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Developing app ideas: How to ensure an app idea is viable?

Ideas are important because they represent our ability to think. They show we can see beyond a prevailing set of structures and actions. The greatest inventions also come from ideas.

Despite all these qualities, ideas can sometimes be overrated. This is especially common in the world of mobile apps.

Everyone these days has an idea.

Some ideas are good. Some ideas are bad. What most of them lack (even good ones) is an exhaustive body of research.

In a hyper competitive world, turning an idea into an app and bringing it to market doesn’t just take money. Its takes a lot of intellectual courage and effort.

Anyone using a WooCommerce Android and iOS app builder must understand this point.

Thus, it is natural to question the validity of an idea.

When ideas become boring and validation becomes necessary

We all have gone through a time when an idea gestates in our mind. Writers go through it before starting a novel. Entrepreneurs go through the same while trying to shape a business idea.

This is a natural process. The important thing here is to let the idea come out after its period of gestation.

Too many professionals today are aspiring entrepreneurs. There is a real need for entrepreneurs today to drop aspiring as a prefix and put some skin in the game. This requires them to give their idea its time in the sun.

An idea is always ideal and perfect in the mind of an entrepreneur. It is only after an idea comes out that people can debate it and validate its potential.

It is understandable for entrepreneurs to fear ridicule and have their idea branded as unviable or irrelevant. As real as this possibility is, there is no other way to truly evolve and grow an idea.

Getting over this hitch is important because it is step zero in the process of validating and executing an app idea. Ultimately, the purpose of every great idea is to finally bring it to market and in front of real people. Entrepreneurs should remember this simple reality and be bold about their app idea and vision.

The following sections cover the process of developing and validating an app idea. It shows the journey an entrepreneur must go through to test their idea.

Also read: Best app building ideas to utilize your quarantine time: Top trends for 2020

Developing an app idea – The questions you need to ask

Developing and validating an app idea are both part of the same boat. The eventual goal is the same – understanding the idea better and making sure it is viable.

Generally, app idea validation comes from asking tough questions. Entrepreneurs must be able to explain the value of their app to the target audience. This doesn’t just include telling people what the app will do.

The following sections go into great detail discussing the type of questions entrepreneurs must answer regarding their app ideas.

#1 – Is there a demand for the idea? (or can a demand be created)

Is there a natural gap in the market your app is addressing?

Let’s take the problem of storage. Many people these days have to delete apps when installing new apps. This is because their mobile device doesn’t have enough storage to allow any new app installation.

You create an app that seamlessly compresses all files on a mobile device without compromising on quality. This can allow users to save a lot of space and not worry about mobile storage.

In this example, you are offering a direct solution to a problem many users constantly face. There is a clear problem and your compression app solves it.

This is an example of an app idea successfully meeting market demand.  Anyone using a simple WordPress app plugin can understand the possibilities of an app that meets a clear market demand.

Serving a clear market demand is a simple way of running a successful app. 42% apps only fail because there is no need in the market for the service they provide

Now let’s say you plan to create an app to sell Indian shoes to American buyers.

The idea is not bad, but it doesn’t solve a clear need in the market. American buyers can visit any prominent ecommerce store or retail outlet to checkout and purchase Indian shoes. What is unique about your app idea?

Also read: Build a premium mobile app for your footwear brand and reinvent your business

This is where the second part of the question comes in.

You may have an idea that is not unique and doesn’t solve a clear problem in the market. Does this mean the idea is not good?

Consider Uber for a minute. Before it came along, was there a collective demand across the world for a platform to book cabs?

No. People went about their business and didn’t think about how a service like Uber could change their life. Uber did not invent the concept of cabs.

It only simplified the experience of booking a cab.

The same is true for a game changing invention like smartphones. The world still survived and thrived before Apple launched the iPhone. There was no raging demand for a complete glass screen mobile phone.

And yet, smartphones are now a requirement. Steve Jobs and Apple didn’t invent the concept of a smartphone. They only simplified the experience of using one.

Some app ideas can create a demand of their own. Entrepreneurs must study their app idea well enough to gauge whether it can force enough people to consider it a need.

Anyone trying to create an app online for Android and iOS must have an idea about demand and the art of creating it.

#2 – What is your GTM strategy? (and what do you do if it does not work)

Can your competitors easily incorporate your idea on their apps?

Let’s say you use a free Android app maker and manage to successfully bring your vision to an app. It performs just as you’d hoped it would and is the ideal representation of your initial app idea.

The next step is taking the app to market.

How do you plan on making people notice and download the app?

If you think your app will go viral with minimal marketing because your idea is big enough to attract people, you’re mistaken.

Every time Apple comes out with a smartphone, it deploys a blanket marketing campaign. It makes sure the world knows about its new product.

Why? Why does Apple need to lean on expensive marketing campaigns for awareness? Surely it is a big enough name to command the attention of the world.

As it happens, it’s not.

Even Apple needs a marketing blitz to spread awareness amongst its audience. Not even Apple can risk depending on the brilliance of its smartphones to sell themselves. They need a marketing plan to push their products.

You need a marketing plan when bringing your app to market. While a blanket marketing blitz may be impossible, targeting a niche market is a must.

How do you plan on optimizing every possible marketing channel? Where do you see the first few app users coming from? How do you plan on getting to a sustainable number of downloads after an initial period of inactivity?

Answers to these questions will help you figure out where your app marketing plan fails. Every entrepreneur with an app idea using a WooCommerce Android and iOS app builder must study these questions.

