Determined and potential start up founders can create a start up with an idea and a lot of ambition. But successful start up founders? They know that it takes so much more than that, which is why we’ve spoken to a man who’s at the top of his game, Oladayo Olagunju, to provide some app startup tips for looking to make it in the app store.
Having an idea is absolutely not enough, nor will it get you halfway or even a third of the way to the pinnacle of the market that you’re trying to conquer. It’s an unfortunate reality but, as the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, nor was it built on a whim, with the founders’ success being down to just how much they ‘really, really wanted to conquer the world’. Olagunju may not have built Rome or a city at all but his Questions app, from nyoombl, a start up he himself founded, which allows users to use video selfies to get all important answers (or just to ask things) is surely on its way to be as successful as that big, Italian city. So, without stalling for much longer, here are some of his best ideas and principles for how he became a success and how you can too.
1. Chocolate Teapot Syndrome or, ‘Is It Useful?’
Something that I would liken to inventing a chocolate teapot – an idea that sounds delicious in concept but is actually useful upon use as it’ll just melt everywhere – is an idea that may sound great to you but doesn’t solve any of your users’ problems. Speaking to Olagunju, he is adamant that start ups “need to be a victim of the problem you are trying to solve.” and that rather than being a number of issues on a spreadsheet, solving what’s popular, the start up will “need to do it not because the market is big. No. But because you really want that solution for yourself, first.”
2. Know Your Audience and Cater to Them
While you may very well know the problem that you and your audience would like solved, pushing the boat out and being in the middle of the ocean is an entirely different body of water. Questions, Olagunju explains was “tailored the service to fit the lifestyles of people who spend more time on their smart phones” because that’s where the customers were moving to and that’s what they wanted. An example is Amazon, while not an app, they originally began selling books but over time, it became clear that their customers were keen to buy just about anything from the trusted retail brand from clothes to CDs and even toothbrushes and so that’s what they began to offer. You have to be prepared not to be stubborn or your start up will fall flat on its face at the first hurdle.
3. Love What You’re Doing and Love It Wholeheartedly
Not everyone can be a start up founder and sometimes, those who try give up, losing their love for it, but as Olagunju explains, “if you do not have an emotional connectedness to what you are doing, then you won’t last at it”, continuing to stress that “one must do what one really really loves.”
4. Customers, Free Snacks and Community
One question posed by Olagunju on the topic of start ups is that “People may “come”, but will they “remain”?” explaining that it’s all well and good to build something, but if it doesn’t help them, it’s useless. It’s the example of hosting a free tasting session to promote a company – those who show up might smuggle all of the free crackers and dips out in their handbags but will they stick around to learn about your company? As Olagunju says, “the reason why the community will “stick” is because its needs are being met.”
5. Instant Success? It’s a Myth.
One of the biggest things to take from Olagunju’s words of wisdom is that “Jackpot wins don’t last” meaning that your start up does has to be built on rock foundations, not sand that happened to be following a trend. He also offered some sage advice for those looking for instant success – “the jackpot thing is just a myth” – so you may want to heed his words.
6. Choosing Your Path
Explaining “one of the most vital aspects, if not the most vital”, Olagunju says that start up founders need to know “where to start.” He details this as “simply knowing what feature to build first,” describing its importance as “The “where” sounds simple but it makes all the difference. Imagine being faced with a hundred seemingly possible ways to approach something; in starting startups, only one or two of those hundred may be worthwhile ways, and often, just one of those two will be the truly right way.” which is great advice indeed.
7. Don’t Give Up
It’s fairly obvious that creating a start up might be a bit of an uphill battle, but the final words of wisdom from Olagunju’s experience is that in difficult times, start ups can end up “persevering against all odds where, initially, there clearly appeared to be no way.”