Don’t even consider developing an app until you’ve done these 5 things!
If I had to guess I’d say you’re here because you’re looking at developing an app and potentially a digital business.
You’re likely feeling a combination of excitement and nervousness. Possibly don’t know where to start. And that’s alright.
The world of tech startups can seem daunting. Even more so if it’s your first time building a digital business.
The good news is you can relax… because Launchpad has got you covered.
One of the main questions we are asked by our clients is what sort of planning and strategies need to be designed before you move into the development of their concept.
And rightfully so, it’s a big commitment. You want to make sure you’re building something that users are going to want and provide them value.
If you can’t provide genuine value to users why would you expect users to use it? And in turn provide you value? Whether it be paying a subscription cost or generating advertising revenue from sponsors, the value is a two-way street.
This blog covers the key “planning must do’s” before you take the plunge into development. At a high level, what you need to do to commercialise a innovative app idea into a business.
Image Source: socialtables.com
Now we know some items on this list might seem a lot of work, this is why we can help our clients every step of the way. Including each stage of the pre-development phase detailed below.
1. Sell it to me in 30 seconds
Have you ever heard of an elevator pitch?
It’s the idea you could make your pitch in the time it takes to ride the elevator. The ability to sell something in 30 seconds.
Here is an example of a great elevator pitch: youtube.com
In that video, the speaker was able to provide a clear, compelling narrative in under 2 minutes!
The key being: A convincing and compelling narrative, explaining why you do what you’re doing.
It’s what hooks the listener in, that makes them want to know more. That’s what will get you the contact.
You need to be able to describe the value your app delivers in a few seconds because with most potential users that’s all you’re going to get. If you don’t win them over straight away they will lose interest and just move onto the next app on the app store.
This is known as the High-Level Concept. A must when describing your app.
Bottom line: the value must be clear!
If your having trouble, here is a template you can use.
“(App Name) is an app that (describe the app value) for (who it’s for) because (a problem)”.
We tried this with the UberEats app.
Uber Eats is an app that orders food and has it delivered to people because they can’t (or don’t want to) travel to get it.
This gets the idea across quickly, just before the elevator doors open.
Image Source: riseofmachine.com
So with that, what would be the first thing you say to someone to describe your app idea?
2. Let’s build a testable business model
Have you heard of a Lean Canvas business model?
This is the framework for our pre-development workshop. It’s the gold standard for business planning in the tech startup space. Made famous by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup.
So what does it actually do for you?
It gets better business results, faster.
Because a Lean Canvas business model is a shorter, entrepreneur focused business model.
It’s highly malleable and also actionable right away. It effectively treats business problems like a science experiment.
Image Source: medium.com
A principle that is taken from The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: Build, Measure and Learn.
- Build a set of assumptions. You assume what you are making will work from your research. Research on your target audience, research on their behaviours and purchase habits.
- Measure market feedback, measure every little thing about it. How it runs, it’s marketing and ultimately how much it makes.
- Learn and implement in the next iteration. So next time you can improve and release a better product or run a better service. In our case, release a better app, in the form of an update.
Today, a Lean Canvas business model excels because a business plan is rigid. It’s a set of rules, saying this is what we sell, whether anyone wants it or not!
But a Lean Canvas business model is fluid. It responds to the market and adapts.
As should your app.
This is why the Lean Canvas is one of the most important things to do before you get your app developed.
Where to go next:
Looking to create a startup business from your app?
You might need to look at getting a startup grant:
3. Does solving this problem create value?
Will your app get rid of a problem your target audience faces and wants to solve?
Some examples of apps already solving problems are:
- Bored? Kill time with Angry Birds.
- Lost? Get directions with Google Maps.
- Stressed? Meditate with Headspace.
If you aren’t solving a problem, why would someone download it, even if they do why would they continue to use it?
Image Source: carneyco.com
This might sound obvious, but it’s better than the alternative.
The alternative is putting your time and effort in, only to see that people have no need for your app.
So let us help you validate your app. give us a call. Have a chat with one of our app strategists today!
We are more than happy to have a chat about your app and discuss validation strategies!
