Techpreneurs, especially in the mobile app business, often complain about lack of new ideas. There are many "me too" apps trying to steal the thunder from successful apps and miserably failing at it. This is because it is very difficult to become successful using someone else’s formula of success.
Just have a go at the iTunes or Play Store and look at some successful apps and their alternatives. Download both and compare. Even though the copy app might have more features and may be better looking, people will always go for the original app.
Seems unfair? No, it isn’t.
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There are still plenty of gaps to be filled, pain points to be solved and ideas waiting to happen. If you really want to make your app a hit, start thinking out of the box. In my brief experience as a co-founder of MoveoApps, I found that there are some common factors amongst all successful apps.
I would like to call it my 3C theory. If you follow these 3Cs every time you are brainstorming for ideas, you have a real shot at winning every time.
1. Choose classics over trends.
Some ideas never go out of style. Instead of chasing hit apps (aka Pokémon, Angry Birds) and coming up with a "me too" app, go for timeless classics, add your own flair to it and make it rewarding for users.
One such example is of arcade games. Fans of arcade games don’t tire of trying new apps, no matter how many arcade games they play. So if you want to develop an arcade game, look at the arcade games fan clubs and communities. It is the best place to find what’ll work and what won’t.
From evergreen Pac-Man to the latest Robot Clash Run, you’ll find endless discussions on each game, which will give you an idea for your own app. You could even look at the pain points of existing apps and try to solve them in your own app, but try to market it in as different way as possible. The moment you are stuck with a "me too" label, your chance at success is lost.
2. Catalyze change.
Apart from wanderlust, millennials are thirsty for change. They want to change the world, making it a better place. They are thirsty for ecological changes, political changes, economic changes and above all, world peace. Technology is a very powerful tool and you can bring out real changes in the world with it.
If you want to be a harbinger of change, try to attach some social cause to your ideas. Think of ways your idea can not only help you financially but also the society altruistically. The Solidarity App has been designed keeping these millennial values in mind.
It allows millennials to help the society in their free time, without actually donating money or actively participating in a cause. It is primarily a game-testing app, which pays on a user’s behalf for testing games and apps from within their app. Every time users try a new app or game; it makes donations on their behalf.
What’s more, it supports various charities for different causes, so whether you want to donate for the betterment of refugees, clean the environment or defend animal rights, you can choose the campaign and fund it.
3. Crack real problems.
Despite having a plethora of apps that solve our every day needs and problems, there is still a wide gap to fill. Think of weird Japanese inventions like the hand-resting device while you are playing Pokémon Go, that’s probably stretching it too far, but you get the gist.
When you have a crack at real problems, you create a niche for yourself. This is a sure shot way to claim your fame. In order to find problems, you need to gain experience in your particular field. For instance, people at pCloud found that existing cloud storage players like Dropbox and Box didn’t use encrypted folders, so they came up with pCloud, which offers a real solution to a common problem.
There are many such examples of techpreneurs who carved a niche by cracking real problems. Once you have a solid idea of what you want to build, validate it at an early stage with Xyologic. Sometimes even great ideas can backfire if the market is not ready or the niche you have chosen in very narrow.
In a cluttered and competitive market, where there is an app for almost everything, it takes a real genius to find a niche or solve a problem. Who knew the world needed a monster-chasing game or another fitness app, despite that these app developers have seen great success. This is because they saw a breakthrough in the already cluttered market and found an idea to fill it.
Remember the 3 Cs always:
- Classics over trends. Don’t settle for fads; the fate of Angry Birds should act as a good deterrent.
- Catalyze change. Find worthy causes that can be attached to your app. Millennials are do-gooders and you have to appeal to their sense of altruism.
- Crack a real problem and get a real shot at success.