Having an idea for an app is exciting and turning your idea into a functional app is truly rewarding. Generally speaking, people like to create new things and creating an app is no exception. With app development tools like bubble.is, the ability to create an app in a short time (even over a weekend) have never been easier.
If you’re looking to create an app for your own personal use, then developing something as quickly a possible is good. However, chances are you’re looking to make some money with your app. And this is where you can fall into the trap of “building it and they will come”. Without customer validation, chances are they won’t come.
In talking with startup founders and developers, generally speaking there’s an underlying belief that your company’s success only depends on getting your app created. Now certainly you need something to sell your customers but the assumption that just creating an app and then customers will line up to buy can be fatal to your startup. I recently had conversations with two different founders who were more focused on creating their respective apps then on validating a market need. One was going to develop the app first and then talk with customers.
Talking with potential customers to validate a problem before developing an app to fix that problem can save you a lot of time and frustration. Talking with prospects early, even before you start design, is critical. Not only will they help confirm your beliefs (or invalidate them!), chances are by bringing awareness of a problem to people, they will have additional ideas for you. They may say things like “You know, I also have this additional issue…” or “I really can’t stand it when…” which can uncover some “gold nuggets” of challenges people are facing. You can capitalize on this new knowledge and include features to address those challenges in your app. And since you’re fixing their problem, there’s a higher likelihood they’ll become paying customers.
In addition to taking the time to talk with customers, you can focus on creating minimal viable products (“MVP”). Creating MVP’s can be a powerful “excuse” to touch-base with customers, get their feedback and keep them in the loop on how you’re progressing with development. Some customers may even request periodic updates, i.e. weekly, to see your app’s updates.
While creating full-featured apps in a short period of time is easier than ever, you need to talk with customers early, even before development, and validate the problem you’re solving. Instead of trying to get your app done a fast as possible, think about creating MVP releases as quick as possible and validating with your customers. At the end of the day, the success of your journey depends on creating value for your customers. If you wait until your app is “done” before talking with customers, chances are your journey won’t be pleasant. Instead, take “stops” along your journey and meet with customers. Bring them along the journey with you. Chances are it’ll be more rewarding for you and for them. That’s a win-win situation which could provide you a successful business.