Where to go next:
Have you experienced virtual reality yet? Read our blog on it if you’re interested: Virtual Reality Blog
4. Does your app provide a great User Experience?
You might be thinking, what is User Experience?
The User Experience is human-centred design. What will this make the user feel or do?
What are the users wants or needs?
Even if your app does something really cool, if it isn’t easy to use, your users likely wouldn’t bother using it.
How have you reacted to apps that weren’t easy to use? Maybe they just didn’t make sense?
I would bet that you deleted them, without thinking twice.
This is why a good user experience is important. At our core, this is what we do at Launchpad.
The meaningful interaction between your user and their purchase. We aim to improve customer satisfaction and ease of use, giving the user an enjoyable interaction with your app.
To design this, we lay it out. Creating a wireframe. A wireframe is just your app broken down step by step, how you want the app to flow.
If you would like to have a go at creating a wireframe, download our template.
Here is some our work!
We create this after we have done a Pre-Development workshop together.
Combining your wants and needs and market knowledge. We create the experience that users actually want.
5. Ready to go? First, take it for a test drive
You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive right?
So why make an app without getting a prototype?
A prototype is every screen we designed together and put into a program. This program imitates the functions. Which lets you navigate all the screens as if it were working app.
Like a test drive, it lets you get a feel for what the final product will be. A feel for what the app will be like once its up and running.
If you’ve gone for a test drive in a car, what have you noticed? Maybe something wasn’t right, the steering wheel was too small or the suspension was too soft.
Missing something to make it just perfect.
Image Source: uxpin.com – We promise to make a better prototype than this!
The same goes for the prototype.
Without it, you could be missing something necessary in your app. Or maybe you just simply didn’t like the layout. Something you wouldn’t have noticed until you’ve tried the prototype.
That’s why we believe prototyping is a must when creating a mobile application.
It’s the final thing we at Launchpad deliver as part of our Pre-Development process.
Letting the user ‘test drive’ their idea. It’s the quickest and easiest way to validate your idea amongst those you want feedback from.
The Pre-Development Process is a lot of work. It can be daunting. That’s why we don’t recommend going through it alone.
This is what our Pre-Development workshops are for. Using our knowledge and expertise we guide you through everything.
So together, we create an app that you want… And your users just can’t put down.
So give us a call, so you can transform your innovative idea into a successful app.
Where to go next?
Have you heard of the Internet of Things? If not, it’s an exciting new way technology is going to transform our lives, read about it: Internet of Things Blog
Cover Image Source: technotronicsllp.com
Have an app idea?
Book in a FREE Discovery Session with one of our App Strategist.
So you have a great idea for an app startup…
But you don’t have the investment dollars upfront. What’s next?
Well I have some good news for you, the Australian Government wants to help you!
Image Source: businessinsider.com.au
Cover Image Source: asc.asn.au
A government grant can help you take your business to the next level or even launch it from the ground up. Even if you have the funding, grants help make it possible to launch your business to market faster and with better results.
These are the best of the best startup grants I recommend. The grant websites can be a bit confusing sometimes but don’t worry I’ve cut it down to a quick and easy shortlist.
I’ve broken it up into 4 things you’ll need to know if you want to apply:
- What they do – What does this company do?
- Who’s it for – Are you eligible for this grant?
- What you can get – Is it a tax refund, a cash payment or some other kind of support?
And saving the best till last,
- Where and when you can apply.
So don’t waste your time reading grants that aren’t relevant to your business. I’ve picked my top five startup grants to get you on the right track to government funding.
Which startup grants are you eligible for?
“The Research and development (R&D) tax incentive encourages companies to engage in R&D benefiting Australia.”
Image Source: shinkamanagement.com
What do they do?
The R&D tax incentive does pretty much what the name suggests. This tax incentive was started to get businesses to undertake R&D. It gives companies a refundable tax offset of 43.5%. Which can be paid as a deduction of your tax bill, or as a cash refund by the end of the financial year. However, only if your company income is over $20,000 and under $20 million.
What’s great about this incentive is that it can be used to get cash back on wages spent used for R&D.
Who’s this grant for?
