You have a great idea for an App, but where do you start?

At Geeks to the Rescue, we are frequently approached by clients who have “a great App idea”, but they don’t know where to start and whether it will make them millions.

This is a subject where we can go into great depth, but to make things simpler, we have listed some commonly asked questions with brief replies.  If you would like to know more, we are happy to give a one hour consultation to guide you through the process.

  1. Do I need to learn a programming language to develop an app?
    Definitely Not!  There are places such as Elance, where you can hire freelance programmers to do the work for you.  You pay them for their work, but the copyright and all profits of the app will remain with you.
  2. So if I get the app developed and put it on the App Store, will the money start rolling in?
    Not quite!  First of all, have a look at the app store for apps that are similar to yours.  Chances are, someone has already made one, so your app may just end up competing with lots of similar apps! Also, making an app may not be difficult work if you use a freelance programmer, but you will need to thoroughly test it before releasing it.  There are so many apps available now  that to make your app stand out from the crowd, you will need to spend money on marketing it – you can attempt this yourself, but your money is probably better put towards a good marketing expert.
  3. If I have no capital, can I make the app myself?
    There are some DIY sites such as iBuild App and Conduit, which allow you to make an app, with no coding required, but be prepared to spend a lot of time and to settle for a mediocre design and interface. You may be better off spending money with professionals such as graphic designers.
  4. How long will it take?
    That really depends on the complexity of your app and will depend largely on how much you are utilising programmers, graphic designers and marketing experts. A simple app may take a couple of months whereas a more complex and heavily promoted app may take 2 years.  Even if you are using sub-contracted professionals, you will need to communicate regularly to ensure your vision is captured and to ensure the end product looks polished and delivers what you anticipate your customers will want.  So be prepared to spend your time and money.
  5. Do I need to keep it a secret?
    This is an interesting one because almost everyone we have spoken to feels that their app idea should be a well-guarded secret so that someone else won’t copy it.  Assuming that your idea is actually unique (see point 2 above), there really is no need to keep tight lipped about it.  The chances of someone copying your idea is very low, however, the benefit you will get by sharing the idea with the professionals needed to get your app off the ground is massive.  Why?  Because that is the start of your market research.  By discussing the idea with others, you can refine it, make it better and who knows, you might even find some people who are willing to finance it.
  6. What about apps that go “viral”
    Yes there are apps that go viral and there are people who win the jackpot in the lottery, but the chances of both are pretty slim.  If you want your app to be successful, you will have to finance a marketing plan that involves social media (such as Facebook) and an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) campaign.

But having said all that, don’t let us put you off.  If you have a great idea, that you think will be of use to people, don’t give up.  However be realistic with your goals and be prepared to go that extra mile.  It’s not easy, but if your app becomes popular it can be satisfying and certainly profitable.