90% of millennials go online every single day according to a Google statistic.
Also, about 69% of time spent on digital platforms involves mobile devices. Such being the case, every business wishes to go online and tend to take the app route. Thus, startups looking for app development is a commonplace today. Every enterprise/conglomerate is looking to tap into the mobile app arena along with start-ups and small businesses. We’ve worked with both enterprises and start-ups and we understand what developing an app for each entity entails. While enterprises focus more on quality, with startups it's more about speedy launch at low budgets.
Working on a mobile app for a startup can be very exciting for their idea could be very fresh and new. However, with a shoe string budget and limited marketing promotions, it could become a challenging task to develop the app, promote it and launch it. With an enterprise, the process flows are clearer and the time to market is far more reasonable not to mention the budget. With start-ups on the other hand, seek faster time to market at low budgets. We bring to you the problems that mobile app development companies typically face while developing apps for start-ups and how you can go about developing a successful app for a start-up.
Typical challenges that mobile app developers face with start-ups
This is understandably one of the biggest issues associated with startups. Before developing a mobile, one needs to do a lot of things such as market research, audience surveys, studying competition, analysing the need for the product and looking up strategies to promote the app. Development alone is the not only cost factor to consider. All these areas eat into the money left for development and fixing and given how important each of these aspects is, it is a very tight rope that one has to walk on while allocating funds for mobile app development and all the activities it entails.
#2: Limited resources and ideas
Yet another challenge that comes with developing mobile apps for start-ups is their limited resources. In a start-up, the team size is limited and more often than not, one person handles more than one responsibility irrespective of their area of expertise. Thus, market research and promotions could be handled by people who are inexperienced, and, in some cases, there are no resources allocated for such activities. This is a major issue when it comes to understanding customer preferences and promoting the app.
#3: Quicker launch times
Start-ups tend to bank on the novelty of their idea to capture market space and thus typically require faster time to market when it comes to launching their apps. They would rather not reinvent the wheel given how time consuming and laborious the process is. They rely on readily available solutions or white label solutions (which simply mean that the product is developed by someone and supported by someone while another person sells it). This could lead to a product that isn’t quite up to the mark quality wise.
These are some of the common problems that we’ve witnessed while developing mobile apps for startups. Having worked with a multitude of start-ups, we’ve come up with our own steps and strategies to work on mobile apps for startups. Read on to learn about our guide to developing successful apps for startups.
#1: Understanding customer needs and market conditions
Before you plunge into app development, it is important to ideate and conceptualize your product. Understanding your customer’s pulse is thus important for your app’s success. You are definitely not going to seek someone’s help to develop an app the moment you think of it after all! You would brainstorm, think at length about it, put your ideas on paper and bring it to shape before you think of development. This is called app discovery and we recommend that you analyse your concept, market, customer base and global trends before deciding upon the final app idea.
In case you don’t have a strong research team, work with an app development company that offers this service along with their app development services. After all, you must understand your customer, their pain points and show them that you understand their problems and have a solution for them to touch base with your audience. This simply cannot be accomplished without adequate research.
#2: Understanding your app’s playing field
When we say understanding the playing field, this has to do with realizing which app is popular and why and how your app can make a difference in an App Store or Play Store that is inundated with a million apps. Undertaking a market survey to see if your app’s idea is already there in the market and if so, do you have any unique differentiator and how you can trump your competition. We recommend that you undertake a small amount of research before engaging a mobile app developer/company for your app irrespective of whether they are going to research the same at length. We believe that this will give you a sense of what the demand for your product is and give you an idea as to your competition.
You could use keyword tools to see how much traffic a keyword associated to your business or idea could bring in and this will help you see the potential of you app. Google has a plethora of tools to help you with this such as Google Trends, Analytics and so on. These steps will help you define your app very clearly and set expectations about the customer base you intend to target and the milestones that you hope to achieve post launch.
#3: Explore MVP and Wireframes
MVP stands for minimum viable product. As the name suggests, it is just an idea of your app, a version of it that focuses on the app’s primary or core functionalities. It is a simple version of your app with its main features developed. This could be used to target your core user base and get their feedback post which you can focus on the aspects that need to be worked upon. With an MVP, you get to test your idea on your potential customer base, present it to investors along with survey results for funding, the cost of development isn’t quite as much as a full-fledged app and it saves time and effort. We recommend that you opt for an MVP before diving head first into complete app development.
Wireframes are the next step post MVP. A wireframe is like a blueprint for your app and it is a structure that shows how your app will look and feel like. This will be more of an illustration for understanding and this can help remove discrepancies between your understanding of what your app will look like and what your developer is going to develop for you. Similarly, it is important to test your wireframes too. This can help you determine how usable your app is and find out of there are any requirement gaps. This additional step can help you fix bugs, close requirement gaps and ensure that you develop a successful mobile app.
#4: Monetization and promotion strategy
The very purpose of your going for a mobile app is making money out of it. Setting the expectation straight from the very beginning with your developers is a good idea. As a start-up you cannot afford to stagger this aspect and focus on user engagement or building alone. Your intention would be to make money off it and this needs to be communicated clearly to your developers. Revenue streams such as in app ads, freemium, in app purchases and paid apps need to be considered and you need to zero in on the right monetization strategy before development.
Promotions too are an important aspect that can’t be looked at only in the last moment. You need to create a buzz surrounding your app and for this, it is essential to explore social media platforms, marketing channels such as emails, SMS and so on. Getting a plan in place and allocating the budget for marketing will help you reign in your expenses and stick to the planned expenditure.
Also, researching about how apps can become viral, out of the box ideas for app promotion and focussing on the user experience while designing your app can help you launch a successful app.
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