- Companies that spend over $20,000 and under $20,000,000.
- Companies that are attempting to solve industry-wide problems.
- Running activities with new technology.
- Or the intention to generate new knowledge.
What can you receive?
- 43.5% of eligible expenses cash back at the end of the year.
Where/when can I apply?
Applications are done online. But must be done 10 months in advance. I’d get on that ASAP.
Related: Is your app not clicking with its audience? Try this design method!
“Supporting small business to take the next step.”
Image Source: starobserver.com.au
What do they do?
The City of Melbourne is offering up to $30,000 to Melbourne businesses that are having a positive impact on Melbourne city. They have helped fund over 320 businesses, with over $7 Million since 1996.
What’s interesting about this grant is the way companies are chosen. Part of the application includes how your business affects Melbourne. So, the more you positively impact Melbourne, the better your chances.
Who’s this grant for?
- Startups and Businesses (Under 20 staff) looking to grow
- Businesses who are looking to export overseas
- Support Service Businesses
- Micro Businesses (Up to 4 staff)
What can you receive?
- If you’re a startup or looking to grow, you can receive up to $30,000 dollars.
- Are you looking to export, you can receive up to $10,000.
- Or you’re a business looking to help other businesses, you can receive up to $10,000.
- If you’re a micro business wanting to grow, you can receive up to $25,000.
Where/when can I apply?
The next round of applications open July 2018, visit: melbourne.vic.gov.au for more information!
Related: Need a business plan to help your chances of getting funding for your startup? Read our blog, with recommendations on the best way to do so!
“Landing Pads help market-ready startups and scale-ups take their business global.”
Image Source: blog.geomoby.com
What do they do?
Landing Pads provide startups with co-working places to work. As well as introduce these business owners to investors, networks and partnership opportunities.
What’s interesting about this grant is that they provide Australian startups with the potential to expand and work overseas. Landing Pads have been established in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.
Who’s this grant for?
- This grant is for businesses they believe could go global.
- Companies that are different to their competitors.
- Companies that the 90 days in a Landing Pad will make a difference.
What can you receive?
- 90 days in a co-working space overseas.
- Support from Austrade.
- Training, coaching and networking opportunities.
Where/when can I apply?
Applications are ongoing and done online at: australiaunlimited.com/Landing-Pads.
Related: Have you heard about The Internet of Things? Read up on our blog, here.
“The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme is a key Australian Government program for small to medium aspiring and growing export-ready businesses.“
Image Source: raconteur.net
What do they do?
EMDG offer grants to help you cover costs of running a business. As well as the activities that help get your company export ready.
What’s interesting about this is they offer to cover the costs of promotional and marketing material. Your company can claim marketing consultants costs, overseas trade shows and free samples. Really anything that gets your brand internationally.
Who’s this grant for?
- Australian businesses that earn less than 50 million per year.
- Promoted their goods for export.
- Promoted their goods for delivery internationally.
- Spent at least $15,000 on promotional activities.
What can you receive?
- A lot.
- A whole lot.
- Grants of 50% of your spending.
- Up to $150,000 dollars per grant.
- And you can have up to 8 grants a year.
- Yeah, a lot.
Where/when I can apply?
You’ve got a month to apply, as applications close 30th of November 2017. Apply at: austrade.gov.au.
However, if you can’t get it done by then. Getting an EMDG consultant will allow you to apply until 28th of February 2018.
Related: Got a startup company? Here are 9 tips from us to help you!
“The Entrepreneurs’ Programme is a program which helps small and medium businesses to innovate and grow.“
Image Source: fortune.com
What do they do?
The Entrepreneur’s Programme is an Australian Government initiative. Created to make Australian businesses more competitive.
This grant offers 4 different things. This next bit has big words, sorry in advance.
- Accelerating Commercialisation grant. Which helps you release a new product to market.
- Business Management, advice and support from expert advisors and facilitator.
- Incubator Support. Which is offering grants and support to tech incubators in Australia.
- Lastly, Innovation Connections. They help identify the gaps in your business knowledge and fill them in. So you can improve your business.
