In March 2013, I had an idea for an app that I wanted to create. I only had one problem… I had NO clue where to go from there. Since March, I’ve taken it from a neat idea, to a fully developed cross-platformed app. My company is incorporated, fundraising has begun, and I’m officially a boss. (Self high-five). Launch date for the Spinvite App is January 15, 2014 – check it out here
Since transforming from an IT Technician at Netflix to the founder of a tech start-up, the question I’m most frequently asked is no longer “Can you ask Netflix to get ‘____’ movie?” – but is now pretty consistently “I have an idea for an app – want to hear it?”. To be honest, NO, I really don’t want to hear your app idea. But if the question were more along the lines of “I have an app idea – what steps do I take next to make it happen?”, I’d gladly sit and chat for a few hours.
So, I thought I’d write a simple little post to let everyone know how I got to where I am now. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (literally), and founding a tech start-up is not a path for the weak at heart. It SUCKS. But it also rules. Anyways, here goes.
So you have an idea for an app. Get some pen and paper and start drawing out the screens. Look at similar apps and see how they function. Draw some more. Revise these until you have a good 10 pages of screens for this app, with button placement and basic design layout.
Your next step is to make an actual prototype on a computer. You don’t have to be a pro to do this. I used Keynotopia – an iPhone prototyping template that works in Keynote and Powerpoint. http://keynotopia.com/iphone-Prototyping/
It took me about 6 weeks to build the perfect prototype for my app. Keep in mind you need a screen for every button and need to be thinking with the exact functions of these buttons. It doesn’t have to be PERFECT, as your developer will help perfect parts of the UI/UX that you might not be thinking with, but you should be pretty confident that you could turn your prototype over to any developer and they’d know exactly how to configure it.
Now – if you’re really serious with continuing the process at this point, it’s time to find a developer. There are two ways you can build your app: Native for iOS & Android, or as a web app which will function on both. Generally speaking, web apps are cheaper and quicker to get built, however Native iOS & Android allow you to build more complicated features that may not be available with a web app. Your developer should be able to answer your questions in regards to what will / will not work with a web vs native app.
So how do you get the money to pay for the developers? Well, if you have a rich daddy, you’re set! If you’re like the rest of us, you’ll just have to become a prostitute. Just kidding, Mom.
There are tons of options for fundraising out there, and figuring out the right now for you isn’t something I can answer for you. I personally had a small amount of money saved up that I was able to use, and I was able to save quite a bit since I developed a large portion of it myself.
What I recommend is fundraising from friends and family. Getting a basic web app made that will function on both iOS and Android costs around $10G. Ask around, get a loan, sell your shares, and just do it if you’re serious. Don’t even try to go to angel investors with an idea – they want to see a working product! Some more good fundraising tips here: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/52718
Once you have a basic web app made, set a launch date, plan out well researched marketing plan, and get as many users as possible in the first week as you can. Set up investor meetings within a week after your launch and prove to them that you can get users, and you can get them fast, and ask for their money to help you get to your next milestone.
This is the most watered down post I think I could possibly do, but at least it’s a guideline. I’ll do some more on the subjects of fundraising, business incorporation, marketing, and web app vs native in the next upcoming weeks. Email me if you have questions and I’ll help wherever I can!
Also, I’m not on the cover of Forbes YET, so I’m not saying this is the perfect route to take or that I’m the expert. But it’s worked out great for me so far.
Also also also, I have some incredible business advisors and if you become really serious about your app start-up, I recommend you get a few. I’ve learned so much from those who’ve walked the path before me, and I’ve avoided quite a few disasters by listening to their advice.
K happy holidays BYE!