I Have an Idea for an App. Where Do I Start? [Preparation Guide]

Tech Researcher

Novikova Darya

Tech Researcher

May 11
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Have you come up with a brilliant app idea? Congratulations, you’re entering an exciting path into the app development process! In fact, starting a new project can feel overwhelming and even spooky, especially if you're not familiar with some peculiarities and pitfalls yet. However, we have two pieces of news for you (and both are good). Firstly, all great apps started with the question “What to do with an app idea?”, so you’re not alone in this. Secondly, we have the needed expertise to guide you through the key milestones and establish a solid preparation roadmap for your project. Let’s dive deeper into the details.

7 stages of dealing with an app idea

Before rushing into the development process, it’s vital to execute a structured approach and never neglect the necessary preparation. We’ve covered the most essential components of dealing with an app idea that matter the most:

Conduct thorough market research

Gaining valuable market insights is your safety precaution against investing time and resources into an app that nobody wants. Deep market research helps you identify gaps and unmet needs that your app can fulfill. Below we’ve mentioned major steps that can help you make informed decisions and minimize risks:

  • Identify your target audience: The easiest way to validate your app idea and detect people's interest is by asking them directly. Conduct surveys and interviews, as well as assemble focus groups to understand users’ preferences and pain points. What if you don’t need to invest in the time-consuming native app development, and can just get away with a simple progressive web app (PWA)? Or maybe your assumptions have nothing in common with reality? Communication is the key!

Read Also PWA vs Native app: what to choose?

  • Study your competitors: Though it’s impossible to reinvent the wheel, you can always try to refine it. Analyze apps similar to your idea to find out what makes them successful and what issues they miss to address (and hit these issues with your future app functionality).

  • Keep an eye on the market trends: Stay tuned to the latest trends in the app market, including emerging technologies, popular features, and user behaviors. For instance, one of such trends is app development with Flutter, which allows you to reduce development time and cost.

  • Define your USP (Unique Selling Proposition): Why should your target audience choose your future app? Can you address user-specific needs better than others? Based on user feedback and market research, make a list of unique features that would set your app apart from your competitors.


Define your app's features

Apart from defining the unique characteristics of your future app, you should brainstorm the overall app concept and all possible features that can relate to it. Are you going to build an on-demand app or a subscription-based service like productivity or fitness app? Should your app access any smartphone features like camera and GPS or not? Each application is very individual, so make sure you articulate as many specifics as possible. 

Read also: How to build a profitable on-demand app?

Once you have the list, prioritize features based on their importance and relevance. Such prioritization is necessary for extracting features that will be included in the Minimal Viable Product (MVP). We highly recommend starting your app creation path with MVP development to find out if your idea is relevant and much in demand, instead of immediately investing in the all-in application.

Drawing up a list of app features is a critical step. When you have at least a general version of what the user experience should look like, it will be easier to communicate the desired scope of tasks to the development team later.

How to Build an MVP: Process, Cost, Benefits [Complete Guide]

Read article


Pick the right monetization strategy

We bet that the thought “I have an app idea” has popped into your mind for a reason and you definitely consider some monetization plan for your future project, don't you? Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. So how to choose among so many different app monetization strategies out there? Let us provide you with a couple of hints. 

We see no need to beat around the bush – just ask your potential users if they are ready to pay for such a service and how much. You may include such questions in interviews and surveys during the discovery phase, and assess your success chances at the very beginning.

Next up, rely on the type of app and the supposed user journey that you outlined earlier. Does your application entail further scalability and adding extra features? Will you place any in-app ads or purchases? For instance, gaming apps often contain in-app purchases and ads, while productivity apps come with a subscription model. Find the golden mean between your revenue ambition and the user’s buying capacity to implement the right strategy with reasonable fees.

Top most expensive apps in the app Store

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Find the budget for your project

It's no secret that app development is a costly process, so finding reliable investors and raising decent funding is an absolute must. But just claiming “I have an app idea” won’t be enough to get serious investment, so you need a well-thought strategy and determination to enable cash flow to your app development startup. 

Before you even start the search, we recommend preparing a solid pitch outlining why investors should bring their money into your startup. Be clear yet persuasive to establish trust-based relations between yourself and a prospective investor.

Additionally, before approaching any investors, make sure to do thorough research into their background and interests, so that you know what kind of investment they're likely to consider. This will also help to ensure that both parties have similar goals when it comes to negotiating the terms of the deal. 


What are the most popular funding options that startups use?

Angel investors: Explore angel investor networks such as Tech Coast Angels or Golden Seeds which provide access to high-net-worth individuals. Angel investors appropriate funds into early-stage companies with great app ideas in exchange for a share. 

Venture capitalists: These firms manage funds raised from institutional investors and typically invest larger amounts of money than angel investors. However, they have more specific criteria for the startups they invest in, such as a certain revenue threshold or high growth potential.

Co-founders: You may turn to your network (friends, family members, colleagues) to find individuals who would be interested in your business idea, and share the responsibilities and budgeting of a startup with you.

Government grants: If your future app has a social impact or promotes innovation, you have great chances to apply for a grant from the government. Though winning such grants can be a competitive process, be persistent and don’t give up after the first unsuccessful attempt.

Crowdfunding: You can also raise funding for your project by collecting small contributions from a large number of people. Platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo allow you to pitch your app idea to a broader audience and receive funding from individual contributors.


Here’re some tips you can use to find investment:

  • Attend networking events: Visiting conferences, startup events, or pitching competitions related to your industry is a nice opportunity to meet potential investors and showcase your app idea.

  • Use social media: Reach out to investors via social media channels like LinkedIn or Twitter in order to build relationships before asking them to invest in your business.

  • Utilize online platforms: There are many online platforms that connect startups with investors. You can create a profile and pitch your app idea there. And don’t feel uncomfortable following up after pitching! Even if someone isn't interested now, that doesn't mean they won’t change their mind later. Thus, make sure you keep track of all conversations.


Find a trusted app development provider

With so many software providers out there, it can be hard to identify a reliable and trustworthy one. It's important to do your research before committing to any particular company: look for reviews and ratings of different app development companies, and compare their portfolios, pricing, and customer ratings. Plus, ask your network for their recommendations and feedback about working with such service providers.

Attending industry events like conferences, workshops, or seminars is another way to meet potential app development teams, communicate with them directly, and gain insight into the latest trends and best practices. 

A skilled team will be able to handle any request and provide comprehensive consultation, even if your request sounds like “I have an app idea, where do I start?”. The main rule here – take your time for the search and never settle for less. When signing a contract, you have to be sure that the app development company will ensure that your app idea is not only executed flawlessly but also stays confidential throughout the whole mobile development process.


Estimate your app development cost

Let's face it, developing an app can be quite costly. But what's even more costly is not knowing what budget you’re going to allocate and what your limits are. So why take the risk of ending up with a hefty bill that you can't afford? 

Of course, it is very difficult to predict the exact amount in advance, but you can at least approximately determine how much you will need. You may start by researching industry standards as this data can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost. 

Break down your app development into different categories (development, design, testing, management, marketing, post-release support, etc.) and browse websites such as Upwork and Glassdoor to explore average rates for specialists in each category. When searching for a development team, you can ask potential partners for a rough estimate of the development cost so you can understand and decide whether you are ready to invest in development or not.

Many startups prefer not to play all-in from the start and opt for entering the market with a soft launch. This approach is a more cost-effective way to introduce the initial version of your app, or MVP, to the public without flashy rollouts and jaw-dropping budgets. And you can also request an estimate of the MVP development separately.

Top 12 MVP examples that revolutionized markets

Read article

Secure your app idea

Brilliant app ideas should be kept safe just like your grandma's secret recipe, so don’t rush to chant I have an idea for an app” or celebrate this fact too loud – someone might steal it faster than you say "patent pending". To protect your app idea, consider the following options:

  • Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs): When you share your idea with people who have signed an NDA, you prevent them from disclosing or using it without your permission.

  • Copyrights and trademarks: Protecting your idea, app name, logo, and other related items with copyrights and trademarks is a nice way to avoid unpleasant surprises. To accomplish that, pick a logo maker that allows you to create a custom logo with copyright.

  • Patents: Will your app include any unique component or invention? If so, don’t hesitate to apply for a patent to protect your intellectual property.


Final thoughts

As you see, there’s a long way between the exclamation “I have an idea for an app” and the actual start of application development. Despite the fact that the preparatory stage requires patience, research, and dedication, covering all the steps mentioned in this article can increase your chances of success. 

In case you have app development on your agenda but have only an idea, SolveIt is here to assist. And be sure that your app idea will be safe and sound with us ;)