What’s interesting about this grant is that if you participate in this grant, you are then eligible for another grant. A Business Growth Grant worth $20,000. It’s a two for one kind of deal!
Who’s this grant for?
- For-profit Australian Startup company.
- Or an individual, partnership or group who are willing to form a company.
- Must have a product or service that you want to make money off.
What can you receive?
- You can receive up to 50% of your business spend. Up to 1 million dollars.
- Advisors, support and networks.
- Eligibility to the $20,000 Business Growth Grant.
- Up to 50% of your spend if you have a Tech Incubator. Up to $500,000 dollars worth.
Where/when can I apply?
Expressions of Interest are ongoing, apply now at: business.gov.au.
Related: Maybe you’ve been looking at starting a startup? Read our blog, here detailing the things that some startups miss!
Applying Smart for your Startup Grants
Don’t apply for everything. Creating these applications should take a lot of time and effort. So look for the ones that:
- Will have the biggest impact on your company.
- And your company best meets the eligibility criteria.
You should be creating a professional document. One that’s distinctive to your brand. Not just boring letter asking for money. If you need any help, this excellent article by the balance walks you through the grant proposal writing process.
However, if you want some personalised assistance in creating a grant application, contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to read about more grants, visit Grants Victoria for more information!
And lastly get started right now! You have nothing to lose if you apply, but potentially a lot to lose if you don’t.
Have you applied for grants? Share your experience to help others below!
If you’re still only thinking about creating your tech startup, it might be time to take the next step. Contact us at Launchpad, we specialise in getting you investor ready!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Do you know what it takes to be a great leader? What qualities will make you follow this person?
Great leaders strive to be at the top of the mountain. They are the role models, teachers, mentors. A great leader can communicate with anyone. They make every person feel safe and comfortable.
If you want to be a leader, you need a clear vision and guidelines. This gives the team the belief in reaching greatness.
You need to have skills such as confidence, honesty and passion. Also, the ability earn your respect.
Being a leader is to continuously learn through adapting in various situation. You need to challenge yourself and stay humble.
Have you been told your work is good, but you know it’s not? Would you ask the same person the same question next time? Nobody wants to work for someone who is dishonest. Honesty is a major factor when it comes to a successful team. As soon as honesty is questioned, it will ruin the culture. A great leader needs to be honest and trustworthy. As transparent as possible. If a team member has an issue, they can approach you and be confident it will get resolved quietly.
Do you remember back in school, when the teacher asked a question and finished with “do you understand?”. How often did you say yes and had no idea what they were talking about? To be a great leader of a team, that cannot happen. A leader and team has to be on the same page. As if you are the teacher and they are the students. If communication breaks down, the message will be lost. Whether it’s training a new employee or bouncing ideas off directors, communication is key.
Have you ever felt misunderstood? As if no one in the team can relate to you? The leader needs to make every team member feel as comfortable as possible. You need to build a connection with every team member. You need to understand their values and morals. In every family, social circle and team, each person is different to the next. You need to have the ability to customise your approach to each person. This will play a huge role in reaching your team’s full potential.
Do you remember when a leader with no passion was successful? I certainly don’t. How would you feel going to work every day, knowing your boss does not care? No way I would be motivated. To be a great leader, you need to portray an appetite to succeed. A leader’s passion through body language and voice goes a long way in success.
Everyone knows the feeling, that feeling where you get asked a question and you freeze. Your mind absolutely blank. You start to sweat. Panic starts to set. Great leaders have the ability to think fast and always be ready for curly questions. Calm and collected in every situation.
As the famous saying goes, ‘knowledge is power’. To be successful is one thing, but maintaining your success is another. Like everyone, a leader needs to continuously evolve. Learning, growth and responding to change is key to being ahead of the curve.
Can you work for someone who you don’t respect? Will you work as hard? A leader with no respect is not a leader. Respect is not given, it is earned. Your team needs to believe in you, follow your lead, as if you are leading them into battle. To earn respect you need to show respect. Do you want to be a great leader and earn respect? You need to put your money where your mouth is.
