So, you have an app idea, and you know it can change the way things are done. This may be a web app or a mobile app. To be a successful app-entrepreneur, you need to avoid some mistakes that ruin the show.
We have made a small list, you may add more to it.
- Trying to do it all yourself.
- Not discussing with people and investors.
- Not documenting your requirements.
- Not managing the project professionally.
- Waiting for app to finish before starting marketing.
- Not launching early.
- Looking for cheapest developers.
- Not testing the developed app as a user.
- Not keeping a marketing budget.
1. Trying to do it all yourself.
- You think you are a super(wo)man. You have a day job or business already, and you start doing it on your own in whatever spare time you have. You spend weekends on it. You give nights to it. You save a lot of money. Good idea. Really?
- You compromise on your family time. You lose a lot of calendar days. If you bring in someone else to do it, things will finish faster. They may be better than you as they are doing it day and night. Even if they are not, they have more time for doing it than you. So, they will finish faster for you.
- If it is a 200 hours task, you may need 12 weekends to do it, while someone you outsource will do it in just 5 weeks. Even 2.5 weeks is possible, if tasks can be shared by two.
- Outsource your work. Save your time for higher-value activities. Not necessary to always outsource to Asia, though it is a good choice. 🙂 You may find someone near you, if you want.
- Successful app entrepreneurs don’t try to do it all themselves.
2. Not discussing with people and investors.
- You think your idea is unique and discussing it will leak it? Please leave that thought aside.
- There are many people thinking the same idea.
- Discussing the idea with people lets you know how your users will take that idea.
- Discussing the idea with investors tells you about whether your idea has some value or not. Most of them will tell you to get some traction before they can think of investing, and that is OK. You don’t need a lot of money at this stage.
- If they are ready to invest, that’s a great sign already. If they are not, they may give some valuable suggestions to improve your app.
- Successful app entrepreneurs discuss their idea.
3. Not documenting your requirements
- You need to document your requirements. Just open the notepad on your phone, or start a Google Doc, or use a pen and paper. You need to note down your requirements point-wise.
- When you note down, you come to know what is missing in your thought. You think more and solve problems. You reinforce your idea.
- Please start with what big problem you are solving OR what opportunity you are presenting with your app.
- If you can’t do it yourself, as stated above, ask someone else to do it for you. If someone who charges you $25 per hour, saves your 2 hours worth $200, it is worth the investment.
- Requirements in documented form makes sure you don’t miss communicating anything to developers. Oral communication is lost early, written survives longer.
- Successful app entrepreneurs document their requirements.
4. Not managing the project professionally
- You discuss project with developers, you get busy. You don’t followup with developers, and developers don’t update you regularly. Things get slowing down.
- They send you update after many days. And you find it is a lot different than what you wanted. They didn’t ask, you didn’t explain. They developed as per their assumptions.
- The milestone dates you mentioned were missed regularly and you come to know on that day.
- When you test the product, you find it having bugs – a lot of them.
- All the above are general examples of issues app entrepreneurs face when they get their apps developed by someone.
- Lack of a professional project manager costs more than it saves by doing it yourself. You must save your time for marketing and meeting investors, rather than managing the project.
- Keep a budget for getting the app managed professionally or manage project professionally yourself – it is your choice.
5. Waiting for app to finish before starting marketing
- A lot of entrepreneurs wait for apps to finish 100% before starting their marketing efforts. Apps never finish 100%.
- You must start marketing efforts right from the day one with whatever you have to present. It may be a demo of few features, or just a few designs, or just wireframes, or just a features presentation, describing what problems you want to solve.
- Discuss it with people, get their feedback. Welcome the criticism, make changes based on feedback.
- If you come to know that most people are not interested in the idea – that is great. Failing or rejecting an idea early is better than rejecting it after spending a lot of time, money, and effort.
- Successful app entrepreneurs start marketing the app early.
6. Not launching early
- You want the app to finish before you show it to anyone. Your app never finishes.
- Everytime you see the app, you have two new ideas to improve it, three new features that you can add. It keeps on extending your launch date.
- Please arrange your app features in order of priority and how important they are for your USP.
- Please, please launch the app as soon as your most important features are developed. In most apps, it is 30-40% of all the features you list in your backlog.
- Launch early, get user feedbacks, and bring those features up in order of priority.
- Once you are successful, you will find that the 60-70% features that you left originally, still keeps on being lower in priority, not asked by any user anytime.
- You save your efforts by launching early. Spending money on features that are important for your users, not on the ones you ‘thought’ are important.
- Successful app entrepreneurs launch the app early.
7. Looking for cheapest developers
- You go to freelancing sites. You post on LinkedIn. You get a lot of proposals. You shortlist the freelancers or company offering cheapest rates.
- More chances are that you end up spending more and more time, money, efforts, and calendar days waiting for your app to finish.
- Please don’t keep price as the most important criterion to select developer / company.
- Please check for the reviews, scrutinize them for being fake, what type of projects they have received the reviews for, check with your network for references, check the past projects.
- Even after this, please don’t commit a big fortune, unless you spend two weeks with the developer and see their first delivery.
- Successful app entrepreneurs analyze the developers properly before committing a lot of money with developers.
8. Not testing the developed app as a user.
- You got the app. You show it to investors and users. The demos fail. Users see the bugs. They get irritated.
- You keep thinking, why are my users not increasing? Why no investor is showing interest?
- Whenever you receive the app, please keep a lot of time for you to test the app yourself as a user. Please run the full cycle of a user. Try to make all different mistakes or do strange things users would do, that may break the system. Enter incorrect data and see if the system shows errors.
- Successful app entrepreneurs test their apps thoroughly.
9. Not keeping a marketing budget.
- You think your app is great and it doesn’t need marketing. You kill your business.
- However great an app is, it needs marketing.
- Online and offline, both marketing media need money to be invested in.
- So, please don’t spend all your fortune in developing the app only.
- Please get the most important features developed early and start spreading the app to your inner circle.
- A lot of time, money, and efforts in marketing will be required to make the app successful.
Above is a list that we could think of. Always open to suggestions on what more should be added. Thanks for reading. 🙂