Ever wonder where the founders of Uber, Snapchat, or Spotify got their billion-dollar ideas? The circumstances surrounding the creation of these and other highly successful apps are actually not all that uncommon. The concept for Uber was born when its founders had trouble hailing a taxi. Spotify’s founders simply decided it was too hard to get music via the web and set out to do something about it. Snapchat started with an offhand comment: “I wish I could send disappearing photos.
The fact is that anyone can come up with a killer app concept, but developing a killer company around it takes planning, discipline, and a whole lot of marketing savvy. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in generating a great app idea and turning that concept into cash.
Coming Up with a Killer iOS App Concept
Apps that generate substantial revenue have a couple of things in common. First, they solve a problem, ideally a problem that potential users already know they have. Second, they solve that problem in either the only way that is currently available or the best way.
To come up with the problem you’d like your app to solve, keep your eyes and ears open for a few weeks. What daily hassles do you face? What do you hear friends and colleagues complaining about regularly? Have you seen a trend in recent news stories related to a common, unsolved problem or unmet need?
Once you’ve found a problem worth solving, do some research. Are there other companies trying to solve this problem? Are they doing it well? Is their solution affordable? Are they getting interest from investors? An app doesn’t have to be the first in its niche in order to be successful; it just needs to be the best.
Once you’ve found a problem, you need a solution. Now it’s time to start talking to people—as many as you can. Get involved in startup groups, conduct interviews, make some initial pitches, and get your idea, however loosely formed it may be, in front of subject matter experts. Use the feedback from these interactions to help you zero in on an innovative, yet realistic, approach to the problem you’ve identified.
Validating Your App Idea
Building an app before validating the concept is one of the most common and expensive mistakes startup founders make. Validation, the process by which you determine that your app idea is a) something people want, and b) something they will pay for, can be simple and cheap, but it will require some hustle and marketing smarts.
One of the most common ways to validate an app concept is to create a simple “coming soon” page for your product and start driving web traffic to it. Your goal is simply to generate a list of people who have indicated that they are interested in purchasing your app (or in using your app to purchase something else). The size of your list relative to your traffic will give you a good indication of whether your concept is likely to be a money-maker. Your list will also enable you to build an initial user base from individuals who’ve already expressed interest in your product.
If you are skilled at social media marketing, you may be able to generate enough traffic through your own—and your contacts’—social networks. If not, try using low-budget Google AdWords campaigns to capture search-based traffic. In addition to driving traffic to your landing page, your AdWords campaigns will give you valuable data that can eventually be used to market your finished app.
Not getting the kind of interest you’d hoped for? Not every app concept is bound to be a winner, and that’s ok! By identifying weaknesses in your ideas early, you’ll avoid investing either time or money in a product that is unlikely to pay off.
Hiring an iOS App Developer to Build Your MVP
Once your concept idea has been validated, it’s time to build your minimum viable product (MVP). Rather than your final vision for the product, your MVP should be a simple, straightforward tool that does the one thing your product will do better than any of your competitors’.
Here is where startup founders need to exercise some discipline. While it may be tempting to include all the bells and whistles you believe will make your app sticky, now is not the time to focus on a sexy UI or even full functionality. Instead, you’ll want to launch and learn, monitoring the way your early adopters interact with your product in order to determine which new features are really necessary.
A good iOS app development company will be able not only to build your MVP, but also to help you to iterate on your product as you gain insight from users. When interviewing app developers, ask about the other companies they work with. Do they have long-term relationships with those companies? How have they contributed to their clients’ successes? Viewing app development companies as potential partners rather than one-time contractors will help you to make the right decision.
While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with a great idea for an iOS app, it does take strategy and commitment to turn that idea into a revenue stream. Thoughtful planning, thorough validation, and partnering with an experienced app development company are the best ways to set yourself up for mobile app success.