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Business

App business kick-off questions!

Hi everyone,

I have an app idea that I would like to turn into a business. I have gone further from just the idea and started laying out a business plan. I am not a programmer, however I have worked as a Salesforce CRM Admin for couple years. I have HTML, CSS and RoR basic knowledge that I have reinforced with the courses from Treehouse. There are many questions that pop-up to my head as the business plan evolves. I am pretty sure others have faced this before and would like to hear your thoughts.

  • Should I learn as much as I can and build the app myself? I feel that I should know the basics up to a point where I can follow the progress, know how to ask for changes, enhancements, understand the errors and be able to talk with a developer.
  • Would you hire a developer to build the app since the beginning? Where can you hire one?
  • Is there any book or course for business app entrepreneurs you would recommend?
  • I am thinking on attending to a StartupWeekend. How do you think it adds value? Thanks in advance!

3 Answers

jonathankavalos
jonathankavalos
3,523 Points

I'm going to knock out your list...

Should I learn as much as I can and build the app myself? Not "the" app of your business, but you should be building a side project to get you in the swing. Hire someone to start it and then you can takeover. It's hard to be the business owner as well as the developer. Possible, but difficult. What part of owning a business are you most passionate about? The making or the managing?

Would you hire a developer to build the app since the beginning? Where can you hire one? Yes, but you need to really look into their work. Do some homework! Some sites: odesk.com; weworkremotely.com; dice.com

Is there any book or course for business app entrepreneurs you would recommend? There are books on business, perhaps a few on the business of apps, but the reality is that any basic business book will work. I would really hesitate to call myself an "app business" in the first place. Apps usually act as an extension for engagement which should carry out well beyond the app.... to your website, mailing list, social media, etc. With the app marketplaces taking a percentage of your profits, you'll want to consider additional ways to keep your brand strong by selling to customers direct.

Consider building a business brand where the app takes center stage but is not the only product. An article to read: http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/starting-a-business/2012/05/01/how-to-start-app-business/

I am thinking on attending to a StartupWeekend. How do you think it adds value? Thanks in advance! Events like this allow you to test your idea. If your group does an app, you'll be able to see all the work that goes into creating a business around it.

My final words of advice are to NOT launch an app until you've done a bit more research. Many people think they are starting a business, when in reality they are developing a product. Before you spend a dime on development, I'd highly suggest setting up a mailing list and a landing page that asks people if they'd like more information when your app is launched. If you don't get many sign-ups it might be a sign that the interest isn't there.

Don't this the right way means that you can almost pre-sell sponsorship on the idea without a working demo. You'll feel much better about hiring a developer to take over if your product already has 100,000 waiting customers. Don't rush into this until you've tested the concept with people.

After you've realized you have a lot of interested parties, you should work on a UX schematic you could present to a developer to help explain what you want. This schematic should reflect the needs you want along with the knowledge you've gathered through talking with people about your idea.

Pasan Premaratne
STAFF
Pasan Premaratne
Treehouse Teacher

Hey Lut Garcia,

Having gone through the learning curve myself, it can take a while before you might be able to build a full fledged product yourself. When starting a business, your top priority should be getting customers and making a sale. You don't want to put in dev time on an idea that may or may not gain traction.

With that in mind, since you have basic skills, I would suggest building something quick and dirty, and validating the idea by getting a few customers and some real cash. Once you have proof that people will pay you for your idea, then you should either hire a developer or bring someone on as a cofounder to work on the product full time.

Thanks both Pasan and Jonathan. I see you both on the same direction. I like the idea of been able to build something quick and dirty in order to validate the idea. Which is what I am doing rigth now. However I am still getting help from a dev to jump over those big bumps on the way.

Jonathan I will checkout those site right now.

By the way, the Startup Weekend Event in Mexico City was great. I recommend everyone thinking on launching a business to attend this kind of event. The MOST valuable thing I learnt this weekend was to validate the idea. They made us build a prototype and go out to the street and ask leads what they though about the product and if they where interested in buying it. Knowing how to validate a business idea is something very helpful that can save you a lot of money, time and energy.