You've come up with the next big app idea and now you're ready for the next step... developing it. It's time to find the right development team and commit to each other in a project that will may last even longer than an actual marriage. But unlike your spouse, you'll probably be paying your devs a bit of money.
Entrepreneurship can look all sleek and glossy from the outside, but much like marriage, it takes consistent, dedicated work to make it succeed. There’s nothing worse than squabbling over who finished the toothpaste… you’ve got bigger dreams at stake here.
So, before you commit to the unpredictable journey of starting a business, it’s important to do a thorough self-assessment. Most aspiring founders focus on money and technology, but there are several other factors that can directly affect your shot at success. Here at Appifany, we've come up with three key questions to ask yourself before taking the app-development plunge:
1. Are you emotionally prepared?
Business and emotions. Ah, yes. Two things that go together like chips and dip… delicious, but too much of anything isn’t good for you. Emotions can run high on your journey. Of course, this depends on your natural disposition, too. The personal, financial and time investments in entrepreneurship can create a knockout emotional cocktail that could end your project in a single outburst. That’s why it’s good to think about what type of leader you’ll be before you’re actually leading a team:
You take everything in stride. Nothing fazes you and no roadblock goes unturned. You trust your team inherently. They’re the experts, right? Right.
You’re secretly wondering if the lead developer has the chops to build your baby. You’re skeptical about everything and everyone. After all, what about the build that crashed? And does the designer really know where the login button should go?
You know the scope inside out – and you know what you want. If the project hits a snag and the team can’t deliver, then they better find a way or get out of the way, because you will EXPLODE.
Whether it’s good or bad news, every twist in the road has you reaching for the tissue box. You’re so emotionally invested in the product that you can’t handle the ride. It’s all wonderful and terrible at the same time. This is starting to sound like a twisted version of Snow White’s seven dwarves, but the takeaway is that how you lead, manage, respond, negotiate, celebrate or admit defeat can affect your app journey. A startup can take a serious emotional toll – not only on you, but for your support, product design, and development teams.
Creating an app is a group effort, so make sure you’re leading the pack in a way that people will respect and admire. Also, you need to consistently set emotions aside and clear your mind. For example, is your designer missing important UX guidelines? Or is he AWOL for three weeks due to “personal matters,” but his Instagram feed is a parade of snowboarding selfies? You have every right to feel angry in either of these scenarios, but freaking out won’t solve anything. Let’s talk instead about how to find, research, and lock in the talent you need.
2. Do you have the right design and dev team? Have you found “the one?”
The world is full of digital designers and developers, so how do you choose the right partner? Clearly, you should shop around for a fair price, but you should also learn more about the team who will work on your project:
Where are they based? Don’t rule out an overseas dev team. Strong talent exists beyond your borders and there are lots of qualified people everywhere. All teams require further scrutiny, though. Do your homework. Be diligent.
Who will you communicate with? It’s important to know if you’ll work directly with a project manager, account manager, developer or quality analyst. This also depends on whether you engage an individual or a company, of course.
Are you a diplomat or a dictator? You can choose to engage someone who works for you or who works with you. The journey can be incredibly rewarding when you share it with dedicated, skilled, fun people who you’re happy to crack a beer with at the end of the day. You don’t have to know your team right down to their shoe sizes, but the goal is to feel like you’re approaching the project with a shared, collaborative mindset. Research and nurture your team, and hopefully they’ll return the love.
Do they have your back? Your team should not only understand your vision, but they should also be your professional advocates. Why? Because your ideas – no matter how sharp they are – might not always work. A key feature might not meet iOS UX guidelines, for example, or the icon you chose for the app could be rejected by the Apple Store. When a professional team has your best interests in mind, they’ll give you smart advice about how to shift your vision.
Remember that informed advice is not a personal attack. A great team will work hard to help you reach your end goal, which is a live app that people will use and love. When you understand each other, you can work toward a shared vision that meets the guidelines and reflects your personal preferences.
3. Do you have the time?
Sometimes people have (or take) the opportunity to drop their day job for the big dream: building an app. Now, they can be 100% dedicated to creating a digital product. In a perfect world, that would be music to my Producer’s ears. I should think, “Excellent! This client will be timely with their feedback, build testing, and sign-offs.” However, that’s rarely the case.
Your app or startup dream is in its infancy, and most likely, you also have a home, a family, a pet, a hobby, or even just that irritating human requirement to feed yourself, which means you need to maintain a steady income. Therefore, you need to ask yourself whether you have enough time to commit (and I mean, really commit) to your app. The journey will not be short, and at the very minimum, it will require you to scope out your vision, review designs and builds, give feedback, approve milestones, and decide on changes – all within a set timeline. And every project has a timeline.
If you’re thinking, “an app can’t possibly require this much of my time,” then I would wait until you’re ready to make a full-fledged commitment. Wait until you’re ready to pledge your love. At one point or another, every one of my clients inevitably says, “I never realized how involved this journey would be, but I’m so glad I did it.” Enjoy the view from up here
Congratulations! You’re live, which is a great reason to pop the Champagne (I’ll take any excuse, really). Looking at the road ahead can now bring mixed feelings. For some, going live is not a celebration, but a cold dose reality. You might realize that you’ve spent a small fortune on an idea that’s not guaranteed to succeed.
Like a climber who stops halfway up the rock face to catch her breath, you’re stunned by what you can see from here; the view is breathtaking. But then, you might feel paralyzing fear and anxiety when you look back down and realize you’re suspended. Don’t worry. This is normal. I’ve seen the same reaction time and time again, but how you respond is directly linked to how prepared you feel. It’s time to focus on gaining traction and dominating your market.
Ultimately, making tangible plans can give you comfort – and your next plans should revolve around marketing and growth. So, enjoy the view and the milestone you’ve reached. Take a breath. It’s time to start climbing again.
//If you found this article useful, check out our recent one on 3 Stages of Securing Funding for Your App.