Build a business, not an app

Angry Birds – one of the pioneering games that sparked the app craze

It seems people are just putting the word “preneur” on the back of anything these days, aren’t they?  We’re seeing entrepreneur morphed into Mumpreneur (now in the dictionary), Wantrepreneur (someone that desires to be an entrepreneur), Kidpreneur (little crazy-smart kids building businesses), Foodpreneur (oh gawd!), Propertypreneur (someone please punch me in the face).

Now every second minute someone is introducing themselves to me as an Appreneur (an entrepreneur that is building an app, unless they are Mums as well).

No matter what title you want to bestow upon yourself, the app phenomenon has well and truly hit the shores of Australia.

The fact that a lot of people are making apps is not what concerns me. Apps are great and this trend will likely stay for some time. You just have to look at the resources Google is putting into mobile technologies to know that there is going to be lots of money to be made through smartphone applications.

A business needs to make money

Some people are creating cool apps, but not building businesses. That, my friends, is a problem. An app is not a business if it is not making any money.

We all have the dream—the dream created by those delicious headlines that inform us of how “Sally Mac built an app, and CNN just bought it for a bazillion dollars.”

This is the entrepreneur’s version of the lotto; everyone has a fair chance, but only a few are ever going to get the out-of-this-world offers.

Those offers will only come if you have built a proper business. One that addresses a need, fixes a problem, and makes your customers’ life easier or more fun. Your business should also be well run, is cost effective with proper plans and innovation in place. Any company that is considering to acquire your business will always look at your balance sheet.

All of those things come from a lot of trial and error, huge workloads and sacrifices from you. More importantly, it needs time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

The app business is just like any other business. It may be the current trend now, but it still needs to be built on strong fundamentals. Rovio, the creator of household name ‘Angry Birds’, only hit it big in 2009 – 6 years after the company was founded.

Set out to build a business, not an app. You may not monetise things immediately, but you need to at least have a plan in place to do so. Trust me, I learnt that lesson the hard way.

What do you think?