Welcome back Felix readers, time for our third instalment! Having laid the correct framework for your ideas and performed your background research, we now discuss how you realise your ideas in practical terms….
Having validated your idea, your primary concerns will be economic. Where do you get the funds to realise your app? If you are in a position to self fund, fantastic! Greater risk equals greater reward. If you are not, you have several options. These include obtaining grants, angel funding, venture capital and even crowdsourcing. There is a wealth of information online regarding each of these avenues. It is important to remember that you will be giving up equity in your business to obtain these funds (successfully obtaining a grant being the exception).
Most app start-ups go through multiple rounds of fundraising to cater to their different stages of growth. As you become more successful, the amount of equity you give up reduces as the risk to investors is minimised.
Many universities and financial institutions offer incubators where accepted start-ups are mentored through the entire process and introduced to potential funders. These are powerful tools for a young start-up but do remember that you will probably be giving up equity and potentially IP rights too. In fact there are programmes in place that cater to start-ups at different stages of their growth, scalability awards being a prime example.
Getting it built
First question, do you have someone capable of building your platform? If you or a partner are a computing whizz and are able, wonderful! Failing that, there are several things to consider (and these typically revolve around simple economics). If you’re well funded, you can approach a local company to build your platform for you. If you aren’t, you can source a partner capable of doing so. This will again involve giving up equity in your company. Another option is to outsource. There are many websites which allow you to put your ideas out to tender. Developers will then compete for your job. Having a non disclosure agreement here is valuable. You can find simple templates for these online although most freelance developers will already have their own. There are always success and sob stories when dealing with developers, regardless the route taken.
Dealing with developers overseas is notoriously challenging. Being able to relay technical information to someone who speaks English as a second (third, or even fourth) language is not easy. Culture can also dictate branding and the way your platform may look. Hence, a hybrid approach might be the most sensible option. Many UK based development houses will offer a cut price prototype service where they provide high res mock ups of how your platform should look and function. They may also have input to colourways and branding. All this IP belongs to you and you can then hand this over to someone overseas who can code at a fraction of the cost.
No matter the route you decide, it’s important to frame the project correctly and to ensure that payment is made based upon completion of milestones or deliverables. This will be worded into your contract. It is important to ensure that you own the rights to everything, especially in the unfortunate instance of this relationship turning sour. You must also ensure that your platform is not shared with anyone else without your express permission.
You obviously want your core audience to download and use your app. In most cases the key to success is marketing. Not just in terms of having a healthy marketing budget but having a targeted marketing plan.
Utilising social media is immensely powerful. You can advertise on Facebook and Instagram. This is more sophisticated than most would think and allows you to reach specific audience demographics and locations. The price for this service is also not prohibitive. Local advertising campaigns (think leaflets, posters and placards) and trade shows are also helpful.
As you grow, you may want to seek the assistance of a marketing specialist who will help you get your message to your target audience.
Next week we will be detailing our app ‘Impromptu’ and its back story…