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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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The Top 6 Traits of Game-Changing Entrepreneurs

No two people are identical, just like no great tennis or basketball champions are ever the same. What they do have in common are certain characteristics that set them apart from the rest.

It’s these certain skills and traits that allow them to surpass the average sportsperson and become the best. It may be amazing hand-eye coordination or incredible athleticism, both of which are vital to be a great sportsperson. I believe the same can be said for entrepreneurs. The art of being an entrepreneur might not involve skills as tangible as athleticism, but there are consistent characteristics that all successful entrepreneurs must possess. Below are the 6 skills and traits that separate the entrepreneurial greats from the rest.

 

1. Invest in self

The most lucrative investment one can make, financially or otherwise, is investing in their ability and knowledge. Many of the great entrepreneurs of our time stress that success in business is not based on academic credentials, but instead achievement through self-education. Entrepreneurs often define it more broadly as a burning desire to continuously better themselves and always being proactive in improving their skills and knowledge.

All great entrepreneurs invest time in reading, learning and mastering their skills in their field of work. As Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin said “I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – everyday I’m learning something new”. They realise that every piece of information learnt is an opportunity, and passing it up may just give the competition the edge they need to get in front.

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Continually educating yourself by reading books, online blogs (like this one), academic articles and, most importantly, learning from other successful people will keep you ahead of the game. Remember, YOU are the most important asset of your business.

 

2. Self confidence

If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Most entrepreneurs agree that at the start of a venture no one will see your dreams and ideas as you will. Yet they ignore the naysayers and have confidence in what they truly believe they can achieve. No one will sit behind you telling you what your vision will look like and how you should strive to achieve greatness except for yourself.

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Source: Forbes

 

3. Time Management

The ability to manage your time is essential for any entrepreneur. This is especially true in small businesses or startup ventures. It’s about managing your time to create space where you might not have originally thought possible.

A common problem that all entrepreneurs face is not having enough time. People assume that everything has to be done by themselves, when in reality, there won’t be enough time to do so. Especially in the early days when you may be trying to juggle a full time job, family and other commitments.

“Entrepreneurs understand that one person cannot do everything themselves.”

Being able to delegate tasks to others, when you may not have the time or the skill set to do is also a main component in time management. A good entrepreneur realises that they will not be the best at everything. Being able to identify strong points in others and delegating them tasks where they might be more efficient than you will free up time to be able to focus on other important tasks.

 

4. Salesmanship

Your ideas are only as good as your pitch. You have to sell your concept and ideas whether it’s pitching your idea to potential investors or negotiating business direction with business partners or other stakeholders. It’s no good having the answer to one of the world’s problems if you can’t sell your solution to the people you need to win over to make it happen. You also have to create a need for the customers to buy your product/service and it has to show a clear solution to a problem they pose.

Not only do entrepreneurs have to create the sale they also have to be able to keep everyone happy. Research shows that for most businesses, revenue comes from about 80% of recurring customers and only 20% from newcomers. This is certainly true for mobile apps.

The apps that generate the highest revenue are free to download and the revenue often comes from small subscription fees, in-app purchases or ads designed to continue users to spend. This is why customer satisfaction is the highest priority in business because in the end, it’s the customers that dictate whether you succeed or fail.

 

5. Perseverance

A good entrepreneur sees their vision with crystal clarity and never lets failure or naysayers get in the way. Failing is a part of life and most definitely a part of business. You may learn some of your greatest lessons by failing and as long as you have the perseverance to keep going each failure will become a stepping stone closer to success.

Business is a long distance marathon, not a sprint. If you have ever had the chance to speak with someone who participates in long distance running they will tell you that it’s your mind that will try and give out on you first, not your legs. The same can be said when it comes to entrepreneurship.

 

6. Inner Drive

Entrepreneurs possess a passion for success beyond that of the average person. Whether they had a tough childhood, coming from a household where money was a rare commodity or they were given all the tools from a young age to do well in life. Entrepreneurs have a deep inner drive that pushes them past the expectations of that of an average person.

No one can tell you to dig deeper and push harder then the next guy. Well, they can, but probably to no avail. It’s the true passion for their work or the crazy idea that they can change the world and make a difference that is the driving force that keeps an entrepreneur’s inner fire burning. Consistently striving to better themselves and their businesses.

One day you’ll look back on your life and ask yourself these questions: What did I contribute to society? How has my existence affected the people I co-inhabited this earth with? Will the mark I leave behind hinder or improve the world for generations to come? True entrepreneurs are answering these questions at work everyday.

So do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? If all these points resonate with you then I you are already on your way to entrepreneurial success! If not, there’s still time! You’re reading this blog because you want more from yourself.  Above all else, it is your inner drive that truly defines your success.