This is arguably the most important trait a leader needs to have. Confidence. How can you follow someone if they don’t believe in themselves? An unconfident great leader has never existed. A great leader has an extreme belief in their self.
Having a great leader in your team can only bring success. All these attributes need to integrate into this person. If one lapses, it can be detrimental to the success. For a group of people to look at you as a mentor, and follow your actions is a special position to be in. If you find yourself in this position, be humble and enjoy the circumstance you’re in. Being a leader is a privilege.
The Launchpad crew believes leadership is key to success. Our skills and knowledge will provide the leadership qualities to bring success to your next app project. For more information please visit our quote page.
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.
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
This is just a selection, want to know how you’ll find more? Random guesses.
Wait, no, it’s research. More research.
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.
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
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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
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.
For the solution, list all the solutions to your problems, that aren’t being solved already.
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.
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.
Where are you with your startup? Is business booming or are you yet to begin?
Wherever you are, there is always more you could know. From one startup to another these are some of the tips we’ve learned along the way.
Cover Image Source: sujanpatel.com
Here are some habits of successful entrepreneurs, like Richard Branson. If you’re curious to know what they do differently.
Image Source: pravsworld.com
1. Know to take feedback and criticism:
We know this company is your brilliant idea. You’re proud of it and have every right to be. Everyone, from time to time, will take some advice on how it can be improved. Family, friends and co-workers will likely have good ideas for you to improve. They aren’t telling you what you’re doing is wrong. Because if it was, you wouldn’t be where you are today. They are just trying to suggest what could make the business more successful. If you haven’t already, try validating your idea yourself!
Image Source: thewineingercompany.com
2. Future proof, map out what you want to achieve:
Where are you currently? What do you want to achieve with this company? These are the questions you’ll have to ask yourself, and create a path from A to B. Now it’s not as easy as that. Otherwise, everyone’s business would be successful. Create a company vision, mission or purpose. Something that makes your customers understand where you are coming from. If they know why you started your company, it might make they trust your product/service. Along the path you wish to achieve, imagine everything that could go wrong. Which can be very stressful. But, to help put your mind at ease, think about the other side of that. Design a solution for every possible problem. Try design thinking.
Image Source: memoori.com
3. Work with the right people:
Are the people you’re working with pushing you or letting you stagnate? Steve Jobs was considered aggressive and unkind. He pushed people to further their visions of what Apple could be. From that, they created a technology giant. Now, I don’t recommend being aggressive or unkind. Especially if you’re not as skilled at mentoring like Steve Jobs was. But if nobody challenges you, you may not feel as pushed as you might need. So go out and find the right people!
Image Source: teibelinc.com
4. Do what you are passionate about:
Starting a company is a stressful, time and money consuming venture. With that in mind, if you don’t love the service or product you are creating, why are you doing it? Belief in your idea will push you through times of turbulence. Without that, it may all become too much. So, do what you love and make a living out of it.
Image Source: linkedin.com/pulse
5. Learn from your mistakes:
It might seem like common sense, but learning from your mistakes. Making sure to learn quickly is the best way to go. Even if what you are doing used to be successful. But has recently become a mistake, change with the industry. Just because cold calling used to work, doesn’t mean it will now.
Image Source: studentsatnext.wordpress.com
6. Maintain quality:
Keep doing what brought you success from day one. You didn’t get your first customers by selling them poor quality products or services. If you did your business may never have gotten off the ground! But today, you’re finding that you are in competition with bigger companies. And unfortunately, they have a better value proposition. Keep your quality and find a way to make your product necessary. Even if it means you need to find grants or support. Make the price part of the product. Back to the Apple example, the Apple price point is a reflection on its quality. Not only that but offers the image of owning an Apple product. Figure out how to keep and price, and make it almost a positive, you won’t lose customers on a quality product.
Image Source: apple.com
7. Content is greater than pushy marketing:
The days of pushy, aggressive marketing are over. Good riddance! Say hello to inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the opposite of traditional marketing. Traditional marketing was getting to the potential customer. Inbound marketing is having them come to you. How do you get them to come to you? By creating content that gets their attention and support. Provide them with something that will make them want to return. Once you have their attention, then try to sell them the product. This creates a loyalty with the customer, as the product wasn’t pushed on them. They found you and your content through research.
