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Thinking about starting a startup?

Or maybe you’re looking to work for a startup?

 

In both cases, you may be wondering what that means. A startup is a newly established business. Starting from scratch and building their way up.

Startups provide a different culture and experience to a traditional job. It’s exciting, it’s different and it’s rapidly changing.

However, there may be some obstacles along the way. From our startup to yours. Here are some tips we found.

Cover Image Source: tagove.com

No Market Need

Image Source: linkedin.com

 

What do all successful startups have in common?

 

Their product or service solves a consumer problem or fills a consumer need.

 

So you have to ask yourself, what problem does my startup solve?

Really, what need does it fill?

 

This can’t be you convincing yourself it does this thing for a certain person. Your assumption could be a problem for your company.

 

So how do you fix that?

 

Do your research, go out there and survey people. Find out if this is something that they would be interested in. Something they would use. It doesn’t have to be stopping people on the street. It can be asking friends and family. Or creating online surveys and polls.

 

Get out of the building and test your assumption!

Financial Problems

Image Source: ginsberg-gingras.com

 

You might be rolling your eyes at this one. Obviously, this is a common reason why startup companies fail. If a company runs out of cash, they are done. Thanks, Captain Obvious!

 

But let’s look at why companies run out of cash?

 

Bad planning is often the biggest reason. Because of not accurately estimating your company runway. Runway being your current cash position divided by your monthly cash burn.

 

Or your burn rate has increased due to reckless spending. Both for the business and outside of it.  Yes, you’ve worked hard, but your trip to Las Vegas might have to go on hold.

 

Many companies are underfunded.  This may be because they didn’t receive financial assistance. So get out there and make your pitch to everyone that will listen!

Competition

Image Source: lawtechnologytoday.org

 

Creating something that someone else is making?

 

Or maybe you’re not first to market?

 

You are going to get competition. Competition is always hard. It means you’re likely going to have to spend more money.

 

Especially if they are a bigger or more established company. These companies may have bigger budgets to throw at their research and development.

 

Bigger budgets for customer service and marketing. And likely a brand name that people know, or have bought from. That means they are more likely to buy from them again.

 

To compete you have to make sure your product quality remains high. Selling a cheap product to undercut prices, may turn off customers. Word gets around through the internet. Because today, online reviews are a standard.

 

So don’t ruin your idea!

 

Sell them on your idea, sell them on your vision.

 

Align your wants and needs to the customers. Sell them on the journey.

 

If a customer feels as if this product aligns with them, they are more likely to buy it. Or they may see the journey you have been through, with the hard work. That might make them buy from you.

Pricing issues

Image Source: elegantthemes.com

 

Choosing the price to sell your product is tough. If you set the price too high, it won’t be affordable to some. Set the price too low and you might not make enough revenue.

 

If the price is set too high it might be seen as a premium product. If it’s set too low it might be seen as cheap.

 

It seems like you can’t win!

 

The only way you’ll know is with research. See what the competitors charge for their similar product. Survey and talk to your prospective consumers. See what they would be willing to pay for your product.

 

Pricing can change over time too. Price it low at the start, if it’s popular or successful, raise the price. If the product is not doing well, lower the price.

Poor Product

Image Source: pinterest.com

 

The product idea might be brilliant. It could be the next Facebook. But that won’t matter if the app isn’t properly bug tested. Bugs in apps frustrate and annoy users.

 

Some bugs users can put up with.

 

But bugs that close or make the app not usable will make users uninstall it. Make sure to properly bug test the app. If hiring the bug testers is too expensive, send out a beta version of the app. Incentivise beta users to give feedback on the problems they are finding.

 

Another reason it could be a poor product is that it was just poorly designed. Again, it could be the best idea, but if it doesn’t make sense to use, it won’t succeed.

 

Make sure the app flows. Make sure that the app makes logical sense.

Where is everyone?

Image Source: metro.co.uk

 

Imagine you’ve made your product or app. But you haven’t gone any further than just making it.

You’ve just thought “build it and they will come”. But they won’t always come. It might be the perfect app, but if no one knows, it likely won’t take off.

 

The app needs to be marketed. Create awareness for your product!

 

You’ve worked so hard on it, so don’t skip the marketing.

 

Be creative with your marketing, try something new like viral or guerrilla campaigns.

 

Doing something that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Lack of passion

Image Source: dailymail.co.uk

 

If you’re doing this for money, it’s going to be rough. I mean, starting a startup is usually rough anyway. It’s a lot of work. But you do it because you believe in the idea. You are passionate about your product or app.

 

You want to make the best product you can because it’s yours.

 

But if you are you here for the money, there isn’t that drive. There isn’t that passion. I’m not saying it’s impossible because it isn’t.

 

Many people have done it. Many will create a product or service just to make a profit. But they won’t have the same experience as someone creating for passion.

 

These are the reasons we found were most prevalent when start-ups fail.

 

There are much more, these are just a generalisation. But still, I hope you take this advice and go and start your start-up!

