You know when you get this great idea and think, "Yeah!! This is AWESOME! It'll make me millions!"? Then, like you felt when you opened that box of chocolates on V-Day and found all the pieces pale from age and temperature extreme, your heart sank. Idea 1, shot. Idea 2, shot. Now, you wish you hadn't chunked that day-old box of sin because nothing accompanies frustration like hardened dark hearts of raspberry-filled goodness.
That's what happened to two of my ideas. Shot out of the water with no hope of return.
But, as an entrepreneur, you have to be ready to switch gears. You have to be ready to give up on some of those babies. And you have to accept others. I have a new idea. But the cost to execute is double the budget of the app.
When you run into hardship, the question is: Do you give up? Or do you adapt?
You're an entrepreneur. You adapt.
So, in the spirit of entrepreneurship, I'm doing that. Now, who to build the thing?
Who should build your app?
There are options out there like Elance, oDesk, an individual developer or an agency, or even app makers that let you DIY it. A word of warning about those, though: You'll basically be building a mobile website, not a game or other useful thingy your customers will actually use.
So. How do you decide? I hit three developers on oDesk and placed my job on Elance. The first request I made on oDesk landed a very knowledgeable developer dude, who's been guiding me and teaching me to the point that if I found someone cheaper, I don't think I'd use them anyway (which is the way you should be snagging your own customers, by the way. Damn it, he's good.).
The other option is to code the damn thing yourself. And if time weren't an issue and I didn't already have my hands overflowing, I'd do that and make the one I want.
The problem is when all this started, we under-budgeted for the build out. And with time ticking away, do we skip the search for lower prices and move on to the next phase or hold out for one more bid on the original design. At this point, it's sink or swim. So I'm swimming because I'll be damned if I'm going to lose this App Battle Royale to Magic Production's Jason Croft. Not today.
Ask these questions before you build your app
1. Do you speak English? Not a joke at all. I am all for working with individuals overseas, but you can't go with a developer who's offered you the cheapest price per hour if there's a language barrier stopping you from communicating clearly and effectively. Read offers carefully and look for signs of script usage in the proposals. If you begin corresponding and note a strong disconnect, stop before you get too involved because you'll end up paying for those communication errors.
2. What kind of budget do I need for X idea? Be prepared to be wrong. Budget for more than you can really afford because the more bells and whistles you have the higher your cost goes. (And a log in screen is a bell. A share button is a whistle. And they matter. Crazy, right??)
3. What experience do you have with this kind of app? They'll tell you they have years and years experience, but see question 4 before taking their word for it.
4. Do you have a portfolio I can look at? Look at their portfolio, then look up the apps in the app store. How well did they do? How many reviews to they have? You can't always go by reviews if there are only a few, but if there are hundreds, you know they're not likely all his family and friends.
5. Where can we trim the costs on the design? (Can you use a template instead of building from scratch? Can you trim out screens like "Categories"?) This is where you'll get your heart cut out. You'll have this big magnificent idea and your developer, in order to help your costs, will hack away at all your favorite features. Damn it, Dev Dude.
6. What's your time frame? Don't do a freakin' contest that's going to put you on a one month deadline. Take your time. Learn about the people you want to work with (and you won't do this. You're going to throw up ads and take the cheapest one...in that case, I didn't teach you anything, Hard Head. :D ), set aside a larger budget than you think you'll need, or learn to code to create the one you want.
Take your time, app building shouldn't be a race...unless you're crazy (ahem, Jason).
What kind of app would benefit your business most? Let me know in the comments!
Kick ass this week!