Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 22nd 2013 Contents It has only been six years since Apple
released the first iPhone but, in that time,
the device and its applications have trans-
formed how we interact with the world
and each other. Those changes are still
under way: the app business is growing
at a phenomenal pace, with more than 50 billion
apps downloaded from Apple s App Store by
May 2013, at a rate of over 2 billion apps per
month; a similar number are being installed on
Android phones via Google Play. Apple has paid
$10 billion to developers since the iPhone s launch.
I don t usually include a lot of statistics in
this column, this isn t about money, but how
you can start your own business with a great
idea and a better attitude. My point is that at
its core, the app business is no different from
any other type of enterprise: entrepreneurs are
creating apps out of frustration at a lack of serv-
ice.One young entrepreneur who made headlines
with the sale of his app this year was Nick
D Aloisio, 17, a British high school student who
created the news aggregator Summly.
When he was preparing for his exams, he
found the repetition of information annoying
and so he built Trimit, an early version of his
service that was downloaded more than 200,000
times. In March, Yahoo purchased his invention
for a price estimated in the tens of millions of
What I find striking about Nick s story is that
he started building his app at home, probably
in his room.
A recent study by Freelancer.com found that
in Britain, "There has been an increase of 34 per
cent of businesses setting up in their spare time
in the last 12 months, and all of them revealed
they did so because starting a business today is
easier, saying that costs are lower thanks to being
able to start up online."
They also found that of the respondents who
started their business in their spare time, 56 per
cent set up office space in their bedrooms. We
can be sure that many of those entrepreneurs
are creating apps; you don t need a store front
or office space, just talent and the willingness
to work hard.
If you have an idea for a "killer app," here are
some tips to help you move your idea off your
kitchen table and into the mainstream.
1. Be ready to fail---and try again
When you re developing your idea, be honest
with yourself about whether your app, product
or service will truly deliver value to customers.
Ask potential users for constructive criticism. If
you are not delivering something that makes
people s lives easier, it s time to start over.
2. Keep it simple
Remember that your app should do a few
things very well, rather than lots of things badly.
Simplicity will generate word of mouth.
Be very careful about any additional features
you add - they must bring value to your core
3. Empower your customers through
Steve Jobs said: "Design is not just what it
looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Once you ve decided on what your app does
well, focus on what your users are trying to
achieve and make it easy for them to get the job
done at every step. Never ask them to stop and
figure out how your app works.
4. Test, test, test
If your app is flimsy or bug-ridden, people
will delete it the moment they encounter a prob-
lem, and they won t download it again. In today s
connected world, any badly made product or
poor service gets bad reviews, which can bring
an end to any startup.
5. Plan to get noticed
There are currently more than 900,000 apps
available on the App Store alone, so new entrants
must work harder to get noticed. To get your
app on people s radar, think about who your
potential customers are and how they would
prefer to learn about it. Whether they re looking
for high ratings or they make decisions based
on TV ads, plan out how you re going to reach
them and then make some noise.
6. An entrepreneur's work is never
No matter what business you re in, you should
never consider the design of your product or
service "finished." Make improving it part of
your everyday work.
7. To get ahead, listen
The ability to listen to customers is the most
important skill an entrepreneur can have. Don t
just rely on metrics; find ways to connect with
the people using your app and learn what they
think of your offering and how they re using it.
Remember, your idea doesn t have to be the
next Instagram or Angry Birds. One of our former
employees, Lance Stewart, left a few years ago
to build his own app business, and has evolved
his company Wavana from a developer of travel
products such as Tube Exits (which helps you
plan journeys on London s underground) to one
that is trying to shake up the way people plan
and organise conferences, called Showcase. He
created that business because he was frustrated
by missing the good stuff at trade shows! (Learn
more about his business at https://showca.se.)
Most great business ideas are right under our
noses, just waiting to be discovered; you may
be developing one right now, under your own
(Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin
Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic,
Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active.
He has recently published two books: "Screw
Business as Usual" and "Like a Virgin." He main-
tains a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-
branson/blog. You can follow him on Twitter at
twitter.com/richardbranson. To learn more about
the Virgin Group: www.virgin.com.)
(Questions from readers will be answered in
future columns. Please send them to Richard.Bran-
email@example.com. Please include your name,
country, e-mail address and the name of the
website or publication where you read the col-
@2013 Richard Branson. (Distributed by the
New York Times Syndicate.)
AUGUST 2013 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG17
Get your app out there
Links Archive August 21st 2013 August 23rd 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page