If you're making a startup then you're busy as hell so let's get straight to it:
1. Core goals:
Watch this video and leave it on in the background while you read this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE
"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."
Create some core goals - aim high and think long term. You might want to really refine this for about a week because it will be the first thing you tell people when you describe your startup.
2. A name:
Dedicate yourself to a name early on, you will want to stew on this one as well for obvious reasons. Here are some guidelines:
- Either own the ".com" address or be prepared to pay a lot of money for it. If your startup is a "business to consumer", this will potentially save you a lot of money through organic web traffic.
- The name should be memorable. Think about using words or phrases with aliteration or that sound nice to hear or say. (Sometimes this is more important than the meaning itself).
- The name should look good. The word 'symphony' looks much nicer than 'crepuscular' for example. You can make your web domain look nice by choosing a nice looking name.
Either working in a team or having regular contact with mentors will help you stay motivated.
I would even suggest (if you are a programmer) not to do any dev work yourself so that you can focus on the overall business. When I tried developing my own project, I would let myself compromise the vision and find shortcuts just because I could. Come up from the bilge and take the helm.
4. Plan to make money:
If you want your business to stay afloat, you need to know how much money you plan to make and how it's going to happen. It can be risky to incorporate a financial business structure later on down the line. Also, if you end up running out of money then it's game over!
Plan how much you need to invest personally - it will hurt a lot less when you do need to fork out and you'll make wiser decisions about when you should.
5. Record all of your financials:
You may want to sell your company one day and it's important to know how much you invested when making a valuation. Additionally, if you wish to apply for grants at some stage it helps a lot to show your own personal investment into the business.
Once you have chosen a solid name, fork out the cash to get an incorporated company. You need it to submit an app under a business name on the Apple app store. For a relatively small investment I suggest taking care of this early.
8. Create a release schedule:
There are a lot of steps involved in creating an app (particularly something that's user to user), it's easy to get stuck not knowing where to start. Write down what needs to be done, a logical order will become apparent.
Make sure there is a reason behind each task you write - it all must contribute to your main goal (making money). If it doesn't, you may need to be brutal because "nice to haves" will cost you precious time and resources. Once you decide what needs to be done, avoid compromise at any cost.
9. Make a promotional video:
This will be worth the investment - even a basic home-made video is likely to encourage more downloads then the most eloquent spiel. The option to include a video in your app previews is an opportunity you shouldn't waste.
Another advantage to creating a video before release is that it is a great tool for collecting feedback. Eric Ries in 'The Lean Startup' describes how DropBox used a 'video' as their form of prototype to get the feedback loop flowing at an early stage.
10. Get known:
Make a website and create the app meta - then tell everyone about your business whenever you can. With an established web presence detailing your concept, you will have proof of the idea you created and will deter likely imitators.
Contact as many publications as you can, try to create a stir before launching. There are app developers out there who try to remake any successful app they see. You need to get high saturation fast so that you leave them in the dust!
Thanks for reading my article - I commend your brave and reckless nature in taking a bet to invest in yourself.