I Have an App Idea: Now What?
I have a great idea for an app! Now what? What should I do next?
You have an app idea which came into your head and doesn't go away. It bothers you and you can't just move on with your life. You really want to build your app.
Perhaps you want to run a business and make money with your app? Or maybe you want to make the world a better place? Or both? Where should you start?
Take a deep breath and calm down. Here is the plan.
Write It Down
You may feel like you have an app idea, but you do not have it yet, not until you have it written. Only after you put your idea in writing, you may announce that you have it. The written idea becomes a thing, it is now out of your head and into this world.
So go ahead and start writing. You may start with how your app will make people's life better, what problem is it going to solve.
When you're done with your document, you may rest. Then you read it the next day. Does it still make sense? You may notice some weak points, so you change a few things, and add some more. Then you keep thinking about your idea and update the document for a few more days.
At some point you will feel the document is ready. So now you can present your idea properly to other people.
Ok, moving on.
Validate the Idea
Let's do a reality check. The app is supposed to solve a problem. Let's find out if there are any people who have this problem. And how are they solving this problem now? What are their available options?
What if your idea is not completely new? Someone may have already built a similar app. Let's try to find it, perhaps it already exists.
There are similar apps. If you found a similar app - great, your idea is now proven viable. You have a competitor, and they got a head start. Use it to your advantage. Check out their app and their shortcomings, and see how to make a much better app.
There are no similar apps. After an honest thorough search you cannot find a similar app. So you can be reasonably sure your idea is new and original. With an original, never-seen-before idea you need to be extra careful and make sure that the idea is viable. What if there is no such a problem? Or maybe the number of people with this problem is too small to become a user base for an app?
Also, you may want to check is it possible to build the app as you envision it with currently available technology? Can it be built at a reasonable cost? You may seek some technical advice. Talk to a software engineer and get their assessment.
My App Idea Is Really Good. What's Next?
Doing your research and validating your app idea you may update your document and write down all the relevant details. At least you need clear answers for these questions:
- What problem is your app going to solve?
- What people are having the problem? (your potential user base)
- How exactly your app is going to solve the problem (your pitch)
- How do they solve this problem now, are any solutions available? (your competitors)
- What technology is your solution going to be built with?
- How are you going to market your app?
- How are you going to earn money with your app?
Building Your App
If you have a great app idea, but no technical skills, what options do you have? To build any serious/interesting/significant app you need software engineering skills.
- You may learn to code. There are lots of learning materials and courses available. After, say, six months of intensive learning, you may be able to code your first app. Using modern code generation AI tools like ChatGPT will come handy.
- Or you may go ahead and hire professional software developers to build an app for you. You may talk to several software development companies and choose what suits you best.
Funding Your App
To build an app you need money. Having some fixed amount of funds available could work, though having some steady income source, so you can fund your app development is a much more reliable option.
If you have an app idea but no money, you may use it to attract investors. Whatever approach you use - friends and family, professional investors, bank loan, crowdfunding - you will need to present your idea in an attractive way.
You may convert the document with your idea description into a nice presentation, perhaps a short video. Having a demo or a prototype of the app would be helpful. You may get help from a professional app development consulting company to flesh out your app idea and prepare a presentation. Finally, you rehearse your pitch and start talking to potential investors.
Protecting Your Idea
When discussing your idea with software engineers or potential investors you may take precautions and protect your intellectual property. Any professional consultants will be ready to sign an NDA, and any work they do for you should be "work for hire" so you retain the copyright ownership for your app code. As soon as you start marketing your app you may register its name and logo as a trademark.
When you start building your app, you will get surprised many times. You will learn a lot of new things - about business, about technology, about your users. Some things you will learn "the hard way". Some frustration is inevitable. So you will need all your endurance and willpower to pull through.
Good luck to you with your app!