Image Source: trend.media
8. Do some research:
Do your research! If you don’t you could be selling to the wrong audience. Do your market research and create design tools, like personas for your audience as you need. Next create what you believe their customer journey, and where you fit in that. That way, you’re figuring out the way to get your product or service into their hands or homes. Doing so in the least intrusive way possible.
You might be here because you haven’t started and you want to figure out what mistakes to avoid. But you have already made the biggest one. You just haven’t begun. Begin creating whatever it is you wish to sell or create and just do it! Whether it starts a line of code, a plan or a design. Just get on with it! You can’t succeed if you never begin. Start being productive today!
Image Source: packetu.com
Have you got your own startup company? What advice would you give yourself when you first started?
I hope these tips help you with your startup company, and if you need help developing an app. Please check out the Launchpad App Development quote page.
Maybe a good startup idea would be getting into the ever-growing Internet of Things?
Have a read of our blog, here.
We all have habits. Some are good, like positive thinking and healthy eating, while some are bad, like procrastinating and overspending. Habits are basically routines or activities we do continuously without realising it. They have an impact on our daily lives including how we work. Good habits have helped create success for Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson. Today we’ll be going through the 7 habits of successful entrepreneurs that you can adopt.
Habit 1. Get up and active
While work is important, it is also important to get away from your desk. There are many benefits to exercise that can help you work efficiently. It improves your brain, making you more creative and stimulates your thinking.
Exercising doesn’t require much time or money and a gym membership isn’t required. You can just go outside for walk or jog in a park.
Lots of successful entrepreneurs do it and if you don’t have time, make time in the early morning or evening for it. For example, Richard Branson wakes up at 5 AM and either kite surfs, swims or plays tennis.
Habit 2: Set Goals
Successful entrepreneurs set short and longer term goals for themselves and also for their business. Examples include getting investors and reaching a certain amount of sales per year. Additionally, they set up effective goals that are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).
Entrepreneurs stick and keep their goals in mind while at work. This helps them prioritise and focus on tasks that are most important.
Before doing anything they ask themselves whether the task will achieve their main goals. To not get overwhelmed by their goals, entrepreneurs further break it down to small tasks. There’s lots of software, such as Trello and Asana, to help achieve this.
Habit 3: Plan and organise
Following on, successful entrepreneurs are continually involved with daily and long term planning, whether in the office or on the road.
They create to-do lists and daily schedules to ensure they get all their tasks done. Planning creates a strategy on how entrepreneurs tackle their week. It makes them think before they start doing any executions.
There is an endless list of productivity apps and software available that can help with planning, such as Evernote. Successful entrepreneurs also do pre-planning at the end of their day to prepare for tomorrow.
Effective planning helps keep entrepreneurs on track towards achieving their long term goals. As the saying goes: failing to plan is planning to fail.
Habit 4: Take risks
Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid risks when running their business. These risks might involve factors with the market, personal or even financial risk.
In fact, one of the first risks they took were resigning from their current job and creating a startup. For example, Steve Jobs and Steve Woz dropped out of college to start Apple and Elon Musk invested in two startups that nearly went bankrupt but ultimately succeeded.
While risk involves gut feeling and just doing it, calculated risk involves weighing up the pros and cons before execution. There are many benefits of risk-taking. For instance, gaining experience, finding out what doesn’t work and you’ll won’t live with regret.
Whether it’s launching a new product or the financial market, you have to risk it to get the rewards.
Habit 5: Continuously learn
Successful entrepreneurs are always learning and expanding their knowledge. They learn through activities like reading books, attending seminars and networking with others. For instance, Bill Gates is a big reader, reading about 50 books a year.
The benefits of continually learning is that you get new perspectives, knowledge and enhances creativity. There are lots of free and paid resources out there that can boost your brain.
If you like reading, books I highly recommend the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Thankyou’s biography: Chapter 1 (Definitely for new startups) by Daniel Flynn.
For online videos, TED talks are the way to go. Podcasts by big name entrepreneurs, like Gary Vaynerchuk are also great if always you’re on the go.
