App development is all the rage these days and you might be seriously considering developing one for yourself. What you have to keep in mind, however, is that undertaking such a project requires the collaboration of a wide range of skills and can be costly for a startup. Why we say as such is the development of an app does not stop at the end of its technical development and needs to be marketed and maintained.
Do not lose heart, as developing an app can, in fact, help you achieve your business goals, provided it is done right. How do you do it right?
Answering the questions below might be a good start.
1. Do I really need an app?
You might consider this strange coming from us since our main bread and butter is in app development. We are, however, also a client-first company, realise that startups are usually bootstrapped and have no hesitation in shooting down grandiose ideas that might just end up sucking money with no discernible return on investment.
So some of the questions you need to ask yourself to answer the question on whether you need an app are
- Is there a gap in the market?
- Is there a healthy return on investment in this gap?
- Are there any direct and indirect competition?
- Are you committed to this or jumping on the app-building bandwagon
2. Who is my customer?
An app made for everyone isn’t going to be used by anyone.
It’s important that you identify the end-users of your app as it is to their needs your app should be catering to. This information is pivotal in creating user personas that help the design team understand the user demographics, behaviors, motivators, goals and pain points.
If you’re not too sure on the above information on your end-users, it’s worthwhile to invest some time and resources to do so, as this information in pivotal in communicating your idea to your app development partner.
3. How do I plan on monetising it?
App development can be a costly investment and one in which you should be earning a good return on investment. Give some thought as to how you plan on recouping your costs with the below questions.
- Will the app be free to download, paid or freemium?
- If it’s free, what strategies will you be using to earn money?
- If it’s paid, what is the price point you will set it at?
- If it’s freemium, which features are free and which are paid?
Sourced from Clearbridge
4. Who’s going to develop my app?
The right answer here isn’t freelancers as a great app is a sum of many skills brought together.
Developing an app first needs designers who are proficient in User Interfaces (UI) and User Experiences (UX). These designs must be created using user personas and tested before being passed onto the development team who then begin work on the coding. The code developed must then be passed on the Quality Assurance (QA) team who will test it for bugs and proper functionality.
App development is a complex process which is why we recommend you to give some careful consideration before picking one. A couple of things you might want to look at when doing so is
- Experience – have they developed similar to yours?
- Reviews from previous clients – look beyond the reviews on their website and on websites such as Clutch. We also urge you to reach out to their previous clients to get a first hand account of how their partnership with the said app developer was.
- Software development model- is the software house working on the waterfall or agile methodology?
- Pricing model – will the software house be charging you on fixed or on an agile contract?
- Communication model- how often can you expect updates and/or replies? What are the tools used for communicating with clients?
5. What’s my plan for marketing?
The greatest app in the world can remain unused if no one knows about it.
Your marketing does not need to have an ad budget with many zeros behind it, but a sizable amount experimenting to understand what works and what doesn’t. Make a plan on who your customers are, where they are and what they do to better understand what you can do to get their attention. Below are a few things you might want to focus on when releasing your app to the app store.
- App screenshots to showcase your app in the App/Play Store
- App description
- App Store Optimisation (ASO)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing
Don’t have the necessary know-how? Look for help from an external boutique agency so as to maximise the potential of your marketing budget.
Sourced from Apptentive
6. How am I going to fund it?
As hard as it is, we must talk about the means through which you will be funding the development of your app. Giving this some serious thought from the get-go itself is important as the cost of research, design, development, testing, launch, marketing and many other expenses related to producing an app can take a sizable chunk of any start-up budget. With that being said there are several means through which you can raise capital for your app
- Friends and family- the easiest mean of raising some capital is through those who know and have trust in your vision. Just remember to treat them as investors who trusted you and take good care of the money they entrusted you with.
- Partners- reaching out and locking in several partners who possess different skills is a great idea to raise funds and make use of their technical expertise.
- Crowdfunding- with a plethora of crowdfunding websites to pick from, there is simply no excuse for not giving crowdfunding a go if you have very limited budgets. Crowdfunding your ideas can also serve a fantastic means of validating your idea as an idea that many are willing to back via investments is one that will get traction once it’s released.
- Funding contests- with many organizations, companies, or even startup incubators hosting contests for those who are looking to fund their ideas, a great pitch can take you a long way. These contests are extremely competitive, so make sure you do your research, craft an engaging pitch and practice as much as possible.
- Angel investors- a very attractive option for some startups as angel investors bring the required financing as well their business acumen to help run the project. Do, however, remember that Angel investors can only be bought in if you are willing to hand over a portion of the equity of the project to match it.
We realise that wrapping your head around all the steps and processes needed to bring an app to life can be difficult. All the more so as an incorrectly developed app can fast become a liability, sucking your funds dry in comparison to the asset you expected it to be. It’s for this reason that we recommend you to hire a software consultancy company that can help narrow the idea and provide an end to end service for startups such as yourself.