So, what does it take to get a web/mobile application to market? Not much it seems, in today’s world of cloud technology and open source software and tools. But at the same time, a lot. At the end of the day if you build something is going to make you a profit, it does require a concerted effort and a plan – a plan to build a working app that people will like, use and recommend to their friends and of course, a business plan on how to make a buck or two.
Here is how I am starting.
Idea to app:
This is the most critical part. All I have right now is an idea. A need I see in the marketplace. Something that I believe users need and will use. Nothing more than that – an idea festering in my mind like a parasite. I have to transform it to a real working app that people will like and use.
My main challenge – I am not a professional programmer or at least have not been one for over a decade. I found though that I know (remember) enough about programming fundamentals and UNIX commands to be able to learn some basics in a modern web framework to get a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) going. The recommended approach is to get an MVP out there ASAP to users and then use their feedback to improve it to a full featured app.
My approach – Build a working iOS native or web app (prototype) using a Django backend. (Why I chose Django in another post – it’s easy to learn, by the way and did I mention free). I am pretty sure the code I write will suck and any professional programmer will throw it away, but the goal is to get a prototype working, even if it works only for me, on my laptop, every other Thursday, between 3 and 4 PM. I will only demo it to people in that time slot… I then plan to go out and hire a professional programmer who use the prototype as a starting point to build a real product.
App to Business:
Now that’s whole another ball game. Reading TechCrunch and the likes will get you to believe that the main measure of success here is getting funded. I, and many other successful entrepreneurs disagree, as I am sure do the real entrepreneurs at TechCrunch. Though it seems, not the reporters who write the news reports. The real measure of success of any business is profit.
My main challenge – How does one get from a web app, which people have developed the expectation will be a free service, to a business model that will generate not just revenue, but profit. The model online for a lot of companies seems to be to grab an extremely large user base and then figure out how to monetize it later. This is risky and requires capital to keep the lights on, till a profitable business model starts working. A potential path to explore…
My approach – keep studying every possible business model and approach I can find. Keep looking for ways to make this a profitable venture without capital infusion, while keeping the door open for that option too. This has been done successfully. I just finished reading ‘Rework‘ from the folks over at 37signals. They bootstrapped it and so did many others. (I am writing another post on what I have learnt so far about bootstrapping.)
So, here we go. The coding has begun. Or at least learning how to code. And so has the development of business plan to get what I build to become a viable business. More details to come…
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