Having attended the Africa 2018 Forum held in Egypt under the high patronage of HE President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in early December 2018, I got to have a very lovely startup conversation with Mr Alaa Moustafa, who is a Business Support Manager at Egypt’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC). Alaa was moderating my session during the World Youth Forum under the creativity pillar where I made a talk about the role of Startups in global economic development.
I also got to learn a bit more about TIEC’s exciting initiatives including the the African App Launchpad (AAL) initiative, an Africa-wide platform aiming to build capacity of Egyptian and African youth and foster establishment of sustainable Egyptian and African startups in the area of the advanced ever-changing app and game technologies.
AAL targets building capacity of ten thousand learners and establishing one hundred startups. AAL works by availing a high-quality, technology-learning online platform through crowd-sourcing top online content developed by prestigious universities and leading companies, and delivered through three leading MOOCs; Coursera, edX, and Udacity. This initiative was launched as a culmination of the recommendations made During the World Youth Forum.
In this blog, I am going to share some serious learning about launching your app. I hope you enjoy this article. Please do share your views and comments…
The lean startup methodology is to develop quickly, iterate quicker, and learn at the speed of light. It’s very rare to get things right first time, which is why you need to be quick to change and learn – most importantly don’t make the same mistakes. Some startups don’t have the luxury of continuous development, because of depletion of runway, and so never crack it and fail. So here’s some of my advice, from StartupApp’s developments to make sure you get some key things right first time for your app.
Make the value immediately accessible
We were guilty of making the first version of our product land on a profile page for the user. The thinking was that it immediately personalised the experience. However we soon learnt the hard way, and that is with apps, you have around 10 seconds to convince someone your app is worth keeping. How do you do that? Show them the value immediately. Ideally the value will of been effectively communicated in the marketing, but those who followed through to download need to see and feel the value for themselves. Whatever the value in your service, make it super easy to understand the quickest thing the user accesses.
Don’t assume you’ve got a good Product – Market fit
When in startup mode, it can be easy to become obsessed that what you’re doing is right. I mean, you’ve made all the plans, gone over it all in your head and it sounds exactly like something the world needs? This is a common mistake that, particularly for introverts, is hard to overcome. This is because it involves stepping out of your own mindspace and communicating with others. Of course, when we create, we’re innovating and that has to come from one person or persons, but don’t just assume you’ve cracked it.
Even experts in their field will seek validation for theories or work they put forward, and at the earliest of stages, you’re thinking shouldn’t be any different. What you risk is spending time and effort bringing a product to the market that you find out no one really needs, despite all the evidence you’ve done internally pointing to the contrary. Be prepared to work with your market along your development journey and listen to them to find the solution that they want, not what you think they want. This will increase the likelihood of your final product being relevant and sticky and so able to achieve growth.
Make sharing really easy.
The key to most apps’ success is how quickly you can make it go viral. Now there’s no secret formula for this, and if I’d cracked it, I’d be selling it for billions, not blogging about it. There are some simple things you can do however to aid that process and get a strong viral coefficient. It starts with making any sharing functionality you have very easy to access and accessible when the user would want to share it.
Leveraging any users network is powerful, so integrating with a user’s network on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp for example are great tools and if placed appropriately will be used. What you’re looking to achieve is hammering home the value of your proposition, for the user to go… wow! I need to show someone this.
It’s at that exact point, your integrations or sharing mechanisms need to be there to help the user quickly and easily share that value. This is the creme de la crem of marketing for your start-up because it’s recommendations from trusted sources. You’ve not sold anything and your value is doing the talking. Get this right and you’re laughing.
Be aware of the unforeseen
So wrapping up this blog is a point that does a circle back to my opening comments. Building lean and validating as you go is key because I can’t stress it enough… there WILL be problems and new pieces of feedback that you wouldn’t of even thought of.
Keeping a lean mentality and process will help you deal with the unexpected, so you’re efficiently positioned to react appropriately. This is the most proactive you can be in this situation and in all honesty, I wish my team and I had this mentality when we started. But that’s the power of hindsight and fortunately it’s not too late for us, so it’s exactly how we’ve been working for the past year.