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If you have an idea for an app but no programming knowledge, what can you do to bring the app to market? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.
Answer by Heather Wilde, CTO of ROCeteer, on Quora:
The first thing I would do is start researching the idea. Whether it is an application, a product, or any kind of new business, you’ll need to see if there is someone else doing it already, or who has thought of doing it, and how they’ve thought of doing it.
If so, is your idea substantially different enough from theirs that you believe you will find a market for it? If not, don’t be discouraged; keep thinking until you find a unique value proposition that you can add. When your answer is yes, congratulations, you can move forward.
As you’re not technical, you either need to change that about yourself or you need to get in the proximity of people who are. If you want to go the first route, you will need to start studying up on frameworks so you’ll know what is the best platform and language for your application. If the second, go to Meetup and find some groups to join in your area where the techie people are hanging out together. Here in Las Vegas, we have a ton of tech get-togethers. There are multiple happenings every day where you can find techie people who will be willing to listen to your idea and help you develop an MVP for it.
As for being able to get funding for an idea, that depends. If your idea is really awesome, and you pitch it well, you may be able to win a pitch competition in an ideation accelerator. You are not at all likely to get big money with just an idea, but you may get enough to build an MVP, which can help you bootstrap a company.
So, my plan of attack is this:
1) Research your idea to test market viability.
2) Attend meetups and become an active participant in your local community. You may not be a techie, but you certainly have skills other people can use.
3) Find a team.
4) Build an MVP.
5) Enter every pitch competition you can find.
6) Ask for mentors and advisors everywhere you can find them.
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When Angelina Lawton ran communications for the Tampa Bay Lightning, she could never understand how a company with such an exciting product–professional hockey, for goodness sake–managed to be so dull when it came time to pitch potential sponsors.
“We were doing these huge pitches for naming rights with these boring PowerPoint presentations. It felt very stale,” says Lawton. “I kept thinking, we can do better.”
Her frustration spurred her to start a boutique agency, Sportsdigita, whichspecializesin making flashy presentations for pro sports sales departments–“a movie-trailer for franchises” is how she describes them. Nine years later, executives at more than450 teams, stadiums, and arenas haveused her multimedia slideshows, called Digidecks, to sell everything from merchandise licenses to luxury suites, she says.
But now the pandemic haspostponed professionalsports seasons, and widespread protestshaveLawton’s bread-and-butter clients–the sales groups–lying low. To keep revenue growing and her company afloat,Lawton ispivoting to target customers in new fields from financial services to health care.
Work-at-home sales teams at all kinds of businesses must now figure out how to close deals from afar–and they can use all the help they can get.
“Covid-19 has opened up people’s eyes to remote selling and collaborating,” says Lawton. “Our product is perfect for that.”
When Lawton first started marketing souped-up sales decks to sports and events companies, the multimedia opportunitieswere obvious.Looking to sell advertising rights to the billboards in the outfield? Show a star centerfielder leaping for a catch in front of them. Marketing the luxury suites for your arena? Play clips of the games, concerts, and monster truck rallies that clients will be able to see up-close from the box.
In 2016, she decided to focus on the hard part, the software–andbegan selling it as a service sosalespeople could produce the digidecks in-house. The move put her into direct competition with legacy competitors like Microsoft PowerPoint, as well as subscription-based online software, such asPrezi. Even so, since pivoting to this software-as-a-service model, Sportsdigita revenue has grown over 200 percent, to $4 million in 2018, which putthe company at No. 1,993 on last year’sInc. 5000 ranking of fastest-growing private U.S. businesses. It ranked at No. 146 on this year’s Inc. 5000 series Midwest list. Today, 80 percent of the company’s revenue comes from software subscriptions, and the rest fromservices. Clients include the Los Angeles Lakers, the Philadelphia Eagles, and U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Now, with sporting events on hold and tensions high from weeks of protests, high-profile sports teams don’t want to be seen as tone-deaf amid the unrest. Like entrepreneurs across the world, Lawton was forced to rethinkbasic assumptions about her company and customers.
Her company has already made some early scores: insurerMutual of America, Cargill, the giant food conglomerate, and Jostens, the seller of high school yearbooks and class rings, have signed on as clients. They haveexisting libraries of media–salespeople can populate the decks with pre-loaded photo and video options from their ownexisting ads, and then present them in tandem with Zoom calls or other videoconferencing software.
Next, Sportsdigita is planning to add videoconferencing to Digideckas well, requiring new kinds of software expertise and putting the company up against the likes of Zoom.
For Sportsdigita, the new revenue has offset the slump in sports, andLawton says the company is once again on track with its pre-Covid growth targets.And her new clients? Their presentations may lack the same jaw-dropping action of their pro sports counterparts–but their infographics and bullet points are leaping off the screen like all-stars.
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