Have you ever had an amazing idea for an App and were overwhelmed with the idea of getting started? When I decided it was time to build an App for my business Moms Pump Here my first thought was I need to hire someone for this. There was no way I, or my business partner, was going to be able to undergo the process ourselves and maintain our sanity.
I’m a serial entrepreneur with a love for science and my partner is a scientist. So you had two very driven and educated women in STEM fields with no coding background. I consider myself tech savvy but coding felt like a step up I was not equipped to put my brain through. However, now that I have been through the process I am more than prepared to share what we discovered along the way.
Moms Pump Here started with a passion and an idea. It is and was the only online GPS tool for moms to find, rate, and share nursing room locations to breastfeed and breast pump in the United States. Having our own personal experiences as professional women who had to breastfeed or breast pump in the oddest, most uncomfortable, or dirtiest places, and we were not alone, other women were experiencing the same things. We knew we had to do something about it. With some market research and tons of brainstorming we enlisted my husband, who runs a digital media company, to build the website and mobile web with the intention to eventually turn our database of locations into an Application (App).
Here are the three steps I consider to be the most important… and it’s not all coding!
- Idea Generation
So now that you’ve got an idea of what you want to create, have you put your ideas to paper? The first step is thinking about the need you are filling by creating your App. Is the need something unique or something that lots of other App developers have created? There is absolutely nothing wrong with creating something that has been done before. If the design is fly, there are no bugs, users love it, and you market the heck out of it then you may just make some money. If it’s a new innovative idea there is a lot of space to define your niche.
Developing – When App development began there was no easy “do it yourself” websites available to launch an App. Now there are so many to choose from that are cheaper to use than hiring an App developer. However, if you have the budget and minimal bandwidth hiring an App developer is for you. I found our developer by posting on my Facebook wall. My partner reached out to someone she knew and we compared prices to choose the best developer for our budget. The two main platforms, Android and Apple, are widely used in App development. You can choose to create an App on one platform or create an App on both. Upfront, Apple is the most difficult to navigate but most lucrative.
Testing – Do not be hasty. Work through the bugs of your App by using an emulator or uploading your App file to your phone to test in real time. For example, rapper and entrepreneur, Jay-Z put out an App in 2014 named “Tidal.” The App was turned around so quickly, initially, to compete with “Spotify” and “iTunes” that it became the detriment to its marketing. Fans of Jay-Z were so excited to support him and download it, but quickly realized how buggy and unusable it was. They gave “Tidal” poor ratings in the App stores. His company eventually worked through most of the bugs but this was great lesson in patience.
You can’t just build your App and expect your target market to download it right away. They need to know it exists first. When planning your App, marketing will need to be the second half of your budget. Here are some marketing approaches you can take:
- Viral videos
- Social Media Campaigns
- Promotional Events
- Hire a Publicist
- Create collateral and strategically place the collateral
- Word of Mouth/Networking
As you can see there is so much to think about when creating an App. Your Mindset, Marketing, and Money are key! After a year in development we launched the Moms Pump Here Nursing Room Locator App in May 2015 for nursing moms to download for free. Several months later through steady user growth, hiring a great publicist, and creating a culture of emotionally invested moms, the Moms Pump Here Nursing Room Locator App has about 10k downloads combined and over 20K moms in our network. There is still a lot of work to do to grow our users and scale our business to meet community growth but through it all we remained persistent and determined to create our product. And so should you!
Want to know more on how to build your own app? Read the full article here.