Raise Funds for Mobile Apps

How to Raise Funds for a Mobile App Idea

As a company with offices in two of the top U.S. cities for innovation (Boulder, CO and Austin, TX), we are regularly approached by potential clients who believe they have a great idea for an app, but don’t know how to raise funds needed for development. Perhaps you are in a similar situation.

Before we delve into resources they might consider to fund mobile app development, we like to remind them that more often an app idea fails for lack of business value than lack of funds. Rather than begin by developing a “fully featured” app with lots of functionality, we encourage them – and you – to build the simplest product they can and get it into the hands of consumers to prove its worth. Often called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), the MVP offers the bare bones of functionality – just enough to show the concept, get feedback, and learn if your idea resonates with others.

Starting small not only enables you to refine your idea with limited dollars, it also provides valuable proof of concept to help you convince potential investors your idea is worth supporting.

That said, there are a variety of investment options you can pursue to raise funds for mobile app development. Some are more appropriate early in the process, and others later. Many would argue that entrepreneurs should put off securing funding as long as possible in order to build company value, thereby having a higher valuation before raising capital and diluting equity. Here’s an overview of some of the most common options: Read More

Eight Great Books

Eight Great Books to Read in 2018

Great books, thankfully, are not hard to find these days. The bigger challenge for many is whittling down the options to a manageable number!

As literature is an important part of growing, both professionally and personally, we took some time to think about what great books we might want to add to our ever-expanding reading list. We share a short list of some of our top book choices for 2018 below – we’d love to hear if there’s another “must have” you suggest we add.

While all of these books can be found on Amazon, the link we’ve included will take you to purchase at the Boulder Book Store. InspiringApps was founded in Boulder, and we love to support local businesses when we can. Read More

Monetization: Make Money with Apps

Show Me the Money: How Mobile Apps Make Money

It’s estimated that somewhere around 90% of apps in the app stores are able to be downloaded for free, causing many clients to wonder how app creators are able to actually make money. There are a number of different ways to earn revenue, or “monetize” your app, but no one of them is a silver bullet. The right paid user experience is heavily dependent on your target market, so it’s important to make sure you understand your audience before selecting a monetization model.

We don’t have the space in this post to talk about how to familiarize yourself with your market and competition, but we do provide those insights in our free e-book Inspiring Apps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps. In this post, we’ll review the most common monetization strategies available so you can figure out the best way to make money off your app.

As you read the options, we encourage you to think about what’s unique about your app and what people would pay for the ability to use it. Likewise, it’s important to contemplate your financial situation and timetable as you select a monetization model – can you initially forego revenue to gather users and perhaps gain more revenue overall? Some models earn more money initially while profits come later in others. Read More

Creativity: Creative Confidence Cover

Practice Creativity to Inspire Creativity

Creativity, according to dictionary.com, is the “ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.” Creativity generates jobs, drives economic growth, and forges new industries. It’s a highly regarded skill, but often only attributed to entrepreneurs, innovators, and change makers.

A creative-minded team of brothers, David and Tom Kelley, would like to change that perception. David is the founder of the Stanford d.school and the well-known design firm IDEO, where Tom is a partner. They are authors of the book Creative Confidence, written in part “to help individuals and organizations unleash their full potential – and build their own creative confidence.” The Kelleys argue that everyone has a creative side, even those who claim not to, but not everyone has the courage to be creative. They believe that creativity can be nurtured and mastered, but that we are constrained by the fear of failing. Read More

App Developer Questions

Best Questions to Ask to Find the Right Mobile App Developer

How do you determine which mobile app developer is the best one to hire for your project? It’s a question many businesses are asking themselves these days, and rightly so. StrategyAnalytics predicts that by 2022, 59% of the world’s population will own smartphones. With that comes mobile apps and the opportunity to use them to engage customers, grow your business, or sell your product.

Finding the right mobile app development company takes time, effort, research, and knowing the right questions to ask. If you’re totally new to mobile app development, you may find it helpful to first obtain a basic understanding of the app design and development process, before digging into the qualifications of a specific company. Consider reading our book, Inspiring Apps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps. It’s free to download and was written to help leaders gain a foundational understanding of the business and technical considerations involved in building an app.

If you already have the lay of the land, you can learn a lot about mobile app development companies by reviewing their web sites, evaluating their client list, and looking at their past work. Once you’ve done that, we recommend you dig a little deeper for additional insights by asking questions like the ones we’ve compiled here. Read More

Flexible Work Policies - Working Woman

Flexible Work Policies: Good for Companies and Employees

A successful business requires not only a great product or service, but also a culture where employees can thrive. Here at InspiringApps, we believe one way to help build a vibrant and diverse team is through flexible work policies.

We are not alone in believing in the value of flexible work environments – a large portion of the American workforce desires more control over when, where, and how they work. According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace report, “More than half of employees (53%) say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance is “very important” to them when considering whether to take a new job. Similar numbers of employees (51%) say they would change jobs for one that offered them flextime, and 37% would do the same for a job that offered them the ability to work where they want at least part of the time.”

While flexible work policies can make employees healthier, happier, and more productive, it’s important to note that businesses also reap significant additional benefits. In this post, we’ll discuss what constitutes flexible work policies, and explore how to leverage the advantages they offer. We’ll also comment on some potential challenges and how to address them for the benefit of the company and the employees. Read More

Watch App Development

When to Develop a Watch App (or Not)

With the recent release of Apple Watch 2 and new versions of Android Wear smartwatches introduced regularly, the idea of building a watch app is front of mind for many clients. A watch app seems cool and timely (couldn’t resist), fun to use, and super convenient. While a watch app is all those things, it may not be the right choice for your business.

Although some watch apps (like fitness tracking, Apple Pay, music) do still offer some functionality without a phone nearby, watch apps do not stand alone at this point in time. As a result, one doesn’t build a watch app instead of a phone/tablet app, but rather alongside these devices. The best watch apps do not mimic the features of the phone app, but act as a companion app that takes advantage of the unique features of the watch in order to bring additional value to the user’s experience. In almost all cases, the user will continue to use other devices for more in-depth tasks. Read More

Marketing Your App

At this point in time, over 2 million apps are available in Apple’s App Store (with similar numbers in the Google Play store), but very few have garnered significant revenue. With the proliferation of apps, even the best products need concentrated marketing attention to rise above the noise. Your marketing team has ideally been involved since the beginning, doing market research to identify needs and define objectives. Having a clearly defined value proposition is critical, but what are the key aspects to app marketing? How do you go about getting the word out to your target market?

As you would expect, there is not a singular answer. The digital marketing age is filled with a myriad of promotional options, and in some ways, there are too many choices. We’ll outline a few key platforms often used in marketing apps, but it’s not likely you’ll want to leverage them all. Knowing your customer base is essential to determining which options will be most effective — and which aren’t worth the time. Read More

InspiringPeople: How Following Your Passions can Improve your Business

Last week, we continued our InspiringPeople series with Dr. Peter McGraw from CU’s Humor Research Lab, or HuRL (I know, right?) Pete shared with us the story of how he went from a tenure-track professor studying morality to a leading expert in the field of humor research.

Pete’s journey taught him a handful of important lessons than can be applied almost universally, giving us a bit of enlightenment alongside a lot of laughs.

Pete realized he hated writing… not a good place to be for an academic expected to publish in-depth research papers at least once per year. In order to develop this essential skill, Pete took some specific steps:

  • Work on that skill every day
  • Do it when you’re at your peak energy level
  • Make it a sacred time
  • Acknowledge that it’ll be hard at first… but it’ll get better

Through making a concentrated effort to develop this skill, Pete was able to learn to enjoy writing and began publishing more – and more often – than he ever had before… and now, he’s co-written a book!

Taking advantage of your community can be incredibly beneficial to your work. Pete learned this lesson one summer after he started living with a friend in a collaborative environment. He realized his research and teaching weren’t blending… and he was friends with plenty of entrepreneurial people who were doing innovative work, but he wasn’t applying it to his research. By capitalizing on the nature of his community, Pete was able to awaken his entrepreneurial spirit and begin realizing his goal of living a remarkable life.

Spending all of your time in the same environment limits your potential; reach out and broaden your audience to gain a new outlook on an issue. Pete was doing research almost exclusively in the lab – that gave him an incredibly small audience to work with. Going out “in the field” and interacting with people beyond his subjects and colleagues – including travelling all around the world – provided new perspectives and better data.

Having a strong theory can guide your decision making. Through their research, Pete and his colleagues at HuRL developed a key theory to explain what makes things funny – and what makes them not funny – called the Benign Violation Theory, or BVT. Using the BVT, the HuRL team were able to determine what kinds of tests to run in the lab. These guiding principles allowed them to take a more strategic and efficient approach to their research.

Spending time with different types of people from around the world taught Pete that everyone is uniquely funny. Our reactions to an event are based on our experiences; so something one person may find funny or interesting may not elicit the same reaction in someone else. Similarly, everyone is skilled or talented at something; seek to create an environment where your personal skills and those of your team can flourish.

Pete noticed that a lot of comedians spend their time around other comedians… one of the best ways to be funny is spend time around funny people. By surrounding yourself with people who are good at the things you want to be good at, you can learn what makes them successful and apply those factors to your own endeavors. That’s why it’s so important to have a good team in your business. The better people are at their jobs – and the better they are at working with and teaching one another, the more dynamic your environment will be and the more talent you’ll have to draw from each other.

We’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to hear Pete talk, as well as to have been joined by some amazing community guests!

If you’d like to be invited to future InspiringPeople events, please drop us a line or keep an eye out for announcements on Facebook and Twitter.

App Stores

Book Excerpt: App Deployment and Distribution Options

If the goal is for your app to go to a distribution partner like the Apple App Store or Google Play, you may need someone to help you navigate those waters. You will also need developer accounts with those outlets and may need to coordinate the launch with the marketing team. Planning should start at least a month prior to distribution.

For internal enterprise distribution you don’t need to worry about potential issues with the Store or Marketplace, but you may need help with distributing the app to your users in the field. Additionally, distribution and the communication plan surrounding it will need to be coordinated.

What are my options?

The storefront you utilize to get your app into the market will largely depend on decisions made early on in the process about the form and function of your app. For instance, if you decided to focus on Apple products, then the Apple App Store will be the logical choice. Similarly, Google Play, Nook and Amazon represent options for other hardware and software platforms.

There are four notable distribution options for your finished product—through online stores, ad-hoc distribution, enterprise distribution, or via the web.

Read More

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