In our blog on creating a killer pitch deck for finding the right investor for your app development project, we touched upon the different elements you’ll need to include in your pitch in order to take the most out of it. Rather than focusing on investors, this blog highlights the importance of having a solid proposal when approaching a digital partner for the development of your application. No matter how great your app idea is, without the right briefing you will likely struggle to find a digital partner that’s willing to follow up on your project. Continue reading to find out more about creating a powerful and convincing briefing for your application proposal.
You’ve noticed a problem your target audience is facing, and you’ve come up with a digital solution that can greatly improve the experience of your customers. However, it doesn’t just stop with the idea if you really want to make a difference. If you don’t happen to be a cross-functional UI/UX designer, full stack software developer and commercial specialist all in one, you might want to consider finding a digital partner who can help you with these processes.
In order to convince your potential digital partner, you’ll need a solid briefing document. This document should summarize the most important information about your business and app idea. It doesn’t need to be a long document - just two or three pages. Creating this document will take you about 2-3 hours and will save an immense amount of time and effort on your side, as well as the side of the potential partner later on. The more concrete your document, the better your digital partner can understand your idea and provide you with a roadmap (and budget) to success. A solid briefing makes sure that your initial conversations with your digital partner start off on the right foot with a clear understanding of your business, product, and budget. It is, therefore, definitely worth spending some time on.
Essential elements of a briefing document
Just like your business’ killer pitch, your briefing document for digital partners also consists of an extensive yet easy-to-follow recipe. From concrete information about your business to the product’s specifications, it’s all part of your briefing. Below, you’ll find a list of the most essential elements. Keep in mind that more information doesn’t always result in more clarity. While it’s important to discuss at least all the items listed below, make sure to keep every element short and to the point.
Like any other first meeting with a potential digital partner, introduce yourself and the company you’re working for. Think of elements like the industry you’re active in, and the type of product or service your organization sells/is planning to sell. Make sure to also include your contact information, in case the app developer wants to get in touch with you after your meeting for additional questions or a potential partnership.
2. Background information
Explain how you and your organization came up with the idea for your application and why the solution is relevant to your business and its market. This doesn’t only clarify the position of your organization within the market, it also showcases the current state of your business and if your app idea is merely an idea or an already broadly developed concept with sketches and a business plan.
Summarize the concept of your idea in a few sentences, specifically focused on the problem definition and how your solution can solve this particular problem. Try to be as concrete as possible, summarizing your concept into a powerful elevator pitch you would use to stimulate people to use your application. Imagine writing a short piece of text in the description of your app in the app store. How would you concretely yet simply describe how your solution will solve the user’s problem.
4. Target audience
Describe the main users of your future app and the target audience you’re focussing on. The most convincing way of doing this is by creating customer personas. These personas represent a stereotypical user of your application, focussing on characteristics like gender, age segment and lifestyle. The clearer you can describe your target audience, the better your potential future app developer can align your application to its end-users.
Think of the concrete objectives you and your organization want to achieve with the development of this application. Perhaps you’ve already created a list with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) you want to achieve within a certain timeframe. Again, the more you’ve already prepared yourself, the higher chance of convincing your potential digital partner of the worth of your app idea.
6. Business model
A lot of app development companies only pick up projects with an investment of at least 25.000 euros or more. The costs of development (and subsequent marketing of your product) can easily add up, depending on the requirements, needs and wishes. Have you already looked into ways to pay these costs, including the unforeseen ones? Perhaps it is a good idea to look into different types of investors to make sure that you have some extra capital in the case of unexpected changes in the budget of your project. Besides having an investor to start up your project, it is also important to have clear how your application will return its investments. How will your solution directly (or indirectly) contribute to your bottom line? Are you including in-app purchases in your application? Or do your users have to pay for certain premium functionalities? Or will your solution help make your employees and business processes more efficient, for example, by implementing Business Process Automation? All these aspects form an indispensable part of your briefing, and give you an insight into how realistic your goals are.
As the app stores are bursting at their seams with innovative applications, it could be that your app idea already exists in one form or another. It’s important to look into your competitors, and compare their apps with your app idea to find out why they’re so successful, or why not - and what sets you apart from them. What could you add or change to your app to make it better than the ones already on the market? How will it stand out from the crowd when it’s another new app in the app store? Create a list of competing apps and your app, and add check marks underneath to showcase the extra features that make your app the best version. Focus on the problem of your end-users, and make sure that your digital product provides the best and most complete solution to that problem.
Time to dive into the project itself. What parts of your project do you want to delegate to your digital partner and what parts can you do yourself? With this insight, your potential partner can create a picture of what the process will look like. Take the entire journey into consideration, including the long-term maintenance of your product and future digital marketing or growth strategies.
9. Product & Platform
When you’ve clarified a list of services you’ll need your digital partner for, you can dive into the product description of your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). An MVP is a product that has just enough features to satisfy its early users in order to receive viable feedback for future development implementations. The essence of an MVP is the delivery of a product with only the most essential features. Because by scaling down your product to a minimal set of features, you don’t only save time and effort, you also make sure that the product is continuously aligned with the needs of the end-user.
Besides the features, it’s also important to already consider the specific smartphone-integrations your app requires, as well as the platform you want your app to be available on. Do you want your app to be a native mobile app, focused on Android or iOS? Do you want your app to be available on more platforms, consisting of a cross-platform or hybrid nature? Or maybe you want your app to be available on any type of device in the form of a progressive web application. With a focus on multiple platforms, you greatly increase the market segment you’re targeting. However, the development of a native mobile app usually provides access to an overall higher performance and platform-specific functionalities.
Although this is a lot to consider, make sure to keep your product and platform description concrete, without diving into too much detail. Digital partners generally prefer clients with a broad overview of the problem, without being stuck on too much details already. So, in this case, a high-level overview of the key USPs is enough.
With the specifications of your MVP in mind, you can already think of a planning and potential deadline. That also includes a margin for potential setbacks that can come up during the development process. Of course, your digital partner will also provide you with an insight into the approximate time it will take to finalize the project you have in mind. Make sure to also touch on any external deadlines, such as big events or specific time of the year that is relevant to your deadline. For example, if you come up with an application mainly focused on tourism, it’s best to assign your deadline before the start of the summer.
The budget indication often proves to be a sensitive aspect of your project’s proposal. You don’t have to give full details of the current financial status of your business, but providing a budget indication can definitely help you to showcase your motivation and willingness to invest in your project, and it helps your digital partner align expectations in terms of timing, features, design elements, etc. Both app developers and clients should be aware of the fact that the balance between price, quality and timeframe of the project are realistic. It happens more than often that clients underestimate the work that is being put into a development project, mostly due to a lack of knowledge about software development. It’s a good idea to include at least a minimum and maximum available budget in your briefing for transparency, while still being open for input from the other side.
Need a hand?
At Lizard Global, we love to meet inspiring people with innovative app ideas. We understand that, especially without the right knowledge or experience, it can be difficult to turn your idea into specific words and concrete descriptions. That’s why we’ve implemented our digital workshops, which are designed to help newcomers with getting a more defined image of the development process of their app idea. Besides the technical development and UI/UX design of your product, wel also do extensive research to advise you on the right technologies for your application. Want to know more? Or are you interested in a digital consultancy session? Drop us a line via our contact form or give us a call. We’d love to hear your ideas!