How to sell mobile app idea? The answer to this question is paradoxical. The point is that it is not enough to sell the idea itself. If you sound out the idea of a “short video service” to someone, it’s not the same as selling TikTok.
When we say “sell a mobile app idea,” we mean more than that. At a minimum, we have to present a business plan that will show the investor how he can recoup his investment and multiply it.
At the end of this article, we will come to an understanding of how much an idea is worth and what can truly be sold, and most importantly, how to get to this stage, but first things first.
If you have a mobile app idea, you first need to clarify how secondary it is. You will have to admit that it is very likely that something similar is already on the market, but that’s okay. When you analyze the market, you may come across direct competitors as well as indirect competitors. You can determine this by the queries on which they are promoted in the storerooms. Checkaso has a Keyword Intersection tool for this. With its help, you will not only be able to identify your application’s competitors, but also take their positions on these queries, if you decide to develop the idea yourself.
Regardless of how unique an idea you want to sell, you should go through the same steps of preparation. Selling a naked unicorn app idea is as difficult as selling a thousand-piece three-in-a-row puzzle game.
Making a unique product is not always a win-win lottery. The market may not be ready, the need may not yet be formed, as it was, for example, with Zoom, before the pandemic, or with Vine before Instagram videos. But that doesn’t mean you should blindly copy off-the-shelf ideas. No, your app may not be unique, but it may offer a simpler solution or benefit from UX design. The ability to compile best practices is the most important skill in development. So try not just to know your competitors by sight, but also to use their experience.
When the market analysis phase is over, you will understand in which direction your app idea can evolve.
How to sell the app idea itself
As we said before, it’s almost impossible to sell just the idea, but with a business plan in hand, some opportunities and channels can open up for the first time.
The business plan itself should show more than just a schedule of return on investment or dates of fiches for harmonious development. This is the tip of the iceberg.
The development plan should be transparent and responsive to the state of the market. In other words, the documentation should show not only the numbers the application can achieve if the conditions are met but also the context.
In the idea stage, while you are writing down all the solutions and features the app will have, you are drawing a mindmap. Rather, this diagram reflects how the app would develop in a vacuum with no competitive pressure and an unlimited budget. When drawing a business plan, we have to come down to earth. The handmap includes all of your ideas that the app accumulates, and the business plan puts them clearly into place and prioritizes them.
You could say that a business plan is created based on the mandemep, but differs from it in its clearer positioning and attachment to the numbers.
The business plan shows the investor the vector in which the application can develop. Figures mined from analytics help predict costs and revenues at each described stage, so you don’t go into a state of crunch and surprise investors.
How to sell an idea at the business plan stage
You can sell your app business plan on a crowdfunding platform: Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Ourcrowd. In some cases, you can use private equity markets. Send applications to companies that specialize in investing in business projects or buying business ideas in general (with full transfer of copyright). The more bids you submit, the better your chances of successfully selling your concept.
Yes, an application idea with a plan for its development can already be sold in some cases if you do competent pitching and provide a detailed plan along with figures for the project.
However, practice shows that the most optimal development phase where an app idea can be sold is when you reach the MVP. In other words, you will need a certain resource to develop a minimum viable version of the app.
At this point, it may be a question of finding a team to build a prototype. Use LinkedIn or Xing professional resources for this, keep an eye on open-source development and various hackathons. Don’t underestimate the power of networking.
Implement the main function in your MVP. Show that it’s easy to use with design elements. Even if a lightweight design isn’t your killer feature, it will show the investor that you’ve figured out how to make life easier for the user, and that can be a powerful competitive advantage.
In creating an MVP, it’s important to get your point across in time. You don’t need to bring the app to the full functionality you laid out in the meandmap. You’re unlikely to get back the resources you put into it.
Focus on the design and show points of growth, but don’t go beyond the implementation of key functionality.
The MVP version can already be shown to a small number of users and gather feedback to work out non-obvious elements. At the same time MVP already clearly reflects your vision of the product, which in a sense is passed on to the investor. The very fact that you’ve progressed to this stage also represents your belief in the product.
Focus your product pitching around the app’s business model. Talk about when and how you can use it to recoup and multiply your investment. It is almost useless to talk about the technical side of the product within the MVP. The version will not be able to provide it in full anyway.
Where to sell the app idea with MVP
We have prepared a small list of channels you can use while looking for an investor:
Startup platforms. For example, Startups.com or Gust.com.
Business incubators and gas pedals. Try 500Startups, TechStars, and Ycombinator.
Business angel networks: Funded.com, Angel Capital Association, and Angel Investment Network.
The Pipe platform offers to package monthly subscriptions into annual subscriptions and sell them to investors.
You can go the opposite way. Once you choose a platform and a way to sell, prepare your idea to the level that the execution channel requires.
To answer the question we posed at the beginning of this article: “How much is a ‘bare’ idea worth?”, you could say that an idea is worthless. In this form, the idea is too abstract and unable to compete, to exist outside of its bubble. Investors are interested in business plans and your understanding of how this idea can make money.
In any case, if your idea is already wrapped in the MVP version, you have a detailed business plan on hand – selling such a product and making money from it is much easier and more profitable.