Now we’re going to be taking a look at an app for sale, called Noted.
What is it?
is a Mac menu bar app that lets you quickly write down a note/thought. It’s very simple.
Why is it being turned over?
The seller uses the app every day and is still improving it, but would like the money for something important to them.
Listed on: https://buymysideproject.com/startups/noted
(BuyMySideProject is a new source that popped up this week on ProductHunt. These ProductHunt-launched marketplaces often fizzle out quickly, but I’ll be scanning it until it does.)
Asking Price: $2500 (negotiable)
Recurring Expenses: None, besides Apple Developer Program membership.
What I like about this app:
It’s simple. It’s a lightweight app that would be very easy to maintain.
Ranks well in searches.
- There’s another app called “Noted”, with a much larger audience. Anyone searching for that will see this Noted in the search results (position #3)
- “Quick notes” (position #3)
- “Toolbar notes” (only result)
- “Menu bar notes” (position #4)
- “Menu notes” (position #3)
- “Menu bar” (position #15)
Competition. There are a handful of competitors in the App Store, which shows there is a demand for this type of note-taking app. You’ll know customers are searching for this need to be met, and you’ll know who you’re competing with for their attention.
You might be able to charge more. It was free for a while, and as of mid-February it’s been priced at $1. I think there’s potential to increase the price to $2-4 without sacrifiing many sales. There will be some work involved in demonstrating to the user the superiority over competition, but it’s possible. [Since I started writing this issue, the developer took my suggestion and increased the price to $3, but I’m leaving this point here as an example of something that’s potentially an easy win.]
Nice icon. The App Store icon doesn’t particularly pop/stand out amongst others, but it is clean. The quill looks even better in the toolbar/menu when the app is launched/running. It’s small, but I think that’s a standout differentiator over competitors, especially for an app that is always running.
Saves your text. I used to use a free alternative called Tyke, and every time I closed the app/restarted my computer, my note would be erased. Noted saves it, and I love that.
There’s not much downside. I’m confident that there’s a non-zero lower bound to the value of an app that (1) has positive reviews, and (2) serves a legitimate purpose well. Games and sketchy low quality apps can be worth close to zero, but I think there’s more room to make money than lose money on this deal. The bigger question is time investment, but if this app were to lose all revenue generating potential at some point in the future, I still think you could probably find a buyer at $750.
What I don’t like about this app:
Competition. There are a handful of competitors in the App Store, which means that if you don’t put in the effort to be better, you might fall behind. It’s primary category is Productivity, which is maybe the most competitive Mac App Store category to rank for. Rankings don’t drive as many sales as searches, but it’s something to consider.
It wouldn’t be hard to rebuild. It’s a lightweight app. When evaluating this deal, you need to think about how much time/money you’d spend building a replica, submitting it to the App Store, and positioning yourself for the keywords above.
Not enough revenue data. I touched based with Rohan, the developer of the app. This app has only been monetized for several weeks. I won’t publish numbers here but you’re free to reach out to him. I’m curious to see how many sales his keyword rankings drive, but there’s not enough monetization history for me to project revenue even for the short term.
Who should acquire this?
- Someone who currently uses a toolbar notes app and knows why this one is better/what would make this one better.
- Someone who will see value in having another app in their portfolio that is easy to maintain. It adds exposure to your brand/other apps.
- Someone who has an audience, is good at marketing, or wants to test their marketing/outreach skills. Almost everyone uses a notes app and this is priced low enough that you wouldn’t have to target a niche audience to find customers.
- Someone who can identify why users are buying this app over the competition, and then double down on what they find.
You can see the theme here is experimentation. You won’t get rich off this app, but you might learn a lot and make some money too.
I’m a potential buyer for this app. I could build a replica, heck I already own another toolbar app, but this one is already built and generating revenue. I’ve addressed some of my concerns with Rohan and we’re going to touch base in a couple months if he hasn’t found a buyer.
If I were to buy it today, here’s what I’d do:
1. Talk to current customers
The fact that customers are purchasing this app over competing apps, many of which are free, is awesome. I know why I purchased it, but I’m only one person. I want to figure out any common threads amongst customers. This would dictate what I spend time improving upon, or changing.
I think it would be a mistake here to start by figuring out why people are NOT buying this app and building for them. You are never going to build a notes app that everyone loves.
2. Build a feature matrix
There are a lot of competitors. I want to build a feature matrix that shows what competitors offer which features/advantages. This is not a contradiction of #1, but it will help me notice who my true competitors are. The apps that my current customers almost decided to go with, because we compete on features & design. I want to outshine those apps, not every note taking toolbar app.
3. Improve the App Store assets
This is not a weakness of the app, but there is room for improvement. I might add a video, or make the screenshots pop a bit more. I would highlight in the description why this app is better than the competitors I found as a result of my research in step #2.
It’s a very simple app already, but the toolbar within the app doesn’t need to be there all the time. I would either add keyboard shortcuts or a less visible way to hide/show the in-app toolbar. I have a hunch that people who like menu-bar notes apps appreciate minimalism, so simplifying it even more probably wouldn’t hurt.
5. Encourage reviews
The app currently has great reviews. But based on the number of downloads it has (again, reach out to Rohan if you’re interested in the numbers), there could be a lot more. I’d ask users to leave a review/rating once they’ve typed a certain # of words, or copied/downloaded their notes a certain number of times.
Once I’ve done all those, and not a moment sooner, I’d consider building a small roadmap of feature ideas. This is a small app, it should never be the next Microsoft Word, but the more value you can add, the more you can charge.
- How about Markdown support. That would be awesome, and wouldn’t add anything extra to the interface.
- Let the customer customize the color scheme of the app itself.
- Make the note window resize-able.