1. See if it’s already out there

This sounds pretty obvious, but you don’t know how many times I’ve talked to someone with literally pages of notes on app that’s already in the market. Here are few places outside a simple Google search to help you peep your competition:

Android App on Google Play – Search Android apps

Find.io – Search iPhone Apps

Search Patents – Search and read the full text of patents from around the world

KickStarter Search – Search through current KickStarter projects

2. Don’t get crazy

psycho

Unless you’re a developer yourself, you are going to need to get someone to build your app and possibly another person to help you market it. Don’t be crazy. I once had a guy invite me to a hotel lobby where he had asked the bartender to turn up the music and not seat anyone in our section. He then plops about 30 pages of handwritten notes on the table. Yes, he wrote his idea’s notes by hand in order to protect himself from “hackers”. WTF this is crazy, and annoying, don’t be that guy. Everyone is not trying to steal your idea Norman.

3. Know Development Costs

make an app
          via howmuchtomakeanapp.com
You should have some sort of idea of how much it cost to have an app developed. Don’t be like me when it comes to car repairs. The mechanic could tell me a price too high or a price too low and I couldn’t tell you if I was getting a good deal or getting screwed. Keep in mind prices can vary based on a plethora of factors. All developers aren’t created equal, some do native, some do hybrid, some work solo, and some work in teams. Really that’s just the tip of the iceberg, but understand prices will vary based on who you discuss your app with. A neat little tool I found is howmuchtomakeanapp.com, it may not be entirely accurate but it gives you a sense of what kind of things developers are thinking in their heads when you are explaining your idea to them.

4. Survey Strangers

People on subway
This one will definitely scare the people from #2 on this list but it’s absolutely necessary. Getting past asking your friends and family about your app idea is one thing, but asking someone at Starbucks or at the gym is the way to go. Friends and family tend to support anything you do and will usually give you feedback that is well received. Ask a few people who and aren’t in your social circle to get some honest and unbiased feedback.

5. Get Wireframes

wireframes3
          via inside.unbounce.com
It’s much easier to visualize and explain your app idea to others if you have wireframes. Wireframes are simply drawings, digital or by hand, that show how you plan for your app to look and function. It’s much better than saying “The login screen will look like Facebook, and users will buy stuff like Amazon”. Sounds easy right? Not exactly, wireframes can take a lot of time, graphic design skills, and some knowledge of how mobile apps flow and present content. However, they are insanely useful when getting an accurate quote from a developer. I advise you to hand this off to an experienced mobile designer but if you’d like to give it a shot yourself check out these programs:

Proto.io

UXPin

Moqups

Did I leave anything out?