 

Like I said, it’s weird, it’s stressful, it’s a lot of work. However, it’s going to feel less like work, as it’s not your standard job.

 

So if you’d like to take your first step, contact the Launchpad quote page. We at Launchpad specialise in creating apps for small start-up companies. Let us take this journey with you!

 

Have you heard of Design Thinking? It’s consumer-centric design process. Curious about it and how it can be applied to your business?

 

Please read our blog, here.

 

Before you start your tech startup

Cover Image Source: pinterest.com

So you’ve got your million dollar idea, you’re calling up app developers. In your head, you’re hiring your friends and planning your end of year business trip to Europe. Next thing you know you’re driving your supercar to your multi-million dollar house.

But let’s step on the brakes there.

What do we need to do before you get to this point?

You’re going to need a business model. I’m sorry, it doesn’t sound as exciting as all the stuff I mentioned before. But how else are you going to get there?

A business plan is essential to the success of any business.

Plan the plan

Image Source: dlplanningguide.com

What does that even mean?

Well, you can’t just make the plan and hope for the best!

Who is this plan for? Does it have more than one purpose? Is it for internal use or is it for others to see? If a third party is seeing this, what do you have to achieve from them reading it?

Plan to write your summary last, because you have to keep it on message, keep it concise. You want to make sure there isn’t anything you’ve missed.

As if you write the summary first, you may add something or change something further in the plan.

The summary is going to be for anyone who is going to read this, investors, partners and developers. The summaries purpose is to get them on board with the idea before they read anymore.

Research

Image Source: myelin.org

Do your research. Just do it. Nike.

No, unrelated, my bad. Doing the research, however, isn’t unrelated. You’re going to need to make some very serious decisions in your business, all of which must be backed by your research.

Here are some topics you MUST research. There are a few things you don’t have to do, unfortunately, this isn’t of-of them.

Researching your Potential Customer

Competitor Analysis

Competitive Intelligence

Industry Data

This is just a selection, want to know how you’ll find more? Random guesses.

Wait, no, it’s research. More research.

Business Design

Image Source: workitdaily.com

Branding – Your Core Story

Who is this app for?

What are this apps Unique Selling Point?

What’s the pricing structure?

What is your business structure?

Are you going to have a casual Friday?

Serious stuff! Really. Company culture is important, cultivate it.

It’s a lot of questions, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately. If building a successful business was easy everyone would own one… bottom line it’s not.

Forecasting

Image Source: itserviceanalytics.com

Do your research to create expected figures. Create estimated marketing costs, revenue projections, break-even analysis and profit/loss statements.

Then measure the expected figures to the actual figures, once your startup has taken off.

Don’t do it alone

Image Source: prweb.com

Get some help making your plan, from a friend to a professional. They can all offer something that will help or change your plan.

Professionals like business advisors and accountants. Who offer expertise in an area you may lack. Which is fine, you’ve already come up with a billion dollar idea. Why should you do all the work?

Then, getting your friends and family members to review the business plan. A different set of eyes is very helpful. Having errors in your business plan will detract from a professional image. So having a different person, or multiple people read it, will hopefully find all errors.

Distribute it to everyone, the more people that are happy to review it the better. Unless they take your idea and run with it. Maybe save it for people you trust.

But for everyone else? If you have an idea that you want to be tested out, run surveys, questionnaires and group interviews. Do whatever you have to do in order to validate your idea!

Find out what people want from an app, see if your app idea aligns with their wants and needs. If you don’t have the budget for this, run these polls on social media. Share it in groups that relate to your idea.

Our Recommended Business Plan or Model

Image Source: inc.com

For all entrepreneurs and startups, we recommend a lean canvas business model. Lean canvas business models are a more visual approach, making your information more easy to digest by those reviewing it. Also, it’s called a lean canvas business model because it is a cut-down business model, it’s quicker and easier to create and allows you to quickly adapt. Build-Measure-Learn.

 

Business Plans are dinosaurs used by corporations with unlimited money. Business Models are used by the movers and shakers.

 

All it requires is 9 sections, that we will go through.

Lean Canvas Business Model

 

  • Problem

 

Here you will list your top few problems and how these problems are currently being solved, if possible.

 

  • Customer Segments

This section is where a good chunk of your research to go. Here you list your target customers and their characteristics.

 

  • Unique Value Proposition

Essentially your elevator pitch. A message that turns someone unaware of your app into a prospect. Make sure to make this compelling, clear and concise.

 

  • Solution

For the solution, list all the solutions to your problems, that aren’t being solved already.

 

  • Channels

What are the ways customers will find your product, and from there go to buy/download it?

 

  • Revenue Streams

Where are you going to make money? If we’re talking about an app, is it going to have an upfront cost? Or will it have in-app purchases or advertising? Could be a combination or any or all of those.

 

  • Cost Structure

What are your fixed and variable costs? Fixed costs are things like office rent and computers. But variable costs are things like server hosting, when your downloads and user base increase, likely your server costs will too.

