I have a great Idea for a Startup, a Web App Business, How and Where to start?


I have a great idea for a web app in personal finance niche. It's a B2C. I have brainstormed and did some research. I made some specs and wrote the idea explaining every functionality. There is already some fair competition in this niche but my app idea has some unique useful features which other apps in competition do not have.

I am planning to start the business by creating Web, mobile web, Android and Iphone apps. I don't understand how and where to start.

I am a recent Graduate have some PHP & MySql programming knowledge, however I didn't do any major projects so far. Presently I am learning Android app development. I love programming but I am a kind of lazy guy, but I am very serious regarding my Idea implementation. I am new to business world and have very little knowledge about management, marketing etc. BTW I am low on funds.

My questions are.

  1. Should I develop the apps myself (by learning what I know little) or
    should I hire some professionals for all the development stuff?
  2. If I should learn how much time would it take to master the skills?
  3. If I should hire someone what type of professionals, in addition to Web designers and developers, should I hire and where?
  4. How much time would it take for a professional to complete the work and make it live?
  5. Who are Venture Capitalists and Is approaching them a good option?
  6. How to find my potential customers and how to survey what they want before launching?
  7. How to analyze the competition in a better way and measure the success of the business.
  8. What books, websites, blogs and other resources do you recommend?

Getting Started Ideas Business Web App

asked Jan 17 '11 at 22:28
Andy Mortin
141 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

3 Answers


I think the reason you don't know where to start is because you have this idea and you are planning to conquer all platforms in one fell swoop (which is daunting). My suggestion is to build the website yourself and then go from there. If you are low on funds, you aren't going to get many quality programmers to build the apps/site for you, which is really just wasting your money and time. I would definitely suggest paying a designer to make the look/feel of your site for you as that is critical. Also, if you enjoy programming but aren't able to make yourself do the project that is a warning that you don't have as much faith in your idea as it seems.

To answer your other questions:

1.) Do the site by yourself, if you know PHP and MySQL you should be able to put together a decent site and if you pay a designer to make the layout then it will look good as well. Save the professional developers for the iphone and android app (and save those 'til you have a customer base that would be willing to use it).

2.) I don't know you or your learning style so it is hard to answer this one. It is definitely based on your determination to learn and push through the difficulties/frustration.

3.) If your site takes off, then you may want to hire people to do day to day business and the other "business" stuff. Until then though, don't worry about it.

4.) The answer to this depends on if you pay them by the hour or not (and if they are ethical too I guess). If you can do it yourself, I would since you will need to save your money.

5.) Venture Capitalists (VCs) are institutional investors who can provide money for a company in order for it to grow. Considering you don't have a product yet, I wouldn't approach them. Just do your thing and if they feel like you are a good investment they may approach you. You are getting way ahead of yourself as of now.

6.) Just build a prototype of your site and launch it. Use the userbase there as the test to see what they want. Otherwise, you will never launch your product because you will be stuck doing "market research" until you lose interest.

7.) I'm not going to mislead you here to make me seem like I know it all, I don't have a good idea on how to answer this question!

8.) Paul Graham's Blog and Patrick McKenzie's Blog those are two that I regularly read that give me inspiration to continue on.

answered Jan 18 '11 at 00:56
289 points
  • Thanks Jetti....Want to Vote Up but low reps...Can I know more about prototype building. – Andy Mortin 13 years ago
  • @Andy Mortin - For a prototype just build what the site with the minimum features and launch and then add features as you go. The idea behind that is that you let your customers determine what features that the site should have. What you think is important may not be to them. – Jetti 13 years ago
  • I got it, You mean most important features....I am wondering whether to develop Android app first or a Web app. Please help. – Andy Mortin 13 years ago
  • @Andy - I would say do the web first. It is something you can do yourself. The problem with smartphone apps is that they cost money to make but also to sell. Google Market costs $25 to put an app (I know Windows Phone Market is $99 a year with free apps costing more). Start small then build on it. – Jetti 13 years ago
  • Thanks once again Jetti...See my first comment in Slavo's answer. I need to learn first and I'm worried how long would it take to complete the prototype? – Andy Mortin 13 years ago
  • @Andy - It basically comes down to which you value most: time or money. If you value your time more then you can pay developers to build the site from scratch for you. If you value you money more then build it yourself (will take longer). There is no way I can tell you how long it will take you to make your app because I don't know how well you know PHP and what features you want to have – Jetti 13 years ago
  • Thanks Jetti for sharing your valuable time. – Andy Mortin 13 years ago
  • With tools like PhoneGap why spending all efforts on a native App and limiting your market? Unless you want to hide your code, but even here there are more options. – Dmitri Zaitsev 10 years ago
  • @DmitriZaitsev One reason to go native is to take full advantage of the platform. With tools like PhoneGap, you're limited to what that tool allows you to access. That being said, it is an option to get a quick prototype out the door. – Jetti 10 years ago