Habit 6: Enjoy what they do
Successful entrepreneurs don’t just work for the money, they love doing what they’re doing.
There are different reasons why entrepreneurs create their own startup. Some might enjoy being their own boss or the personal challenge of starting their business.
Successful entrepreneurs love it so much that they become emotionally attached to it. They put everything into their startup, even giving up their free time to make sure it succeeds and strives.
Habit 7: Bounce back
While facing roadblocks and the potential of failing in our lives, it’s what we do that matters. Successful entrepreneurs are persistent and will rise above any obstacles.
They view their failure as a learning experience and the opportunity to improve. In fact, there have been lots of successful entrepreneurs who have used failure to turn their business around.
A well known example is Walt Disney. He was told that he wasn’t creative and his early ventures failed. His cartoon creations got stolen and rejected. However, he persevered and became successful with Walt Disney Company.
By adopting these 7 habits you’ll be on your way to grow personally and as an entrepreneur. It’s not too late to adopt these habits. You can start straight away!
What habits do you think successful entrepreneurs have?
Let us know in the comments below or on social media.
Unless you’ve seen The Social Network – you might not know how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook. According to the movie, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss created the idea with their own social network, Harvard Connection.
When Harvard student and programmer Victor Gao resigned he referred them to Mark Zuckerberg. The twins hired Mark and gave him access to Harvard Connection’s network passwords, files, and servers. This led to Mark starting work on his own social networking site, thefacebook.
Years later, the legal battle between Winklevosses and Zuckerberg ended in a settlement worth $65 million dollars. To avoid this scenario happening to you, we’re going to outline the 5 best ways to safeguard your app idea.
1. Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
A Non-Disclosure Agreement helps protects your ideas being shared by others outside of the agreement. This document is important when you’re dealing with anything tech related that requires development. An NDA should be readily available by a developer if requested. It is important to remember that the NDA only comes into effect after each party in the agreement signs the contract. Anything discussed before the NDA gets signed may not be covered in the agreement.
2. Don’t say too much
Another way to keep your app idea safe is to avoid sharing too much information about your app to others. Magicians don’t reveal their secrets, so you should not reveal too much regardless of how excited you are. Also, be selective of those you choose to tell your app idea. When speaking to friends, colleagues or app developers at the initial call, just give a brief overview or a sales pitch of your app idea. However, investors might want more in-depth information on your idea. They don’t normally sign NDAs, so you can do is add a confidentiality disclaimer in important documents.
3. Trademark your app’s identity
Trademarks prevent others from using your app’s identity. This prevents consumers from downloading counterfeit apps. protects your brand. Anything that distinguishes yourself from others, such as logos, screenshots, and phrases, can be trademarked. Protecting your identity can help build brand and icon recognition, especially if your app becomes successful. Snapchat can be easily recognised by its ghost icon and Evernote with its elephant head icon. Before applying, check if existing trademarks have been registered at IP Australia.
4. Retain documentation
It is important to keep all documents related to your app and from third parties safe. Documents you should keep safe include: agreements, contracts, business plans, trademarks and meeting minutes. These documents can be used as evidence and help you when any disputes arise or any legal situations happen during the app development process. To avoid overflowing your cabinets and drawers with documents, you can scan them to your computer and upload them to a cloud.
5. Hire a reputable app development company
Once you’re at the app development stage, it is crucial to find a trustworthy app developer. Your app idea will be kept safe and also developed efficiently. During the hunt for the right app developer, make sure to check out information such as their experience, portfolio, and client reviews. Additionally, a good app development agency will be genuinely interested in your idea, not just developing it. They’ll guide you throughout the development process, giving you advice and ideas based on their experience to make sure it succeeds in the market.
By following this guide you’ll be at peace and won’t need to worry about getting your app stolen.
For further legal advice on trademarks or NDAs, it is recommended that you visit a lawyer or legal firm with knowledge in this area.
If you have an app idea, contact us for a confidential and informative discussion!
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.
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.
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.
An example user persona featuring the target user’s bio, personality, goals and frustrations. Source: Xtensio
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.