Have you ever had an app idea so EPIC that you could practically see that million dollar check in your hands already? You’re so excited about the idea that you just can’t help but telling your friends and family members about the success you are about to experience! But then the bad news came – maybe it was a friend that told you or maybe you were just browsing the app store when you found out…your million-dollar app idea already exists!
After getting your hopes up and being so excited about “your” app idea, this might be a huge blow to your moral. I’ve had this happen to me quite a few times. I’ve had great app ideas pop into my head and I would be on Cloud 9 until I got home, opened up iTunes, searched for my app idea, and found out it already existed.
This exact same scenario still happens to me, except one thing has changed. Now, instead of being crushed when I find out that my genius app idea already exists, I just get more excited about it! That probably sounds crazy to you! What is there to get excited about?
I feel excited and really lucky when this happens for this reason: the developers of the app is literally paying hundreds to thousands of dollars to do market research for me – and they don’t even know it! Having an app on the market already that is similar to your idea is like having a personal fortune teller! You can predict, based on the number of reviews the app has and it’s ranking history, roughly how much money the app is making. And guess what? If it looks like it’s making a good amount of money, I’m still going to think about turning this idea into an app!
Now I’m sure that there are going to be some critics out there that will say that copying someone’s app idea is immoral and wrong – and I would agree! However, my plan is NOT to copy the app idea, but to IMPROVE on it! If the app is selling great as it is, imagine how well my app will sell if it’s better! All I need to do is figure out what I’m going to improve about the app so that potential customers will pick my app over the existing app. Here are just a few of the things I look for:
Design is a huge aspect of what makes an app successful or unsuccessful. However, there are some apps out there who still manage to sell well despite looking like crap. If people are willing to download and use this app even though it looks like it was designed by a drunk man with his eyes closed, it must mean that the app idea itself has a lot of potential!
Doesn’t Function Properly / Has Many Bugs
Who wants to use an app that doesn’t work right? Believe it or not, there are a lot of apps out there that run really slow, randomly crash often, and/or have tons of bugs in them – and the developers don’t do anything about it! This screams opportunity to me – people want the app, but they can’t use it properly. Why not give them an app that simply works?
Have you ever looked at the reviews of an app in the app store? A lot of the time, there are people who say something like “I like this app but I really wish…” – BOOM! Sounds like opportunity to me! One of the biggest mistakes that app developers make is that they don’t listen to the number one rule of business: listen to the market and give it what it wants! People are literally telling you how to improve the app – and a lot of the time, developers don’t listen or don’t care! So, if they’re not going to give the market what it wants, why shouldn’t you?
Price is Too High
This is by far the simplest thing you can improve on an exiting app idea. People are cheap by nature. If two products are very similar and one costs less than the other, the vast majority of people will buy the less expensive one. So, give people what they want for less money! However, I wouldn’t recommend only improving on price as the existing app’s developer could just lower his price as well. This is best used in combination with another improvement on the app.
What’s the Catch?
This sounds great and all, but I’m sure you’re wondering what the catch is? How can you know for sure that it’s really possible to make money by simply improving on an existing app idea? Well, don’t take my word for it – meet Benny Hsu!
Benny is an iPhone app developer, an entrepreneur, and a blogger over at www.GetBusyLivingBlog.com (very inspiring blog – definitely go and check it out!). His first iPhone app Photo 365 made him over $30,000 in the first 30 days of it being for sale. Benny had this to say about his app in his interview with Pat Flynn from www.SmartPassiveIncome.com:
“I had been using an app similar to the one I designed. It’s also about saving a photo a day. I started using it in April 2010 and used it for a few months. However the app was very basic. No graphics. White background with boxes and a number for the date. You could tell it was created by someone who knew how to code and did a great job but it didn’t look polished.”
“What I did was I looked through the reviews and looked at the average or bad reviews. I read their feedback. I took notes.”
“I just took an existing idea and improved on it.”
(To read the full interview click here.)
Benny is just one great example of someone finding an existing app idea! There are tons of other apps out there have simply improved upon an existing app. And guess what? Most of them are outselling the original app they improved upon!
The concept of creating something new by improving on an existing idea is definitely not limited to mobile apps either – think about some of the most successful businesses and products out on the market:
AltaVista existed before Google…
Folgers existed before Starbucks…
Budweiser existed before Sam Adams…
MySpace existed before Facebook…
Rio MP3 players existed before iPods…
Where would we be if WE LISTENED to all the naysayers who said:
“Why bother? Somebody’s already doing it!”
It’s ALWAYS being done…
You can do it BETTER.
(Thanks to MJ DeMarco from TheMillionaireFastlane.com for originally sharing that. And if you have’t read MJ’s book, The Millionaire Fastlane, I highly recommend it!)
So next time you have a great app idea but you find out that it already exists – don’t be disappointed, be excited! If the existing app isn’t selling well you just saved yourself hundreds to thousands of dollars in development costs! If it is selling well and you can find ways to improve upon it (not simply make a copy of it) you have a good chance of success!
If you missed the first post in this series, here it is: