By Dave Shah, Co-Founder & CEO at Wve Labs.
Chances are if you're reading this you've either already had or currently have an app idea of your own. But something, or I'll dare say many things, are holding you back. Questions, doubts, fears, risks, not knowing where to start ... sound familiar?
Three years ago, I was in that same place. I had an idea: to create a food delivery app for college students by college students. As you might have guessed, along with that idea came a multitude of uncertainties, mysteries and barriers that could have prevented me from embarking on my first app development journey. Fast forwarding to today, the food delivery app exited and led to the creation of an app development company where I've been CEO for two years. Reflecting back on where I was, and where you might be now, here are the top four misconceptions that may be holding you back from creating your app vision (that you should knock down, understand and overcome).
'My app idea kind of already exists, so it will drown in the competition.'
We've all heard the saying, "there's an app for that," one too many times. But, just because your idea might kind of already exist doesn't mean you can't execute it better. When I started Crave on Campus, I was entering into an extremely crowded market space. I was about to compete with Postmates, DoorDash, Grubhub, Tapingo and countless other food delivery services.
But my idea was creative, scalable and solved a problem that no other food delivery service was addressing at the time. Look for the similarities and parallels between your app idea and the ones already out there. Then find the gaps, recreate and enhance your idea and highlight what your app has that existing competitors don't.
'I know nothing about coding. I can't run an app.'
Don't know the first thing about coding? Completely unfamiliar with the terminology of the industry? Does computer science go way over your head? If this sounds like you, then you were just like me when I first started Crave. Luckily you need not be anywhere near a coding genius to run an app. If you choose to go the outsourcing route, which I heavily recommend, development companies will be there to bridge the much-anticipated lapse in technical knowledge. All you have to do is communicate your vision to a project analyst and they take it from there.
You can also get creative. I ended up building my own development and graphic design team, which grew up to be Wve Labs. While my developers worked their coding magic, I ran the business and marketing side of the app. If you have the connections, don't be quick to rule out curating your very own team to run your app venture.
'Finding investment is too difficult. I don't even know where to start.'
Finding investors can be difficult, but it's not impossible. My first round of fundraising came from family and friends. From there, I sent out hundreds of emails to investors and VC firms. Selling your vision, believing in your idea and presenting your product are all equally important in securing funding. My No. 1 tip for finding investors? Have patience, be persistent and allocate your time efficiently.
'Ads are the only way to make an app profitable.'
While ads can be a valuable revenue stream, especially once your user base expands, your revenue model certainly does not need to -- nor should it -- rely solely on ads. Through partnering with e-commerce ventures, using freemium or subscription models, offering in-app purchases, selling analytics and data or implementing various other methods, there are countless ways to monetize your vision. If you currently run an existing venture, a mobile app might be just the facilitator you need to gain traffic, increase revenue and inflate your customer base.
If at any time you find these misconceptions floating around in your mind, think again. These thoughts might seem like barriers at first, but really, they're just signals in disguise. Overcoming your fears and doubts could lead you to developing the next big app. Or in my case, guide you in creating your dream company.
Dave Shah is Co-Founder & CEO at Wve Labs, an app development company on a mission to empower entrepreneurs. Professional Athlete at GoPro.