5 First Steps to App Adoption

Dear Professor Investor, I have come up with a never-been-done-yet app idea that is really legitimate. What's next?

Beth from Washington, DC
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Congratulations Beth,

Good ideas are an important first step in building a business, unfortunately they aren't sufficient. A lot of work needs to be done next. First off, you need to find people who will validate that idea and to prove that it'll make money. Start by doing the following:

  1. Connect with real people who would pay for it and talk to them about their needs. Would your app meet these needs? Be sure to contact more than just friends and family!
  2. Build a simple email capture page using something like LeadPages or OptimizePress to keep things cheap and easy. Your marketing copy should be engaging. This will allow you to collect emails and measure the market's interest in your product.
  3. Test. Tweak your copy based on the feedback you receive and repeat steps 1 and 2.
  4. Once you have a significant amount of interest, you can either: A) Seek out a technical co-founder to build the app; B) Write a business plan and pitch to potential investors; or C) Bootstrap the business by hiring people out of pocket and have them build it for you.
  5. Keep repeating steps 1 through 3 regularly to ensure you're still creating a product people will actually use.
  6. Release your product with the fewest features required (this prototype is often known as an MVP, minimum viable product) to make it useful, then invite beta users and see how they use the app. Are they doing what you expected? Are they getting stuck anywhere? Do they need a feature you haven't considered yet?
  7. Iterate.
It's not easy to build an app. But it is even harder to build a loyal user base. A great app with no audience won't get far. A bad app with a huge audience won't last long. You need to validate your product and customize it to your users - only then will your idea be legitimate. If you follow these steps and work hard to meet your audience's needs, you could create something great. Hope that helps!

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