Also remember to have a strategy in place if things go wrong. It is probable that your initial GTM plan does not work. In such a case, having a backup plan helps.

#3 – Can your competitors easily incorporate your idea on their apps?

App competitors

Let’s say you have an app idea that allows people to customize their social media stories effectively.

The features you are offering are truly unique and you even manage to get a good number of downloads after coming to market.

What is stopping Facebook or Instagram from incorporating the same features?

Your answer may be – I have a patent.

All it takes for another company to bypass the patent is change roughly 20-25% of your features.

Can you defend your app idea from other competitors? Does your app have any kind of IP that is essential to its working and other companies cannot replicate it?

These questions may seem far-reaching, but they’re important nonetheless. If you’re using a free Android app maker, you should study these questions on a deeper level.

You need to have a plan to defend your app idea from competitors. It needs to be unique enough to withstand any kind of arm twisting by competitors.

Sometimes startups can capture a nascent market and get far and away from competitors. Facebook managed to become the biggest social media platform in the world before other big tech companies could respond with a significant alternative. Now Facebook is in the position to remove any competition it faces from a new company.

However, Facebook is a very rare case. Good app ideas have a tendency for inviting tough competition. You should think about the things that set your app apart that other big competitors cannot accomplish in a short period of time.

Patenting an app is easy. Even Amazon was able to patent its website and intellectual property. However, it could not defend the idea of selling stuff online.

#4 – How do you plan to monetize your app?

The million dollar question for every entrepreneur must be revenue. An app idea can be game changing and disruptive. However, all these attributes don’t matter if the app doesn’t have a sustainable revenue model.

Nearly 30% startups run out of business because of cash flow problems. This only underlines the need for an app to have a revenue-facing long term strategy.

A sound app monetization plan is important for the future of an app idea and its ability to garner investment.

Let’s say you pitch your app idea to an angel investor. What do you say when the investor asks you about an exit strategy? After all, the investor wants to make money as well. How do you plan to ensure an investor profits from an investment?

Your app’s revenue model can solve these problems. Subscription-based apps are popular right now, as are those offering in-app purchases. You must identify a revenue model that makes your app and company cash-flow positive as soon as possible.

Also read: The Best Mobile Ad Networks to Monetize your App

#5 – How do you plan to scale your app growth?

Forget about creating a million-dollar startup on your own. You need a team of phenomenally talented people to get there.

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs think they can reach the very top alone.

Your company must be capable of functioning even if you step back. Scaling a business means taking it to a level where your presence is not necessary for day-to-day functioning.

How do you plan on scaling your app? Firstly, you need to create a team that represents the main tenets of your app. Each team member must be capable of handling an entire vertical while working on other parts of the app as well. These team members later become the leaders of their respective vertical and give your business a sound structure.

Then comes the difficult part: how do you react to escalating costs as you scale?

This is where a sound revenue model can save you. Ideally, you should use incoming profits to scale and expand your business. As you grow and hire more talented people, you can find ways to make your operation more efficient and reduce costs.

Also read: How does app growth take place? Studying the technology adoption life cycle

#6 – Can your app idea resist changes in the market?

Many ideas are not able to survive the test of time.

Let’s say you were in the business of manufacturing compact discs. How could you survive the arrival of pen drives? Even pen drive manufacturers are feeling the heat thanks to the increased ubiquity of cloud storage.

Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. Your app can be a great solution for the current market, but what future technology will make it obsolete?

As an entrepreneur, you need to answer this question. It is fine if your app idea is only viable for the next five years. There are plenty of inventors ready to invest an idea viable for the next five years.

The point is you need to be honest about the future. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your app idea will be sustainable for the next three decades.

Being honest will save you a lot of money and direct your resources to the right channels.

Most big tech startups start with an idea that becomes irrelevant five years later. However, successful they are honest about their shortcomings and make themselves adaptable to the changing times.

How can you dredge up a timeless and evergreen app idea?

In reality, you can’t. The best you can do is incorporate new technologies like AI and machine learning into your app idea. This can make it more powerful and resistant to changes in the world of technology.

You might not have the resources to incorporate such heavy duty technology in your simple app built with a WordPress app plugin. Nevertheless, you can still learn about these technologies and where you wish to incorporate them in your app.

Another way to make your app idea resistant to trends is creating an ecosystem. This can help ensure your app users do not leave your app once they become regular users. Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple offer users an ecosystem. In simple words, an ecosystem expands a basic app idea to represent a larger system where users can do a lot of things.

For example, people can’t just stop using Google for search because they also use it for email, payments, mobile OS, videos, and so on. The same story pans out for other ecosystems like Apple and Amazon. Despite any change in technology, people cannot simply leave these ecosystems.

This process will force you to expand your app idea and ensure its long-term viability.

In conclusion

An idea’s journey starts from initiation and ends at execution. Many ideas fail and a select few succeed.

The best app ideas tend to have an answer to cutting questions regarding their viability and fate. An entrepreneur trying to create an app online for Android and iOS must have an answer to such a question.

This piece provides readers an insight into the need to validate and develop an idea. The questions discussed will help entrepreneurs foolproof their app idea.

These are not the only questions an app idea must answer. There are many other tactical and operational questions entrepreneurs must also prepare for. The points covered here can open up the minds of entrepreneurs to think about their app idea in a more critical way.

Such an exercise can add some steel to the app idea and make it more likely to succeed.

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