Kickstart any app idea: our recipe

It’s easy to be in the centre of attention if you have something cool to offer. Developers are a hot asset now: every now and then, someone wants our agency to do a mobile app for revenue share, a website for future buyout, or me, in person, to be the CTO of a new gig.

I love all these projects.

No, really, I do.

Not because they bring much cash or fame, as I don’t tend to earn much with most of them. But it’s always great to learn new teams and methods, and these projects provide a good field for experimentation.

Quite some guidance may be needed on the project setup and management though, especially if my co-founders lack experience with tech products. Here is the three points I like to send out to them, right at square one.

Our plan to kickstart any tech project (mobile apps, websites etc).

  1. Almost immediately start working on an initial prototype.
    Creating the prototype helps exploring the idea internally, and will also help explaining it once you can start attracting potential investors and new team members.

    By creating a demo product you will need to set up most of the tools and methods needed to – well, to create a product. So it can be nothing but super easy to demonstrate the team’s ability to bring an idea to the market – which can significantly help the negotiating positions with a VC.

  2. Set up the development workflows.
    Any rapid iteration process would do. The key is to answer this question: if anyone comes up with a new feature or idea today, how will that be incorporated in the product and reach the market tomorrow?

    There are a lot of free tools (like Trello or Asana) that will help teams keep track of these features. The bottomline with choosing one is: every new pair of eyes should be able to tell where the company is standing, just by taking a look at the dashboard.

  3. Start PR & marketing efforts from day one.
    Have you ever wished you had a handful of people to ping when you are ready to launch? Set up a ‘coming soon’ landing page and collect subscribers as soon as you start thinking about the product and that is taken care of.

    The rule of the thumb is to always start with the things that can be potential bottle necks, and a good marketing is one of these. First step here is usually to choose a good name, create a corporate identity with a nice logo and an initial mission statement. This will help strengthen the product as well as the team, especially with remote ones.

We tend to do the above in no particular order, and in strong collaboration with the business development. The idea is to get the product only far enough so that we can find out whether there is a market fit for it. If the answer is yes, the foundation to create the next version of the product is as good as it can get.