The problem most founders make is believing they have an App idea, when they are, in reality, building a business.
The app is just the tip of the iceberg.
The first step for your startup is to realize that you need more than an app to succeed. It doesn’t matter if your idea is radically different or a slight twist on another successful idea or business category. You must look at it as a digital business. It must be ‘concepted’ or ‘idea-ated’ to start easy and grow customers, content, transactions and operations as easily as possible. The ‘app’ is just the consumer interface. It’s not the business.
Is your idea in a defined business category or completely off-world?
In most cases, the concept founders bring us a slight twist on existing products in a growing business category. For example, a new food delivery app is in a defined category with lots of competition and growth. Whereas, a new App to name undiscovered stars is not. Either idea may have merit, but both ideas must be packaged with a business module, operations or fulfillment process model, and features that are well established or expected with consumers. Startups must plan the business to operate in a manner that meets or exceeds the expectations of the consumers, employees and partners.
Your business idea must be designed as a digital business.
It has been said ALL businesses are now technology businesses. Even a new restaurant or cleaning service needs to be designed from a technology perspective. Otherwise, consumers will not use it, it will not operate efficiently, it will not profit, it cannot expand and therefore will not succeed. All founders, all companies building a new business, must think of the entity as a technology business. Not even a local lawn-mowing entrepreneur can succeed without integrated technology.
This is even more true with businesses that want hundreds of thousands or millions of customers.
What’s exciting about today’s world is that you can, relatively economically, build an entity that can reach and service millions of new customers without scouting another location or laying another brick. This is the reason why startup valuations can climb so high, so fast. Investors know the math. But startup founders sometimes lack the knowledge or experience of how to concept b2c business models, plan for b2b expansion, concept fulfillment process and technology, manage content, farm analytics or integrate existing 3rd party technology. But if they have the right team, they can plan for these things from the start, so that each additional growth step is ready and pre-planned for when the milestone is triggered. But most startups don’t know what they don’t know.
The App is just (one or more) customer group’s experience.
Our entrepreneurs are excited when we explain that you can have multiple apps serving different customer or partner groups running from a single digital business platform. The app is not the product, the platform enables consumer and business products or services. A startup can even empower partners to develop their own apps using the company’s data or API based services. Or the startup can launch multiple apps for multiple market segments using the same brand or different brands. There are many options, but the first step is knowing that your app is not your business.
What type of partners does a startup need?
This is the biggest challenge facing startups today. Who do they call? Who do they co-found with? What process do they follow to ensure they build a growable, operable, expandable digital business? Unfortunately, the days of 2 guys like Waz and Jobs or Harvard kids in their dorm room building a world changing product are long gone. People were able to build powerful companies with 2 people 30 years ago, but it’s just too complicated these days.
A company would need at least 6+ partners well versed in; Software Development, Business Development, Product Development, Digital Business Operations, UI/UX/Creative, DevOps, Tech Security, Fundraising and more. The development industry alone changes by the month, and even experienced professionals end up behind the times. The trick is to find the partners who already have the process, the people and the knowledge to ensure startups don’t waste their time, energy and money building a business that can’t succeed.
Partnership options for the startup.
As we see it, there are only a few options for startups;
- Incubator: Nice community, but they don’t actually do the work, they just teach.
- Accelerator: Great if you can get in, but almost no one gets in, and they too are teaching.
- App Developer: Eh, they design the app and build the app, but that’s all.
- Branding/Marketing Agency: high fees, and have no expertise in designing modern businesses, but they are good at naming them and making ads and websites.
- Software Company: This may be the closest to what’s needed, but they typically just design software for existing businesses. Mapping existing processes, interviewing workers, and then building expensive software using 15 year old methods and technology. Oh, and they usually don’t build apps or web based software.
- Startup networks: These are typically mentor networks which offer some best practices for formation, legal, idea-tion, product design, and usually mentors who have expertise with startups. Not a bad option if you select the right people who do more than advise. But you have to be careful that it’s not just a marketplace for potential vendors.
- Studios: This is the new model we believe in. A startup studio is paid and sometimes receives equity, and has the process down cold. They have the expertise to guide startups through every step toward success, and they do so quickly and effectively. A good studio offers all the founding partners you need in one package.
This is why Freshify was created.
We saw a need. We built our studio, startup process and people around the challenges unique to the startup community. We built our processes for successful and smart product ideation, building, testing, launching, marketing, evolution and fundraising for startups only. We believe we have something valuable, and we’re dedicated to our startup customers.
Here are some additional articles you may want to look at: