Trying to develop your own mobile app from scratch is no easy task, especially if you’re a bootstrapping entrepreneur or startup founder. Bootstrapping in this case means using your own resources to fund your project, without any financial investment from external sources. Some people may feel a little embarrassed to fall in the “bootstrap” category, but there’s no need to feel ashamed! In reality, most startups fall into the self-funded (bootstrap) category. So you may be asking yourself, “how can I go about bootstrapping my own app project? Isn’t that really expensive?” Luckily for you, our firm is here to help see your project through from the conception and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stages to full-production, while saving you as much money as possible every step of the way. This article will be especially helpful for those who have a limited budget (around $5,000-10,000) to invest in app development.
Make the Commitment
It’s easy to get carried away when a new idea takes hold. You may find yourself sketching out your app design on a napkin or scrap piece of paper, dreaming up cool features, or imagining you’re Scrooge McDuck sliding down a mountain of gold coins. However, the first step to moving forward with an innovative idea is deciding whether or not it’s worth pursuing at all. How do you know when something is worth it? You’ll know an idea is worth pursuing when you can commit your time and disposable income as fully as possible, with as much confidence and certainty as possible.
The purpose of this article isn’t to dive deeply into the principles of decision theory, but familiarizing yourself with the decision tree diagram can be helpful when considering business pursuits or investment opportunities. A decision tree is a flowchart-like diagram that shows various outcomes (advantages and disadvantages) for a series of decisions.
Decision trees can also help you assess the possible alternatives, risks, and monetary consequences associated with any situation. If you consider yourself a visual learner, decision trees might be the perfect thing to help you decide whether or not you can fully commit to your idea.
Keep in mind the decision tree is just one approach to decision-making. There are many other steps and assessments you can make to determine whether or not an idea is worth pursuing. Ultimately, the decision to move forward with your business idea is entirely up to you! If you’ve talked your idea through with friends, family, and (most importantly) ideal customers or users of your app, then you may feel like you have enough confidence to move forward with your idea- or at least invest in a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Build an MVP
Many clients ask “is my idea possible to build?”. The good news is–assuming that your idea doesn’t defy the laws of space or time–yes! Your idea is possible to build. However just because something you envision can be built, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will satisfy the needs of the customers you are trying to reach. If you’re bootstrapping your app project, we strongly encourage you to start by building a functional prototype that looks and feels exactly like the app of your dreams, also known as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Just like the full-production apps we develop, all MVPs are custom-made to fit your business model, and include as many or as few features as you’d like to include for a lower cost than the full-production version of the app. The MVPs we create are high-quality prototypes that use mock data to demonstrate the most important features of your app. There are many benefits to starting off with a simple, yet effective MVP. First and foremost, you eliminate a lot of risk by developing something that you can test out extensively before releasing to the public. Secondly, you save money upfront by just building the frontend of the app, thus you avoid wasting money in backend features that may prove to not be as important to your customers as you originally anticipated. Lastly, you save time by getting something in the hands of your potential customers as soon as possible to get the feedback you need to go full-production with confidence.
If you’re bootstrapping your app project, you most likely want to save as much money as possible while moving as quickly as possible. Our firm thrives in working with these types of individuals and organizations, and believe wholeheartedly that starting with a functional MVP is an effective, winning strategy to the path of building a sustainable and profitable business. Having a fancy MVP is also a great way to raise funding, either by pitching to investors or acquiring actual customers.
If you’re interested in learning more about the MVP process and what to expect, we encourage you to give us a call to discuss your idea. We’ve also written extensively about the benefits of building an MVP in our Essential Guide For Developing Successful Mobile Apps. You can also pick up a copy of Eric Ries’s well-known book, The Lean Startup.