I think those are too many questions to answer at once in detail. Here are my first thoughts:

  1. What is your core business? Is it the distinguishing features (functionality)? Don't outsource that. Outsource stuff that needs to be done, but is not the most essential part.
  2. You never master the skills, you never stop learning. If you are starting from the very basics, it would take really long. Your idea might not even be valid in a year. Validate again when you're comfortable with your skills and have a prototype.
  3. This depends on your product. Development and design is basically all you need to start a web app. The rest is non-essential, and you can do it yourself to avoid costs.
  4. A web site + mobile site + iPhone app + Android app. You would probably need different professionals for all of those. I don't know your features, but if it's Mint -like, it might be a year.
  5. If you don't have any previous experience and a killer idea that you can pitch in a minute, I don't think approaching VCs would have any success. See my question about when not to raise money.
  6. What is your target market? Regular users? Then talk to friends, mates from college, family. Find someone that would use your thing and pay you (if it is not free). Talk to as many people as possible in your communities, online and offline.
  7. That takes lots of time. Measure their site traffic, see their downloads in app store and android market, read reviews, etc.
  8. You've obviously found this site, which is a good start. From the top of my head:
You should keep searching, though. What you are asking about is a lot and diving into each of those points could take a while. Good luck!
answered Jan 18 '11 at 00:47
316 points
  • Thanks Slavo. With your advice I decided not to approach VC's. My basics in Web Development and Android app development are good. I can rate my skills PHP&MySql 3/5, Android 2/5, IPhone 0/5, web development (2/5), web design(2/5), Software Development & management (1.5/5).Its not much complex as Mint. If the complexity of Mint is rated 7. My app would be 5/7. Now, can I know how much time will it take for me to make the app live. – Andy Mortin 13 years ago
  • BTW wanna vote up for your answer but have low reps at present. – Andy Mortin 13 years ago
  • +1 And I want to add; if you're as serious and excited as you sound, start hanging around the Hacker News community: http://news.ycombinator.com/ You'll learn quickly and have many enthusiastic friends to ask. – John Sj√∂lander 13 years ago
  • Got Reps voted Up. – Andy Mortin 13 years ago


Who isn't low on funds? :)

Do little more market research. Put up a polls and try to find out possible traction of your app.

To hire people you can use: freelancer, elance, guru, odeks, iteezy ;), and bunch of other sites. The touch part is to pick the right person to work with. I had the best luck with developers from China. Their englich sucks but when you chat with the it really doesn't matter. As long as you have some pseudo code with logic requirements you should be good to go.

As far skill set of the programmer you are going to hire, check their portfolio. Make sure they already made something similar to what you want. The app developers do usually everything including design and web.

As far as time you would have to give more specific criteria.

You want to start with Angels first :) before you go for venture capital. And you never approach investor. You approach his/her contacts such as former business owners they invested or other people they deal on day to day bases. Take look at veturehacks they have nice think book about :)

You hire marketing consultant to get an idea how to market your software. Than you'll have starting point and can open google adwords and other similar online advertising accounts

You can use sevices such as spyfu to get metrics on competitors advertising. Also you can lookup the competitors on alexa.com to get an idea what kind of traffic the get on their software.

Do you know why every person doesn't start business? Because it is hard, and you have to find edge that will get you over the top and you have to fight to stay on top.

As far as book do search on amazon and look at the stars :)

answered Jan 18 '11 at 00:55
Mat Banik
325 points

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