Asked on 11 Oct 2019
I have an idea for an app that can solve a problem in my current profession. However, I have minimal coding experience.
Can entrepreneurs with such experience share on how they circumvent such problems?
And how does the usual app startup founder is like? One person with a business background (handling finances and seek funding) and another one with a computing background (to build on the app)?
Learn to build. Without being familiar with coding, you're most likely underestimating the true cost of paying for a tech solution to solve your problem.
Most of the time, you don't really need to have an app. It's usually a want. A lot of ideas are executable using a combination of different apps, e.g., Google Forms + messaging apps.
You're not at a scale where you need an app to solve your problems. Just don't do it.
I believe that many will be in a situation where they have an idea but are not app builders.
There are many companies that provide app building services. Unless they are really married to your idea, it is highly likely that they will want to charge you for app build services.
What can be done is to seek angel or seed investors who believe in your vision, and are willing to cut the first cheque to fund the build of the app, if you are not looking to fund the first app build.
Hi, I'm in a similar situation as you.
First off, the cost of an app today is upwards of USD 100k, maintaining the app is around 10% of its build. There are 2 aspects you have to consider running an app-based business. The business side, bringing in revenue and the tech side.
In my opinion, the business side is much more crucial. Monetisation nowadays is so overlooked where you see a group of tech-savvy individuals come together, build a great app and leave the business side to burning investor dollars.
As the person you had the idea, you must be ready to take on the responsibility.
1) you must know basic app development processes
2) you must build your own MVP (Minimum Viable Product) - it may not be necessary to build an app outright at this stage, but an MVP lets you test your product
3) You need to ready a pipeline of sales, either in subscriber numbers or running monetization or both.
With the MVP, you can present to your clients (if b2b), establish a credible service and show to investors that once the money is in, you are ready to 10x their money.
In the tech space, investors are looking to 10x their capital within 5 years. Also, you can outsource the building of an app at the market price, with maintenance. Balance the figures to how much you need to pay a developer or the cost in the long run to partner with one.
That's why now, software developers are high in demand. If you don't want to handle their characters, outsource for a period of time and then bring it in house, but take in mind, no investor wants to buy in an undeveloped product.
When you build your MVP, you learn how your app looks like, how your market responds to it and you get to learn some tech along the way so you won't be bamboozled by tech and its costs. When you know this, the costs of building will drop significantly.
An app takes 6 to 18 months to be ready, so plan accordingly.
Not so easy huh...
Hi! I faced many such similar problems in a few small businesses I have gone through (some successful, some not).
Do note that facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is successful not because the idea of a social networking platform but because of the execution, the coding of a platform that works well plus the genius marketing at the start that propelled facebook over other similar platforms (you didn't hear abt them because they lost)
Find a co-founder with a background in tech.
Or hire tech guy to handle it for you.
I won't even say there are "usual" app startups formations. Some are like what you suggested, with tech cofounders and non-tech cofounders (not just on the business background, but on marketing? publicity, creativity). A good example of what you mention would be Apple: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Go for 1 if you already know someone as a friend and you trust him. If not, you have to network more to know someone with a tech background to trust him (or sign NDA) to tell him the idea and for him to see if it's workable.
A faster way, if you have capital, is to just hire people to do this. You can network again to find people to be hired, or just go platforms like upwork.com to hire tech assistants.
Remember, a very good idea may not be worth anything in the market.
A really worthy marketable idea, may not mean anything if not executed well.
After remembering that, take the risks, go forth and create.
I support more entrepreneurs in Singapore!