming a successful reality.

Since your app is a startup that you want to generate constant, sustainable revenue from, there are a few things you need to clear right from the get-go:

  • The type of app you want to develop
  • Who your target user is
  • If your target user even wants your app
  • Whether to develop your app for iOS, Android or both
  • Keeping your app localised or going global

Once you can define this foundation of your app’s business model, you can then move forward with confidence to the actual development phase. This is way better than hastily moving forward with an app idea you think is amazing, only to find out that not many other people feel the same way.

 

Primary Research

The best way to identify your target audience is through market research. Understanding the motivations and behaviours of potential users helps you find out the market demand for your app. This will also help you determine that sort of app to develop.

A cost-effective way to discover what prospective users think is by creating user persona models. As part of our Rocketfuel Workshops with budding app entrepreneurs, we create user personas to better understand the needs of target users. We then place the created personas into scenarios to find out if certain app features are desirable or ineffective in certain situations.

 

Melbourne App Developers

An example user persona featuring the target user’s bio, personality, goals and frustrations. Source: Xtensio

 

Secondary Research

With an initial understanding of your prospective audience, you can refine your target users by conducting secondary research. A variety of published reports and collected data is available online.

Sources like IBISWorld provide up-to-date Market Research reports covering every industry in Australia. Analytic tools like App Annie or Sensor Tower lets you discover the keywords similar apps rank for. This allows you to find out if people are actually looking for an app like yours.

With all this gathered research data, you can now move forward to determine the best platform/s for your app.

 

iOS, Android or both?

As you establish the business model for your innovative mobile app idea, you’ll undoubtedly have to consider whether to develop the app for Apple iOS, Google’s Android operating system, or both.

If you’re looking to build for one platform first then here’s what you need to know: iOS apps are always more profitable and get greater exposure than Android apps. This is due to iPhone and iPad users spending more on apps and Apple streamlining its process for developing and launching iOS apps in the App Store.

 

App Development Australia

iOS worldwide app store revenue has been consistently higher than Google Play’s over the past three years. Source: Apple Insider

 

So if your main focus is increase revenue and efficiency in the development process, create an app for iOS.

 

To localise or not localise

When you localise an app, you are tailoring it to suit a certain country, region or continent, whether through language, design and/or marketing. During the initial idea stage, you may choose to target a small market within your home country that can expand over time – but herein lies the problem.

According to eMarketer, there are now over 2 billion smartphones users worldwide. That’s a potential market of 2 billion people. If you don’t localise your app to the societal and cultural traits of other world regions, you dramatically reduce your potential market penetration.

App Development

 

If you’re an Australian App Entrepreneur wanting to keep your app’s appeal domestic, consider this: With roughly 15 million smartphone users nationally, Australia contributes less than 1% of the overall app market share. Your app is already missing out on a vast majority of potential customers if you don’t localise it.

Plan to localise your app globally in places that lead the way in app use and consumption. With a solid localisation strategy as part of your app’s business model, now comes the prototyping phase.

 

Step 2 – Put your idea down on paper

Think about your app’s users and what features they need.

If you’ve got great app ideas you truly believe will be a success, write them down. Whether it’s app name options or wireframe sketches, jotting down your ideas will help you to think more creatively.

As you’re putting pen to paper, be sure to pay close attention to your users. Think about the audience you will be designing the app for and what their user experience will be in-app.

 

The Prototyping Tool

At Launchpad App Development, our user-centric approach to app prototyping is implemented to enhance the usability, convenience and satisfaction from a user’s interaction with our apps. But this process is undertaken once we’ve helped our clients crush assumptions and defined the best way to launch their app’s mobile presence.

So what sort of app prototyping can you do while validating your app idea? It’s important to find yourself a powerful and user-friendly prototyping tool that makes design iterations and experimenting easier. Ideally, the prototyping tool should include the following features:

  • It let’s you design wireframes and mockups simply and quickly
  • It lets you seamlessly share design iterations with your team and developers
  • It’s free to use, but provides an upgrade option if you need more features

During our discovery sessions with clients, my go-to prototyping tool is InVision. InVision is free to use and allows you to turn your App Idea into an interactive, clickable Mobile prototype.

 

There are so many user-friendly prototyping tools available that it would be in your best interest to try out a couple of them to find out which one is best for you and your workflow. Some other excellent prototyping tools I recommend are Fluid UI and Marvel as you can learn how to use them in an intuitive and fast manner. The upside of “test driving” a few of them is that you’ll end up with the best fit to visualise your app idea.

