Take Your App Idea from Concept to Cash
by Chris McCray | November 20, 2018
Many of us have been there. You are sitting with a group of friends, and someone says, “There should be an app…” Next thing you know, you have a full list of useful features and prices planned out. It could be a fun mobile game, a useful tool for a specialist, or a novel way of unifying existing data or online platforms into a time-saving, valuable, and actionable dashboard.
This is where many great app ideas remain: in the creative mind.
How do you leverage today’s mobile world and possibly make money out of it? Keep yourself grounded.
First, you will need to cost out the development and determine if the risk is worth the reward. Next, you will need to pull together a team of talent that can make it happen. Finally, like anything else that sells legally, it must be sold by a legitimate business, ideally with a sound business and marketing plan to help keep efforts and resources on track.
Step 1: Costing
Like any IT startup, web or software development is considered “research and development” so the money required to create the app is not eligible for traditional business loans, no matter how great the idea.
This includes paying the app developers (and yourself), patenting or trademarking the idea, and beta testing. Each feature and phase should be listed out along with a task timeline and cost of development within a larger project timeline. A familiarity with the application development lifecycle is a must for completeness – a competent software engineer may be able to assist with this. Once a comprehensive costing has been completed, the final number will be the capital you will need to raise in order to make this dream a reality, and could range from $50,000 to $100,000+ depending on the technical complexity. See our article “92 Creative Ways to get Money Without Going to the Bank” for some great ideas.
Step 2: Talent
The right people for the job and business is crucial. Often, it is tempting to outsource development overseas due to cost savings, but there is a big compromise. Legal systems do not tend to transcend borders well, so what may be protected intellectual property in the U.S. may be fair game to take and develop on their own in another country.
In addition, global freelance work does not encourage the type of commitment to your project as having an experienced regional company or individual with whom you can meet regularly. If you are not a developer yourself, you are betting the entire success of your idea on the talent you bring on board, so do your due diligence.
Step 3: Start a Business
Apps sold should always be from a legitimate business. If an app is the only thing you want this business to sell, then it is important to register and plan out the business within the software development industry. Having a robust digital marketing plan will be central to the success of your app.
You will need to consider continuous development, customer service, administration and financial bookkeeping, and much more. There are no-cost resources available at the city, county, state and federal levels to help guide you along the steps necessary to plan, launch, and grow your business at every stage.
You have many resources available to help you take your app idea to a profitable venture, so make the decision today to move forward.
Florida SBDC at USF, Tampa
Specialty: Business Planning and Startup, Marketing
Chris McCray brings a strong background in the information technology and healthcare industries to the Tampa Bay region. He has worked in business systems analysis, IT client services, clinical management, and entrepreneurship in computer networking and repair. McCray is also a U.S. Navy veteran, specializing in cryptology. He holds an MBA from the John H. Sykes College of Business at University of Tampa and a bachelor of science in management, with a concentration in human resource management from Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte. He is also involved in the local Tampa Bay film industry.