5 Steps To Turn Your App Idea Into A Viable Business

Step 1. Determine What Benefits Your App Will Provide.

Great software solves difficult human problems

Learn about basic human problems & adapt your app idea to solve them in meaningful ways

  1. Physiological Needs: Air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing. Ex: Airbnb, Grubhub, Doordash, Rent the Runway, Amazon.
  2. Safety Needs: Security, safety. Ex: Yelp, Dropbox, Google Drive.
  3. Love & Belonging: Intimate relationships, friends. Ex: Facebook, Tinder, Instagram.
  4. Esteem: Prestige and feelings of accomplishment. Ex: Linkedin, Strava, Khan academy
  5. Self Actualization: Achieving one’s full potential, creativity. Ex: Fitness apps, Productivity apps, Adobe Suite, GarageBand

How to define features vs benefits

How to discover compelling benefits

  1. What fundamental problem am I solving? (Or, what human need am I addressing?)
  2. What options are already being used today?
  3. What is good about these existing solutions? (What benefit are people willing to pay for?)
  4. What downsides do they have? (Or, what keeps people from opening their wallets?)
  5. How could I solve the same problems 10x better than the existing solutions? (What makes you unique?)
  6. What benefits can I provide that will make my potential customers eager to use my app?

2. Get feedback from potential users.

Create an outline of your app

How to prepare for a user interview

  • What do you think the problem is that you’re addressing?
  • What do you think your solutions are/could be?
  • What benefits will the app provide?
  1. Does this idea address a real, painful need?
  • Describe the problem to them, ask how frequently they have it.
  • Ask things like: On a scale of 1–10 how painful is it?
  • When do you normally experience this problem? (Have them provide potential solutions to the issues they see and figure out what situations people would be most interested in using your app for.)
  • How do you typically solve it?
  • Describe the solution to them.
  • What do they like? What’s unique?
  • What doesn’t work? What don’t they like and why? (Sometimes this can be hard to hear, but it’s crucial that you listen to these responses.)
  • What would they recommend that you change?
  • Describe the benefits of this app and have them gauge how excited they are about it
  • Ask them about current solutions they use, what do they like and not like about it?

Example interview prep:

  1. Problem: When you want out of your apartment lease, but can’t get out because it doesn’t expire soon enough.
  2. Solution: An app that makes it easy allows sellers to sell their apartment lease quickly and buyers to pick up contracts at a discount.
  3. Benefits:
  • As a seller you’re able to sell your apartment contract instantly
  • As a buyer, you’re able to save money on the transaction
  • As a landlord, you have happy tenants
  • As a tenant, how frequently have you wanted to leave your apartment lease, but can’t because it doesn’t expire soon enough?
  • How painful of a problem was that to you? Why?
  • How much would you be willing to pay if you could sell the contract instantly, why?
  • If you were stuck in an apartment contract right now, where would you go to sell it?
  • On a scale of 1–10, how likely would you be to use an app like this? Why?
  • What situations would you see yourself using this app in?
  • What do you like about this idea?
  • What doesn’t work about this idea? What don’t you like?

Step 3. Refine Your Idea.

Step 4. Develop Your Business Model Hypothesis.

  1. Freemium - Have a basic version of your app for free, have people pay to upgrade
  2. Pay to download - People purchase the app before they can use it
  3. Subscription - Charge people for access to features on the app each month
  4. Marketplace - Host buyers and sellers of products/services and charge a percentage cut per transaction or per month
  5. Advertising - Offer some or all access to your app for free and charge advertisers to access your users

Curious how profitable your business could be? Download our free income statement model.

Step 5. Test your App Idea Manually



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store