Where to begin if you want to create an app?

Katya Uvarova
notebook and pencil

One of the biggest challenges first-time entrepreneurs face is understanding how to actually begin working on their ideas.

Should I just go and hire a developer to build my app? Do I need a designer? How to explain my idea to them? What should I do next?

Clarify your idea

Let’s begin with the first problem people face. So let’s say you have a really great idea about how to change the taxi business by allowing anyone to become essentially a taxi driver part-time which in turn makes it easier for people to find a free cab. Let’s assume we are in the pre-Uber era. But what do you do next?

The next step should be narrowing down your idea and understanding it better. We will do it in three parts:

  1. Understanding the goals
  2. Understanding the users
  3. Narrowing down the features

First, you need to understand why are you building this app. What are its purpose and goal? The primary goal might be easy to identify. For example, for a ride-sharing app like Uber, the main goal can be making it easier and faster to get from point A to B. However, this is the main goal for one type of user. And many software products have many types of users. Another goal for this app might be to help people with cars earn additional income.

Understanding the problems the application is trying to solve and goals it is trying to achieve is essential to every future decision you will make because every one of them must get you one step closer to achieving your goal.

Second, you need to know who are your users. We will talk more about this in our business research episode but you need to know your target audience very well. But initially at least try to understand what is their age group, gender, and income. This will too determine which way you’ll learn when making a decision.

Identify features

Lastly, you need to have at least a rough understanding of the features that your app should have. To make it easy, divide them into 3 categories:

  1. Main features
  2. Secondary features
  3. Miscellaneous features

The main features for a ride-sharing app could be the ability to select your pickup location, the ability to select a destination and the ability to actually book a car that will come to pick you up.

Secondary features could include the ability to select a type of car, the ability to select whether you want to ride alone or open to picking up others to reduce your trip cost.

Miscellaneous features are all of the things that you don’t even usually think about but they are required for the app to function properly. Ability to register and create an account, ability to add your payment information, ability to turn off notifications.

It is important to nail down your first draft list of features before moving forward. Your goals, your users and your features will determine almost everything about how your app will look and function. So make sure to nail them down first before moving to the next lesson.