The mobile app market is growing every year with increasing number of smartphones in the market. Mobile app development has become a vital activity just like marketing and you can see a large number of app startups coming up. The success of apps like WhatsApp or Instagram may fool some startup founders that it is easy to build a successful app and users will flock it by thousands. But that is far from true. There are several hurdles you have to cross even before you can reach app stores.
We have worked with several app startups, walking with them through different development phases and have seen common hurdles that each app startup faces and have seen the startup entrepreneurs fall short at many things. We have helped app startup entrepreneurs overcome these pitfalls. Make no mistakes, if these hurdles are not approached correctly, they can cause your mobile app to fail considerably. Here is the top list of common hurdles app startups face during app development.
AN OVERCROWDED MARKET
With more than 3 million apps in Google Play store and 2 million apps in Apple’s App Store, it is not a secret that app startups face stiff competition. Also, mobile app developers are launching new apps every day which add to the competition. Thus one of the biggest challenges faced by app startups is how to penetrate the overcrowded app market.
The best way to overcome this hurdle is ligning your app development with the users. You need to find answers to questions like
Once you reach your target market and understand the pain points of the target audience, you can promote the app in the language they understand and overcome the challenge.
Finding investors is one of the biggest challenges for app startups. Do you know apps built by larger companies cost around $500,000 to $1,000,000? For startups, these costs might also go higher as they also need funds to keep the company afloat. Startup entrepreneurs need funds for operations, legal, accounting and other expenditures.
If the startup is having a team of four mobile app developers, they would at least require $35,000 per month towards expenses and salaries. If the timeline for building a mobile app is around 4 to 6 months, the app costs would be $35,000 x timeline which would be anything in between $140,000 to $210,000. In simple words, app startups need loads of money until their app is successful and starts generating revenue for the company.
You need a strategy to overcome the funding obstacle. You can start by seeking help from your family and friends and then approach the right investors with your business plan. You need to explain the dynamics of the app to your investors and convince them for investing in your app startup. There are several online crowdfunding platforms which bring investors and entrepreneurs together. All you need to do is explain the app idea in the best possible way to invoke interest and you will see the funds pouring in.
The mobile technology is improving with each passing day and you see new mobile devices introduced regularly. How would you design an app that will fit all devices? As an app startup, you face a big challenge of ensuring your mobile app works seamlessly on a smartphone as well as a tablet. This means you need to pay attention to different aspects such as screen resolution, various OS limitations and other technical factors. For example, the iOS is way different from Android and you would be required to put larger efforts to fix bugs.
You can deal with this challenge by following a responsive app design approach where mobile app developers focus on offering a native app experience. They curate the content, functionality, and navigation to help the user achieve a specific goal quickly.
Navigation is an important design element in app development. The perception of the app developers can be different from the end user. For example, a navigational menu that appears simple to the developer might be difficult for the end user leading to negative reviews which will hurt the app downloads.
The trick to overcoming this hurdle is keeping the menu and navigation simple and clear. For example, you can follow the UI patterns and techniques that Android and iOS users are already acquainted with. You can also include helpful instructions and tutorials to help the user learn about app functions quickly and reduce the learning curve.
Many app startups do not realize how crucial the initial app development phase can be. Any mobile app development company has three app development approaches to choose from: Web apps and HTML5, Native apps and Hybrid apps. Each of this development methodologies has several technologies, frameworks and languages that can be used. Startups need to remember that established mobile app development companies have some motivation to pursue a specific platform so they should avoid being carried away by other company’s choices.
Startups need to conduct a research to know the options and disadvantages of every development methodology. They should weigh pros and cons of every option available before taking a decision.
APP PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE
Every app startup faces the challenge of developing an app that is completely bug-free and provides intended benefits to the user. The challenge is developing an app that performs the intended tasks efficiently and consumes less battery power while functioning.
Startups need to focus on the app performance and battery consumption at all the mobile app development stages and not keep it only for final testing. The mobile app startup company also needs to check the performance on a wide variety of mobile devices to ensure that the features are not problem creators on older mobile devices. By following a rigorous testing of all versions of the mobile app, the app startup can ensure the final app version is in great shape.
APP MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS
As mentioned earlier, the competition is tough and high and pushing a mobile app in the market is a big challenge for app startups. Even a great app without right mobile app marketing strategy would get lost in the market. Startups have to compete with big mobile app development companies who have good market experience, established user base and big marketing budgets.
Startups need to have factual knowledge of app marketing and app promotion. The company needs to have a clear marketing strategy that includes lots of PR, media planning, social and viral marketing. Hiring mobile app marketing experts with experience in marketing applications successfully is a good idea. You can sit with them and create an effective marketing plan to penetrate the app market successfully.
APP STORE OPTIMIZATION
App Store Optimization refers to the process of optimizing your mobile app to rank higher in search results of app stores. Just like SEO for websites, ASO is important for mobile app discovery and success. Startups with no ASO experience find it hard to improve ASO for their newly launched apps. Many companies forget a better ASO means your app will reach thousands of devices.
The best way to overcome this hurdle is to conduct a market research to find out who will benefit from the use of your app. The next step is finding the right keywords that your target audience uses to search apps. You should try to include the keyword in your app title and description. Creating a persuasive app description and mentioning app features in bullet list also attract users.
DECIDING WHEN TO LAUNCH
Deciding the perfect time to launch can be a bit difficult. Launching early before sorting out bugs and issues would only invite negative reviews. There is an old adage: Early birds get the worm. Waiting too long also means losing the opportunity to surprise/impress users with your unique app. It also means waiting for extended time to receive initial feedback.
The best way to tackle this problem is advocating consistent alpha and beta testing and inviting more users to participate. Ask new users about their experience with the app and different features and see if the new features add or reduce the value of your app. The safest launch approach is polish before publish.
Developing a mobile app can be a fantastic challenge worth taking. We don’t want to discourage you in any way from taking this interesting journey. We just want to emphasize on the common hurdles you are likely to face and prepare accordingly. App startups need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Take this healthy advice and avoid making expensive mistakes.
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