 

Step 3 – Find a great app developer

The qualities to look for in a great development partner.

There are certain qualities that make excellent technical partners truly stand out. Besides coding talent, they need people with mobile product experience. They should have Innovative UI/UX Designers and attentive Quality Assurance (QA) testers that work together to produce brilliant mobile apps. A great development partner provides you with experts across all these areas that work in parallel to iterate quickly and deploy efficiently.

 

How to Find that Perfect Partner

When you’re in the process of choosing an app development company, what you’re really choosing is a partner that will collaborate with you to transform your innovative idea into a successful app. To find that ideal app development partner, look for these characteristics:

  1. A beautiful portfolio – Their work should feature attractive apps that provide user-friendly and intuitive mobile experiences. This is a sign of their mobile UX and UI design
  2. Genuine interest in your app – They should have collaborated with lots of entrepreneurs and different app startups. As a result, they’ll be able to provide supplementary creative input from all their development experience.
  3. Not the cheapest – Your main focus should not be to save money – it should be to design and develop a brilliant app. The best partner will cost more than the cheapest developer, but this will ensure that you are giving your app the best chance of startup success once launched so that you achieve the best possible ROI.
  4. A detailed product strategy process – Their initial discovery session should be to capture the essence of what your app will do and understand the outcomes you want to achieve. From there, they should start strategically planning the key drivers to generating revenue and making your app a success.
  5. Open to collaboration – Trust forms so much faster when working side by side with your development partner. That’s why a great partner will always be willing to co-innovate with clients to promote brainstorming, problem-solving and constant communication throughout the app development process.

When you’ve found that perfect partner that understands your app vision, provides a product strategy to make it better, and can help you throughout the whole development process, you’re ready to transform your app from an innovative idea into a successful reality!

 

Before you validate your app idea…

It’s one thing to have an innovative idea for an app, but it’s another thing entirely to turn it into a popular, moneymaking reality that people download from the App Store.

If you have a brilliant idea, it could very well be the foundation for the next big app startup. By following these steps, you will give yourself the best opportunity to find out your app idea’s potential.

Ready to build a successful app startup?

Book a free 1-hour discovery session with one of our Launchpad specialists to define the next steps for your concept.

 

Australian App Developers

 

7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

There has been a rise in female entrepreneurs (also known as fempreneurs) not only in Australia but also around the world. Similarly to the success of app entrepreneurs, which we looked at previously, startup success starts with having the big idea coupled with the determination towards turning their vision into a reality. Today we’ll be focusing on 7 female entrepreneurs who took their passion and disrupted the industry with their business idea.

 

Related: 7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

 

1. Justine Flynn – Thankyou

Justine Flynn is the co-founder of Thankyou, a social enterprise in Australia, where proceeds of its product sales are donated to help developing countries. Created in 2008, the idea came about when the founders saw an opportunity of the high bottled water consumption in Australia to tackle the water crisis. Thankyou has expanded their product lines to beauty, food and baby care, which are stocked in 5,000 outlets in Australia. They’ve raised over $3 million for projects, giving over 100,000 people access to water and food across 17 countries.

 

 

 

2. Whitney Wolfe – Bumble

Whitney Wolfe is the founder of social and dating app, Bumble, which is similar to Tinder (co-founded by Whitney) but with a twist. In the app, females make the first move and are the only ones who can start conversations with males. Additionally, matches disappear if the other user doesn’t reply within 24 hours. The app was created to challenge the dating rule of males starting the conversation. Since launch in December 2014, Bumble has more than 10 million users, more than 50 billion swipes and has been named dating app of the year at the US Dating Awards.

 

 

 

3. Jodie Fox – Shoes of Prey

Jodie Fox is one of the co-founders of Shoes of Prey, an online retail shop startup. It started in 2009 in Sydney and offers fully customisable shoes. Customers are able to choose details like shape, colour, and material. Jodie got the idea after being unable to find shoes that matched her preferences. She then wanted to give the same experiences to others. Shoes of Prey have received more than $20 million in funding and won multiple awards at the Telstra Business Awards.

 

 

 

4. Marcela Sapone – Hello Alfred

Marcela Sapone co-founded an on-demand app called Hello Alfred,  which is the Uber of butler services. Users are assigned a butler that completes household chores and tasks they want to be done through the platform. The app idea came when Marcela was unable to do chores because of late work hours in Harvard Business School. Since launching in Boston in 2013, Hello Alfred has raised more than $11 million in funding, won TechCrunch’s Disrupt Startup Competition. Marcela was also listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

 

 

 

5. Genevieve George – OneShift

Genevieve George is the founder of OneShift, an online job marketplace for casual, permanent or shift work. The platform functions differently to other job marketplaces. Users create a profile and are matched with jobs based on the information they provide. The startup idea came from previous experiences of applying for jobs and working at a cafe. Genevieve wanted to make it easier for small businesses to hire and people to apply for jobs. Since 2012, OneShift raised $4.7 million in funding. They’ve also won multiple awards, such as the 2013 E-business, innovation and enterprise award. Genevieve also made the top 50 emerging leaders of 2015 list.

 

 

6. Jane Lu – Showpo

Jane Lu is the CEO and founder of the online fashion startup, Showpo. The store ships female clothing at affordable prices to 45 countries around the world. The idea came as a result of Jane wanting a career change and being unable to find stores that offered affordable on-trend clothing with fast shipping. Since starting in a garage in 2010, Showpo is now worth $10 million and awards, such as Smart Company’s Top Retailer of the Year and BRW Fast Starters. In addition, Jane has won multiple entrepreneurial awards like Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and SmartCompany’s Hot 30 under 30.

 

 

 

7. Lisa Falzone – Revel Systems

Lisa Falzone is the CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, a point of sale system that operates on iPad. The POS system enables a more efficient and smooth transaction process for customers and small businesses. The idea came when Lisa went out to restaurants selling an app, noticing that they used outdated, bulky and inefficient POS systems. Since launch in 2010, Revel Systems have raised $127.3 million in funding. They’ve also won the Tabby Award for Best Retail System. Lisa also won numerous entrepreneurial awards, such as EY Entrepreneurial Women, Forbes’ 40 under 40 and Business Insider’s’ 30 Most Important Women Under 30.  

 

 

Do you know any other kick ass female entrepreneurs?
Let us know on social media!

7 Government Grants to Boost your Startup in 2017

With two weeks left of 2016, you might have some new year resolutions for your startup. One of your list priorities most likely would be to enhance your operations. Whether it’s finding investors or creating a mobile app, receiving government grants might be a high priority.

With the various grants offered by the Australian Government and the latest Innovation Agenda launching, 2017 will be a great opportunity for you to apply for some grants. In this post, we’ll be identifying grants that will help kick start your startup in the new year.

 

1. Entrepreneur’s Programme

 

The Entrepreneur’s Programme is an initiative that helps entrepreneurs and startups support and develop their innovative ideas or concepts. Through this initiative, entrepreneurs get access to networks and support from advisors and facilitators in the relevant industries.
Applications for this grant have no due date are on-going. You’ll need to apply for the elements separately on the official government program website.

The Benefits:

This program helps your startup achieve business grow through assistance with the following aspects:

  • Product/Service commercialisation (Accelerating Commercialisation):  This element of the program will give your startup the boost to launch your idea into the market. You’ll get a strategy of commercialising your products with an experienced adviser. The element will also help you offer partnering opportunities and access to a network of experts. If you go ahead and undertake a commercialisation project you can gain a grant of 50 percent expenditure of up to $1 million.
  • Business Analysis (Business Management): An experienced advisor analyst will go through business strategies, direction and provide recommendations to improve your startup’s abilities. You’ll receive a tailored plan which will help your startup increase competitiveness and growth. With this element you can also apply for a Business Growth grant of up to $20,000 after meeting with a service provider to fund your improvement projects.
  • Business gap analysis (Innovation Connections): You’ll be able to identify knowledge gaps that are restricting your startup from achieving growth from expert innovation facilitators. These facilitators will also help you identify opportunities to get your ideas research new ideas and provide other business service packages. There’s also an innovation grant available if you decide to undertake a product research project of up to $50,000.

 

2. Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF)

 

Launching sometime in 2017, the Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF) is a new initiative by the Australian Government that allows startups and  entrepreneurs crowd from the public of up to $5 million each year. To get your funding you’ll need to submit a CSEF document that contains information about your business and purpose, through an intermediary with a Financial Services License.

The Benefits

This is great for startups who have a ground breaking idea or product but need lots of funding to get it implemented.

The CSEF is still in development but if you want to keep up to date with the latest news you can subscribe for updates on the Australian Government site.

 

3. Small Business Grants Program – City of Melbourne

 

To support creativity and innovation, the City of Melbourne offers grants to startups that have a market ready product or service.

There are four grant categories: Startup, Business Expansion, Export and Business Support, however you can only apply for one category per round.

