by Scott B Reynolds, February 11th, 2014
Over the last couple of months I've had several conversations with Business Catalyst Partners who have shown interest in building their own BC Apps (what is a BC App?). Most of these conversations immediately focused on code. Code is obviously important, but like building websites a plan is the first place to start to bring your BC App to life.
Before touching your code editor consider asking yourself the following questions:
Clearly define the purpose of your app. Write down a real-life story of how a stereotypical user would use it.
Are you building this app for your existing customers or the BC App Store (or both)?
Consider building an app that will solve a problem for both existing and future clients. And, consider having at least one client finance your app. If a business is willing to pay for it before you build, you immediately know it has value. On the other hand, if you build an app first and then offer it to your clients you may find that you have wasted your time (if no one buys it).
If you decide to distribute to other BC Partners, estimate the universal appeal. Is this an app BC Partners will find valuable for all of their customers? Or, will the app only solve an occasional pain point? Work on an app concept that makes it easy for a BC Partner to sell to any of their clients.
Let me guess your BC App idea. Is it a blog, forum, or scheduler? If so, you’re not alone. These are common app ideas and will likely be added to the BC App Store soon (maybe by you). The issue with a complex app, like a forum, is the amount of time it will take to build. For your first BC App consider building something basic. If you make an app simple, light, and specific you can get through the entire process quicker and build up your experience. Then you’ll be in a better place to decide if you should create a more complex app.
Have you searched the BC App Store to see if your concept has already been built? If so, you may consider purchasing it for your clients instead of starting from scratch. If you were planning on selling your app in this marketplace, come up with a way for your app to be better. There may be more than one product in the BC App Store that accomplishes the same goal, so tweak your app concept in order to improve differentiation.
You should define the amount of hours you are willing to spend on learning the basics, designing, and building a BC App. Or, if you are going to hire someone to build it for you, you should know your total budget.
Scott is the founder of Thrise LLC, a Business Catalyst partner advisory board member, an Adobe Community Professional, a BC Sandpile manager, an Adobe Certified Expert, an Adobe User Group Manager, a Google AdWords Certified Partner, and a full-time astronaut. Scott has had his hands in HTML since the 90’s and often presents on topics related to design and marketing.