HubOfTech has been constantly working with startups since 2007.
Through that time we have met a lot of companies with different ideas for their businesses and coming from many environments. Some of them came to us very well prepared, but a lot of them did not really have a clue how to approach the topic (unfortunately, that is the majority of the startup industry).
This article is targeted at this majority – it will help you prepare yourself before talking to any software company.
1. Idea vs concept
The first thing you have to do is try to transform your idea into a full-blown concept. Usually you will find yourself in a situation where you have found a solution for some problem. Whenever you do, do not keep it to yourself. Start talking to experienced people around you that will help you ask yourself the right questions, transforming a simple idea into something more concrete. And please remember – Idea is not a business plan! Once this transformation is done you will have a better overview of what you actually want to do:)
A lot of people coming to a software house haven’t done the basic homework – doing some deep research. What are the things you should definitely know?
Let me give you a list:
- What kind of problem is my app going to solve?
This is very important. Most of the apps on the market (successful ones) solve some kind of a problem. You need to be aware what problem are you trying to solve.
- Why do I want to do this? Am I doing this for myself or for others?
Think about your motivation! It will help you better understand what kind of future you want to have with this product.
- Do my clients realize they have this problem?
Sometimes finding a problem to solve is not enough. What you need to know more is whether your potential customers realize they have it and what’s more – do they want to solve it?
- What are your plans?
You need to have goals, like the number of active users or purchased subscriptions. Setting orientational dates for each milestone is a good exercise that will help you plan your future and see if the product can be successful.
- One man army?
A good question to ask yourself is – who do I need to make this work. This will show you whether you need to hire, who do you need to hire and when:) We’re not all swiss-army knives!
Check your financial capability – savings, loan possibilities or seed investment. Luckily in current times, you have plenty of possibilities to choose from.
3. Who will use the app?
Get to know your customers. Talk to them, ask how they solve the problem at this point. See if they would be interested in solving it in the way you imagine. This is a crucial step that a lot of people ommit, because they are afraid of rejection. Believe me, it’s better to get rejected now, than after spending thousands of dollars!
4. What about the competition?
Another crucial step in the process. Find your competition. If you haven’t found any – think why there are no companies that do what you want to do. Maybe they already existed, but have fallen down? Try to learn from their mistakes. If you have a competition – figure out why your product would be better. Do you have a specific niche you want to address? Or maybe your solution would be faster? The more arguments in your direction, the better.
When you accomplished all previous steps you can start working on your brief – which is the written form of your concept. A good brief should be simple and transparent, yet full of content that will help your partners or investors understand what your app is about. Remember to write it in simple language.
Start with general information:
Expected budget and source of financing,
Name of the app,
What do you want to sell? Is it know-how? Is it a service? Or is it a downloadable product?
What are the problems and the solutions you will offer?
List the competitors and describe them briefly (extremely important, as it will show investors that you have done your homework)
Who is your target?
Is it a web app, a mobile app or both?
Will you store any sensitive data?
Legal or technical barriers in your country (like VOIP blockade in UAE).
Functions – if you are not experienced just write what your clients will do, describe the flow.
I hope I didn’t scare you, but at the same time I hope I did. Running a project is not an easy job, and you should be well prepared.
And remember – you can talk to us about anything and we will try to help you find all the necessary answers.