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App development

Case study: build me an app

I’m a startup founder. I have 10k USD. Build me an app.

This very sentence may have a different meaning for you depending on the situation: are you a fresh founder and these are your previous savings, or a seasoned entrepreneur that plays with new ideas, or maybe a sales person that knows the features list is so over the estimation that the numbers just don’t add up. Let’s keep up with the founders perspective this time.

Is 10k a lot? Why is it so difficult to get a quote on my simple, straightforward, lean idea? What a hell are they calculating for 30-40k when it’s just a first MVP (The Lean Startup | Methodology) ?

Dear startup founder, I feel you – I know you – I AM YOU. I’ve been on the both sides, and what I’ve learned: it’s neither a lot nor too little nor is it impossible to build something out of it.

Bulid me an app: so what’s the matter with this case study?

So what’s the matter with this case study?

1 – Product is only 40% of the business.
2 – Costs for engineering to building an app is 30% from product cost.
3 – Chances to get funding are higher when showing proofed market interest and financial capacity of the target users.

It’s crucial how you use your pre-seed investment when starting your software business and you must realise it’s not an investment in the product but in the strategy of the business and a skeleton of the product.

I’d look at the pre-seed money as a medium to reproduce more value, create a proof, make a “card” that you can use when playing the fundraising game. The value you get out of it plus resourcefulness and determination takes you to the next stage.

Build me an app: how to make the most of this pre-seed investment?

How to make the most of this pre-seed investment?

Since this step should move you closer to market testing, product development, and bringing operations up to speed, you should really think what’s the best way to get quality feedback from the test users and how the landing page will collect and measure user interest.

What I’d do first – sneak peek from the best! Product Hunt – The best new products in tech. is the holy grail for amazing new products, their debuts, beta-phases, releases, and feedback stages. (I’d stay with Product Hunt for longer to observe all the new ideas, apps, and companies that mak this industry the top innovation.

There are plenty of tools out there to create a demo page, landing page, fill-in forms, etc. In addition, make use of the Business canvas Business Model Canvas – Download the Official Template . All of that will help other people understand and analyse your idea better. And from this moment, depending on the complexity and the size of the project, your pre-seed can be enough to make a big professional workshop with really impactful deliverables or a very simple, no-design, no-AI, please-no-complications version of the app.

I’ve seen many founders re-discovering their ideas and product vision during team workshops. A good team of senior product-minded engineers, a designer, and a manager, can provoke you to think different with their questions. Your experience and innovation of the idea are indisputable, and so is theirs! 🙂

I’d expect the following deliverables from a full workshop:

  • Project backlog – user stories with acceptance criteria
  • Development plan – hour breakdown of the budget separated for each iteration. User Personas
  • User flow
  • Design pitch
  • Analysis of competitors’ solutions
  • API analysis
  • any relevant additional research and technical solution recommendations;

Another way to go is figure out your MVP scope and prepare all the details and descriptions for your software development partner, which will reduce the costs of the discovery / workshops phase and lessen the risks of building the wrong thing, along with the risks of miscommunication, miscalculation.

I’m going to add some of my favourite free wire-framing and prototyping tools:

MockFlow – Online Wireframe Tools, Prototyping Tools, Design tool, UI Mockups, UX Suite, Remote design collaboration, UX Planning

A Free, Online Wireframing Tool to Help You Communicate Your Design Free prototyping tool for web & mobile apps – Justinmind

If you prepare a product description, Request For Proposal (RFP), your wireframes and competition product or similar solutions on the market, you will definitely get better estimations and hopefully a better software partner!

Next stop: Fundraising for seed stage and product development.

What’s your idea for an app? Tell us more.

Beata Zubaka, Business Developer

A woman with great power – Business Developer, Startup founder, Leader, and Protagonist. Software products and development world is her habitat. She likes to be challenged, to work in dynamic and motivating teams, to have purpose in what she does, and to see the results. Among other free time activities, she does freelance writing and contemporary dancing. She is also an avid winter sports fan, cross country cyclist and a yoga creature. Open for coffee any time!

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