June 17, 2020 6 min read
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You’re amped-up about developing your app and taking it to market. But before you do this, there’s a question you need to answer: Is your startup app idea 100 percent ready for development?
As an entrepreneur, you understand the importance of taking action. However, if you get ahead of yourself, it can kill your app idea before it ever has a chance to succeed. Yes, you can gain insights about the validity and viability of your app idea after it’s developed and launched. The risk of this approach is that you can invest blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of cash into an app that you could have known has little to no chance of succeeding.
With that in mind, let’s dive into five clear signs that your startup app idea isn’t ready for development just yet.
1. You haven’t discussed your app idea with your target customer
Your idea looks good on paper. Your friends and family tell you everything you want to hear. You’re ready to move forward full speed ahead. But before you do that, discuss your app idea with the most important person: your target customer. Talking to potential customers is the easiest and most effective way to minimize early-stage business risk.
Your goal is to validate your idea and determine if your potential users are willing to pay for it. You can do this by asking questions such as:
- What’s your primary goal regarding the solution your app provides?
- What are the top challenges you face regarding the solution your app provides?
- Are you currently using an alternative solution to reach your goals and overcome challenges?
- How much time and money have you spent chasing your goals and addressing your concerns?
- Are you open to a better solution? What would you like to see in it?
Finish with a question such as, “I’m developing an app that I think can help you. Is it okay to send you future updates?” Discussing your app idea with your target audience helps you avoid unnecessary setbacks and expenses, while better understanding what potential users are looking for.
2. You haven’t validated your idea
Even though you’ve talked to customers and taken their feedback into consideration, it doesn’t mean they will take action when the product is ready.
It’s not good enough to assume that your app will resonate with your audience. You should first validate your app idea, as it’s an important step in determining if there’s a problem worth solving. Here’s how:
- Discuss your idea with potential customers (see #1 above): With open-ended questions, you position yourself to collect information that allows you to uncover pain points and potential solutions.
- Create a demo: Design a visually compelling demo to see if your audience takes action. If your test group finds your app valuable, they’re more likely to get on board when the complete solution is available.
- Sell it: You have what you need to start the sales process. An offer that’s too good to refuse should generate the type of response you’re seeking. If it doesn’t, go back to the interview stage to find out where you went wrong. Rinse and repeat until you nail it.
With this approach, you have the opportunity to make changes before going all-in on the development process. This is likely to save you many months of work and thousands of dollars.
3. You don’t know what you’re building
You do your homework, you talk to your target audience, and you have a plan for taking your app to market. But if you don’t actually know what you’re building, it’s all for nothing. It doesn’t matter if you’re building a prototype, minimally viable product (MVP), or a detailed version of your app, you must define and finalize what you’re building. Failure to do so can result in time delays, increased development costs, and unnecessary stress.
As a startup founder, part of your job is to gain insights and use this data to meet the needs of your audience. When you build and release smaller versions of your app quickly, you’re in a position to change course as necessary, thus avoiding the time and costs associated with redevelopment.
4. You don’t have the right team
You’re only as good as the team you surround yourself with. So, if you don’t have the right team, you’re not ready to move into the development phase. According to CB Insights, neglecting to build the right team is the third most common reason startups fail. Anyone can build you an app, but not everyone can help you build a startup. If you’re building a real company from the ground up, there’s more on your plate than development.
If there’s dead weight on your team, cut it. If you’re lacking a key executive, bring the right person on board. As noted above, a solid app doesn’t guarantee startup success. Focus on the big picture when building your team.
5. You don’t know why you’re building a startup
It’s cool to build a startup. You have the opportunity to build something on your own from the ground up, but as fun as all that sounds, it’s not enough. You need to dig deeper, uncovering exactly why this is the career path you want to take.
Are you interested in building a startup in hopes that it’ll increase your wealth? Are you looking to build a name for yourself in your industry? Is this your way of gaining freedom from a traditional 9 – 5? Once you know why you’re building a startup, it’s easier to create a plan for reaching your goals.
For example, if you’re building a startup to establish a better work-life balance, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. This may lead you to seek out a partner who can take on responsibilities that aren’t in your wheelhouse.
Failure. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but something every entrepreneur will face time and time again. To minimize the risk of failure when developing an app idea, proactively address every challenge, roadblock, and sign that you’re headed down the wrong path. Doing so doesn’t guarantee success, but it’ll help you build an app that people need, use, and are willing to pay for.