If you’re trying to pitch to investors, then you’re going to need a presentation, and you may want a prototype. Assuming that is, that you already have an elevator pitch. Just like the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) distils an app into a core set of functionality, the elevator pitch conveys the main benefit of your app in just 20 seconds. Maybe you have a minute, but if you don’t say something great in 20 seconds then the next 40 seconds will be crickets. We talk about this more in the topic putting thought into words.
Once you have your pitch ready, you get to expound upon the core ideas in a presentation, delving deeper into the features that make your product unique. You’ll want to use snappy headings, concise prose and a wise combination of words and graphics. Depending on your intended audience and environment, the best conveyance of the presentation may be a PDF document, a PowerPoint presentation, a series of large printed pages or an interactive app walkthrough.
An app prototype is often a good way of signalling that an app business has more than just an idea, and can be an effective part of a presentation. We talked about InVision by Adobe in the topic beautiful apps; and mention it again here as this is an excellent tool for providing a cheap app prototype, with interactive screens that look like you’re running an app, but without the time and expense of writing code.
App design is needed before most apps can be developed; so if you complete the design before you gain the investment then you’re not wasting money, you’re just spending the money that would have been required anyway, and you’ve gained a useful tool in getting that capital in the meantime.
A prototype means something else entirely for some projects, as we will forego the design part altogether and jump straight to the technical risk in the code. We’ve done this recently with projects that use proprietary hardware and new online services. Most apps don’t carry this kind of technical risk, so we won’t recommend a prototype of this nature unless your particular circumstances warrant it, and where it is wise to spend a bit of time to confirm that an unknown piece of hardware or software does what you think it might before you commit to a product dependent on that understanding.