$189 billion. That’s how much money Statista predicts apps will generate by 2020. The mobile market is full of opportunities, and it’s no surprise that every entrepreneur and software developer is looking to launch the next big product. 

Of course, while the prospect of creating the next Whatsapp or Venmo is exciting, there are plenty of challenges involved in building an app. The first is coming up with an idea. What will your app be, exactly? If you’re stuck, read on to learn how to devise a concept for your product.

Identify a problem to solve

Before you even begin the search for software development services to help you make your vision a reality, you need to consider the “why” of that vision. What’s the purpose of your app? 

First and foremost, it should solve some kind of problem. Venmo, for instance, exists because lending money and splitting checks is an inconvenient hassle. Uber took advantage of the fact that hailing a cab isn’t always feasible — or cheap — and created a solution in the form of quick, accessible transportation.

What you should take from this? That you should look for problems in the world around you and consider potential solutions — ones that go beyond the existing methods. 

Look at other apps

Browse the app store to see what the top-performing apps are doing. This is helpful for two major reasons:

1. You’ll see which ideas generate the most interest and gross the most money, along with trends in themes and topics.

2. You might be able to find a way to improve upon an already successful idea.

First and foremost, you should find an idea that correlates with your interests and business in general. Explore the categories in the app store to this end. For example, if you’re a foodie, you should focus on the Food and Drink category. Spend some time on this — you never know what might spark inspiration.

See what’s garnering enthusiasm and support

Along with looking at other apps for inspiration, you should see what projects are receiving funding. This is one of the best ways of gauging how successful your product might be once you get it off the ground. 

Look at investor and accelerator portfolios to see the types of products that are generating interest among funders. Sites like Crunchbase, which shows you the funding other apps have raised, can also be helpful in pointing you in directions you never considered before.


A good old fashioned brainstorming session is one of the best ways to get the juices flowing, no matter what you’re looking to do or create. You can do this solo by simply setting aside a certain amount of time to think and write down any idea that comes into your head. 

You can also ask friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances for help. Ask them what they need in an app — what problems they want to be solved and how they imagine your product could solve them. Of course, you can’t expect them to provide you with the multimillion idea you’re after, but analyzing what they say might spark some projects.


You already spent some time perusing other apps and considering whether you can solve problems theirs can’t or how you could improve upon existing products. But once you develop some concepts, you’ll also need to make sure your ideas aren’t too similar to existing products. 

Dive deep into the market and perform extensive research to determine if an app that already fills that hole is out there. For one, you don’t want to get into an intellectual property dispute. For another, if somebody is already doing exactly what you want to do, why should people use yours instead? You need to make sure you can do the job better. 

You should also research exactly how you can make your product stand out among competitors. Who is your target audience? What are their needs and demographics?

Get a second opinion

You may have a great idea, but you can’t be the only one who thinks so in order for it to become a viable app in the real world. You can start testing it out by asking friends, family, and colleagues, but go beyond the people who know you. Some forums for soliciting feedback include:

• Social media

• Tech and business meetups

• Surveys and polls

• Hackathons

• Conferences

You can also use tools like ProductHunt to crowdsource your idea and take advantage of the free voting system to see the response your app solicits. Just be sure to secure your idea first, because anyone with enough resources can beat you to market with your own project.

Work with your software developers

Start working with software development providers early on. Whether you’re using in-house developers or software development outsourcing, these professionals are vital to your project’s success, since they’re the ones creating it. They can also help you hone your idea by offering technical guidance. For instance, they might discuss the feasibility of your concept and the potential challenges they might encounter. 

Don’t dismiss any issues they raise. Chances are, your software development services have extensive experience creating apps and can offer insight into what works and what doesn’t. Finally, remember to sign a non-disclosure agreement with any partner you work with since you don’t want anyone leaking your idea.

Developing an idea for an app is, for better or worse, the fun part. Next comes the hard part: actually planning out and building the app. It may seem like a daunting task, but if you’ve come up with a sound idea that excites and motivates you, it will be well worth the hard work. 


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