Your application will be assessed on Innovation and Creativity (23%), Business readiness (25%), Financial viability (20%), How it benefits the City of Melbourne (20%), Ethical and other considerations (5%).

The Benefits:

You can receive up to $30,000 to boost your startup and help you with business expansion. In addition there are also $10,000 grants to help export your products overseas and expand in new markets.

To be eligible, your startup needs to be located in the Melbourne CBD area or planning to move there in the future. Your team can only have up to 20 staff members, have an ABN, proposals and other documents.

Applications will open in June 2017, so now will be a good time to plan your application early.

 

4. Landing Pads

 

Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to travel and work in coworking spaces for 90 days overseas in areas known for innovation. Currently there two areas in operation; San Francisco and Tel Aviv, with plans of Landing Pads in Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.

To apply you’ll need to fill in the application form online, which asks for personal details and answer pre-requisite questions about your startup, e.g. your key objectives, how you differentiate from others.

The Benefits:

Applying for Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to gain market knowledge, improve your  products designs and network with other startups overseas. Additionally, you get access to training, coaching and investor networking opportunities.

You’ll be fully supported from Austrade when overseas and after returning home. Here, Austrade will further provide assistance by introducing you to other service providers, corporate and government agencies.

Applications are ongoing and offered each time Landing Pads are available. You can reapply if you are not successful the first time around.

 

5. Grow your business – Victoria

 

Grow Your Business is similar to the Entrepreneur’s Programme but only available to startups in Victoria. The program gives your startup funding for attending planning and management services on offer. There are different program categories, consisting of development plans, strategic review, mentoring, group and network programs.

Each category has different criteria, which you can find here.

Applications are ongoing and are done online.

The Benefits:

These grants will help you cover costs for a certain amount of the project, which varies depending on category.

The Business Development Plan and Mentoring covers up to 50% of total projects of up to $7,500. The Business Strategic Review covers up to 75%, up to $4,000 and Group and Network projects covering up to 75% of a cost up to $15,000.

Your operations and strategies will be analysed and reviewed. You’ll get reports on your business and areas of improvements so that you can maintain long-term growth. Finally, this program helps you enhance your management and business skills maximise your competitiveness overseas.

 

6. Research & Development Tax Incentive

 

The Research & Development Tax Incentive will help your startup relieve costs with the help of a tax offset. The grant provides startups 45 cents back from every dollar spent on R&D but only if they earn under $20 million in a year. The minimum spending of R&D is $20,000 and you’ll need to provide supporting documents. As long as you’re actively trying to find solutions to problems  with products, you can apply even if you’re not in the tech industry.

Applications are done online and the deadline is 10 months after the end of a company’s year.

The Benefits:

This will most benefit new startups or those without sales as you’ll receive 45% back from Research & Development expenditure, such as wages for personnel working on projects. Additionally, R&D will enable you to enhance your products and achieve solutions. This grant will be a big help in the idea validation and product research stage of your startup.

7. Export Market Development Grant

 

This Grant gives reimbursements for exporting marketing activities and creating new markets. There are a whole range of categories you can claim, from marketing consultants, overseas trade shows  and free samples. This grant is mainly for startups who actively promote their products or services overseas.

Applications are done online but currently closed and expected to reopen sometime next year.

The Benefits:

You can get back up to 50 percent of expenses as long as they are at least $15,000. As a result, the Export Market Development Grant enables you to spend more money on promotional activities. Your startup will be able to explore more markets overseas and also reduce the financial risk of international business activity.

 

emmas-journeyAn example of how grants can help boost your startup

Takeaways

With these 7 government grants, you can be well on your way towards reaching your goal of boosting your startup in the new year. A final word of advice, as you start preparing your applications for each grant remember to incorporate what the Government is looking for in startups. For instance, in the Landing Pads program, the Government is looking for startups that have vision, market relevance, scalability, differentiation and traction.

 

Have you applied for any government grants in 2016? Which grants will you apply for in 2017? Let us know on our Facebook page.

 

4 Mobile App Trends for 2017

What a year it has been, time has definitely flown by! We’re at the business end of 2016 and about to welcome 2017 in a few weeks.

There have been a lot of interesting and exciting things happen in the world of mobile apps this year. We’ve seen the rise of On-Demand apps, live streaming on social media platforms, which we predicted. Additionally, we saw the booming of augmented reality through Pokémon Go.

As the barriers of innovation continue to be pushed with breakthroughs in mobile technology, there will be more to come in the new year ahead. Without further ado here are the mobile app trends we predict will happen in 2017.

