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DEVELOPING AN APP:
7 ways to know
IF your idea will work

One of the things, we get asked time and time again from founders is how to really make sure that you're developing an app that will be the next killer platform. 

Here are 7 things to consider. 

 

1. First to market.

When developing an app being first to maket helps a lot. It often means you get the “first mover advantage", which gives you the market benefits of zero organic aquisition costs, customer awareness and novel product offering. A good example is Uber and Lyft, who were both first to maket in the on-demand car sharing economy, this allowed them to use free PR and media to blow up with little traditional marketing costs. If your app has not been done or executed properly by another app developer or team yet, this is a good sign that it is a “killer app idea” and is first to market. Snapchat, were first to market with their $20 billion killer app idea.

 

2. Second to market, but a lot better.

First to market doesn’t always win. Instamatic was a photo filter app, which came months before Instagram, but Instragram won because they introduced viral share features. Essentially their product was much better than Instamatic (which we term a feature race). Subway Surfers (a mobile endless running game) was much better than Temple Run, who were the first endless running game in the market. Subway Surfers quickly allowed the app developers to gain 50 milllion customers in just 6 months with over 50% engagement rate. Why? the product was much better, just as with Instrgram. Lesson: If your app idea is much better (in terms of what you think your team can execute compared to others already in the market), then you have the seeds for a killer app idea. Developing an app should be creative and fun, just make sure your product can be much better than existing players.

 

3. Build a quick MVP Prototype and test.

Not sure if you still have a killer app idea? Let’s face it. Most of us don’t know until we build something and launch it. So before developing an app, invest a small amount of capital to build a minimal viable product (MVP) so that you can quickly test the market. In many cases, you only need to go out to 1,000 people who are likely to be your target demographic and test your app idea with them. Melanie Perkins the 26 year-old female founder of Canva ($385 million valuation, Aug 2016), used an online testing service to watch customers interacting with Canva as they were building the minimal viable product. This afforded the founder with optionality, as it allowed her to move with more confidence in the direction where her early customers gave feedback.
 

4. Run a Facebook campaign.

Many people don’t know that Zynga (one of the world’s largest mobile gaming companies, who created Farmville) used to quickly run Facebook Ads to test the validality and market for potential games. If the Facebook ads got lots of hits, they would consider making the game. After all, why invest one million dollars and a team of six into a game for six months only to find out that the market doesn’t look the overall concept. When you are developing an app, test the water with ads so you can get feedback for your killer app idea without the killer costs.

 

5. Build a quick landing page.

Landing pages are like mini-websites, but have great tracking data tools and can be quickly set up through templates in a matter of hours. Many startups and app entrepeneurs developing an app often build a quick landing page to test the demand of their app idea. Sometimes a beautiful image, some great copy, exposure to your app idea and a “beta email waiting list” can provide yourself with valuable feedback if that market thinks you have a valuable app idea. Try tools like www.unbounce.com. 

 

6. Pitch to industry people.

Developing an app and still not sure you have a killer app idea? By pitching your idea at regular tech startup events you can get criticial exposure and valuable feedback from industry people, like other successful founders and venture capitalists, who can often provide insightful pointers. When two young female founders pitched their app idea at a Sydney pitchnight, they didn’t know that in the back of the room was a Macquire Banker, Allan Moss. Moss liked the pitch and soon after, helped raise a whopping $4.1M capital round for an then unknown Australian startup called Expert 360.

 

7. Try crowd funding platforms.

Platforms like Kickstarter, IndieGogo and many others now allow budding entrepeneurs and those developing an app to test the validality of their app idea and whether the market want it. It’s quite easy to get started, build a community and see if the market comes. This way, you transfer the innovation risk from yourself to the market.