 

  • Key Metrics

What are the ways you’ll be able to show how your business is doing? For an app startup, you would look at downloads, in-app purchases and daily active users.

 

  • Unfair Advantage

What do you have that no one else does? This thing can’t be done by anyone else easily. It’s left until last as it’s the best selling point if you’re trying to get investors onboard.

Get Started!

Image Source: businesssold.com.au

 

A lean canvas business plan shouldn’t take that long, however, it may make or break the success of your app. But it is too valuable and essential to not do.

Even if you think you don’t have enough knowledge now, business plans can be updated. So evolve the business plan as you and your business does.

Have you created a business plan? Maybe you’ve found something you’ve missed. Or maybe you’ve found something I’ve missed. If so, let me know in the comments section below!

So what are you wait for, let’s get started before that house goes!

If you have an app idea you wish to get off the ground, see our quote page for more information!

 

Have you heard of the Internet of Things? It’s the way all of our smart devices can, or will connect up to each other. If you’re curious, read more, here.

 

What is practical design?

Is your app designed for practicality?

Cover Image Source: material.io

As a kid, I remember being so excited to use my new Gameboy. Going to the shops, bringing it home and opening it up.

But then hit with the worst realisation. I have to wait for it to charge.

Charging always took forever. It probably felt like forever, because I sat there staring at it.

Image Source: amazon.com – Not exactly practical.

But nowadays, everything you buy comes charged. Its usable straight out of the box.

That is practical design.

Design for usability. If you’re here you may be looking at getting an app made.

Designing it practically should be front of mind when you design it.

Examples;

Confused? Let me show you a few examples of practical design.

Image Source: uber.com

Take Uber for example. The taxi industry wasn’t a great one. But if you’ve ever caught a taxi, you’ll know that. It didn’t hold the drivers accountable. The drivers could be late, or not show up. They didn’t have to keep their actions in check.

Until Uber came around. Uber (for those living underground) is a ride sharing app. It allows everyone to be a taxi driver. Uber holds the driver AND rider accountable, by reviewing each other.

It’s designed for usability, for both parties.

Image Source: play.google.com

How about Netflix. Netflix is a video streaming service.

Netflix realised the time of gathering around the TV at 7.30 to watch your favourite show was over. It’s impractical, no one has time for that. The ability to watch what you want, whenever you want. No waiting week by week for the next episode. It’s just there, ready for you. It’s obviously working as Netflix has more US subscribers than Cable TV.

Netflix was designed for usability.

Some designs to avoid:

Image Source: bresslergroup.com – If it needs an assistant to be used, it’s not practical.

Image Source: au.pinterest.com – I think I’ll take the stairs. Make it obvious.

Design Thinking

If you haven’t already read it, we have a blog on design thinking, here. But just briefly, Design Thinking is consumer-centric design. Designing with the customer in mind.

To do so, companies put themselves in the consumer’s shoes. They run experiments and surveys to see how consumers react.

Image Source: struber.com.au

There are many tools you can really use to know your consumer. Like user personas and customer journeys. A user persona digs into how the average user of your product or service behaves like.

A customer journey is a journey your consumer goes through to get your product. We have a blog describing them and other design service tools, here. If you follow design thinking, it’ll be easier to design your app for usability.

Practical Design and Apps

Practicality has been thought of in every screen of the app. It has to be thought of in how the app is used, how it flows.

If the app doesn’t make sense, you’ll likely lose users.

Points to consider for the design:

Keep the design consistent

  • Changing the design from screen to screen will likely confuse a user. This could lead to them not wanting to use your app!

Make sure your screens are uncluttered

  • Cluttered screens are bad for your app for a few reasons. A cluttered screen is hard to use. Buttons should be big and obvious. Easy to find and press. If you have to use the corner of your fingernail to press something, you should reconsider your design.
  • Not only that, but a cluttered screen is just unpleasant to look at! You should learn about ‘Whitespace’. Whitespace is required as it offers visual breathing room to your designs.

Make sure the app flows well

  • When designing the apps’ user interface, consider their experience. What makes sense? If you were designing a game, would you open the app straight into the game? Probably not. A user would want a menu and some options.
  • How does the user think something should work?

Choose the right colour scheme for your app

  • Make sure the text is readable! Putting fluro yellow text on a white background is very hard to read. Actually, just don’t use fluro yellow at all. Or maybe any fluro colours.
  • Also generally, don’t use an image as your background. It makes text that is over it hard to read.

I know it’s just scraping the surface of practical design for apps. But it’s just for readability. Going into detail about app practical design may be a little boring. Or not, it might be a future blog. Who knows!

If you have any questions about practical design, feel free to ask in the comments. Or maybe there is a design you really like, let us know!

Have you been curious about getting an app made? Visit the Launchpad Quote page, let us help you make the app you’ve had stuck in your head!

Have you experienced Virtual Reality? If you’re unsure as to what it is, we have a blog, here!