1. Increased Adoption of Mobile Payment

Smartphones have made it easier and more convenient for us to shop and checkout. They are now an alternative to credit cards and cash, becoming the most popular payment method. There are various mobile wallets and payment apps available, such as PayPal, Apple’s Passbook and Samsung Pay.

From current observations, mobile payments are expected to increase and become more common. It is estimated that in 2017, total payments by mobile will comprise of $60 billion.

This is most likely due to the increase of the app adoption rate within businesses and industries, such as Hospitality. Companies, such as Domino’s, Taco Bell and Starbucks, have already implemented apps, which payment occurs. It is expected that more businesses will follow and create their own apps, such as McDonald’s.


What this could mean for businesses is that they will need to modify their current payment methods by 
adopting apps or try to find a way to make payments easier.

starbucks-my-rewards

Starbucks’ mobile app has been very successful

2. The Internet of Things App Revolution

According to an article by Business Insider, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network that consists of devices that can connect to the internet. Examples of devices include mobile devices, buildings, electrical appliances, smart vehicles and smart houses.

p

An overview of IoT

While the total IoT objects this year was 17.68 billion globally, it will further trend in 2017 and become even bigger in the future.  According to an analysis from Intel, it is estimated that the number will rise to 200 billion objects by 2020.

In the future, IoT apps will enable us to lock doors, track inventory and record health reports all on our smartphone. It will be widely used among different industries, such as retail, health, IT, manufacturing and security.

Users of IoT technology will be adopted by various entities, such as governments, but a majority being businesses. This is because of its benefits, such as increasing productivity, lowering costs and increasing innovation.

guide-to-iot-infographicThe Internet of Things (IoT) will be massive in the future

Some of the most popular IoT technologies we expect to be prevalent are in the areas of security, analytics and device management. For instance, beacon technology is a popular tool that is used in the mobile apps of businesses, especially retailers. Essentially, it enables them to gain analytics on consumers, track where they are and push personalised promotions.

3. The Continued Rise of Enterprise Apps

With a positive outlook in Australia’s mobile app development industry, we’ve seen an increase in the adoption of mobile apps by businesses this year, especially in Hospitality, as mentioned previously. In 2017,  it is expected that there will be a major increase of custom-made enterprise apps being developed for businesses.

More businesses are contributing more investments in the mobile tools market that it is approaching $5.5 billion. The demand for enterprise apps is expected to be so big that by the end of 2017, enterprise apps will outgrow the businesses’ IT capacity to deliver them.

One of the main reasons is due to businesses moving towards increasing productivity and efficiency through being more mobile in the workplace. Currently, the use of tablet in business is growing. By 2017, 900 million tablets will be used by enterprises, with 70% being used for business purposes.

enterprise_mobility_trends_in_2016We will expect to see a move towards mobility in the workplace

4. Increase of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) apps

While Augmented Reality hasn’t been mainstream in the past, it has definitely taken off this year with the release of widely acclaimed mobile game, Pokémon GO. As a result of its success, Augmented Reality apps will get bigger next year and beyond.

In fact, the total revenue in VR and AR market was an estimated amount of $5.2 billion this year and will be expected to grow to $162 billion in 2020. As more developers realise the capabilities of Augmented Reality, mobile apps will expand beyond gaming and move into the business environment.

We suspect to see these AR apps used in industries mainly health, retail and fashion to enhance customer experience. There will most likely be apps where consumers can virtually try on products. This is what cosmetics giant, Sephora implemented at the start of this year.

In addition, Virtual Reality apps are also expected to increase next year. It is estimated that the number of Virtual Reality user will reach 171 million by 2018. This may result from the affordability of mobile VR headsets. They can range from $15 to high-end headsets, costing around the $200 mark

While Virtual Reality will be used mainly by mobile games, it will also used by businesses to implement innovative operations. For instance, apps that allow users to watch events though VR or shop online in a Virtual Reality department store.

virtual_realityVirtual Reality is predicted to be even bigger in 2017 and beyond

Key Takeaways:

2017 is going to be an even bigger year with lots of opportunities for mobile apps, especially for businesses. As more consumers are making payment using their mobile, more businesses will move towards mobile payment to increase convenience and remain competitive.

With the focus of mobility, increasing productivity and lowering costs,  there will be an emphasis on enterprise apps and the Internet of things. Finally, Virtual and Augmented Reality will continue to be used by businesses and immerse consumers.

What app trends do you think will arise next year?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.