It has been established many a times that in this competitive age of economics and highly competitive market, a business, even the startups profit in a big way from building a mobile app for business. However, the process of getting the app does come with its challenges and hurdles. A well designed is going to boost your sale, expand your user group and customers, make you visible where it matters, and do so much more. But it is important that you understand that not everyone or every business can simply jump into app development at the drop of a hat. There is a strong need to sit down and figure out whether this is the right time to get your app made, given the investment and time commitment that it is going to require.
Does your startup need an app?
This is one of the most important questions and the first thought that you must pay attention to. The question does not really have a one size fits all kind of an answer and deserves a thorough consideration. One of the most important factors in this decision is the stage that your business is at. There is a certain amount of investment that making an app involves, and you would need to take the decision based on the kind of money you have to spare and the kind of returns you are going to get from this app.
Your business is different from any other business and you have to measure out all the parameters before delving into app development. This decision must not be taken simply as a fad or “everyone’s doing it” kind of an attitude.
Question you must ask before building an app
So how do you know that you and your startup is ready for getting an app? Simple – ask some meaningful questions and answer them before you do anything else! However, in this simple endeavor, one hiccup that people seem to confront is not being able to ask the right questions. Knowing what to ask is tough and if you do not ask the right questions, then you might miss out on some important details.
Penguin Apps Builder is here to rescue you from this conundrum and has put together a list of questions that you must answer before getting started with building your own app.
#1 Why are you building an app?
If you are a keen entrepreneur, then you are sure not to go about taking decisions simply because you want to, or on some strange whim. Hence when you are thinking about building an app for your business, it is obvious that there is more to it than just that you want to build an app. You certainly have a purpose or objective of building a mobile app for your business. What is it that is motivating you to build your app? The two most obvious things are money and fame, but there has to be something more than that to it. You must have a clear vison and mission that you want to accomplish through your app and have a burning passion in you to make sure that the app finally accomplishes it. The app should clearly present some kind of a solution to a problem faced by the target audience.
#2 Have You Done A Comprehensive Market/User/Competitor Study?
This is a standard question any business owner or entrepreneur needs to answer for every product or service they decide to launch. Long before the actual process of developing an app, it is important that you get into the research mode and study the market so that you can understand whether the problem that you are planning to solve with your app, really is a problem for a good number of people. A deep analysis will let you better predict how your app is going to be received in the market. Take a look around in the market and identify the competitors. Study them extensively so that you know that your app can either provide unique solutions to the problems that they are solving or do what they are doing – but do it better! Additionally, studying the competitor helps you get a clear idea about what they are doing right so that you can emulate it, and what they are doing wrong, so that you can avoid those mistakes. The next research that you need to get into is the target user study. You are building an app for certain users who would decide whether or not your app is worth buying, or even installing on their devices for free. It is important that you understand their expectations from an app like yours so that you can develop an app that they’d covet. Also, one more aspect that should be considered is all the stakeholders and the app’s relevance or context for them. There might be some who would need to be convinced about the significance and benefits of the app for the business and that too would take some research on your part.
#3 How Much Is It Going To Cost You?
This would be a basic question that any entrepreneur would be concerned about. Building an app like everything else in your business costs some money. It is important that you understand that there is no single figure that would be the holy grail for all startups. Each app is different (hopefully yours too) hence, each would have a different price tag on it. The factors that impact the cost of building your app are many. Each app has different feature requirements, the storage requirements are different too, the complexity of the app varies, and so does the time taken to build it. Certain apps might need integration with other components which again have an impact on the final cost of the app. The platforms that you are building your app for, whether you are launching on a single platform or multiple ones, the number of devices that you would have to account for, are a few more factors that would have an impact on the cost. For a startup that is bubbling with brilliant ideas, building an amazing app might easily involve an investment in six figures. When you are approaching app developers they would first determine the key considerations that would have an impact on the app costs and then through a detailed analysis prepare a budget for the app. Another proponent in determining the cost of building an app is the developer that you choose to get the job done. Choosing the largest or the most renowned app builder would entail a high investment at your end. If, however you choose a freelancer then the costs would definitely be a lot lower. Another way to cut budgets is by opting for off-shore development.
#4 How Do You Plan To Protect Your App Idea?
So you have an awesome idea for an app, great! All you have to do now is getting it developed from a good developer or a freelancer. But wait, you might have this concern about your brilliant app idea being stolen before you can launch your app. One of the most basic things that strikes most entrepreneurs here is signing an NDA with the developers and it might be a good idea for some people. However, before you begin drafting your NDA, it is important that you understand the basic rules and requirements in order to sign an NDA or a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
When you go out and meet relevant stakeholders, your fear for your idea being lifted, and the other party’s hesitation about signing an NDA this early might prevent you from having a relevant and valuable discussion with those, who can actually help you out with the actual development of your app. One way t o take care of this issue is to postpone the actual signing of an NDA and only share the non-proprietary information about the app idea. Details about your app like general focus of the app, comparisons with the competing apps, platforms that you are looking forward to launch your app on, a tentative timeline, and an approximation of the total budget.
#5 How Do You Plan To Raise Money For Your App?
Most of the business ventures, especially the startups rely on a variety of investors for the capital needed for the different aspects of the business. Now that you have a clear idea about your budget or the cost of building your business app, it is time you stepped out and approached the right kind of investors for it. However, you can’t simply walk willy-nilly into someone’s office with half baked information about your app and expect them to willingly part from the money in their banks. The first thing to do is prepare a killer pitch, as it is the only way you are going to pique the curiosity of your investors. Apart from this it would certainly help if you already had some promotional and marketing material in your hands including a logo, an app landing page, a company email address (not the one on Gmail or Yahoo!) and anything else that you can think of to help them understand your credibility.
#6 Which Platform Would You Be Building Your App For?
The answer to this question depends again on the objective and type of your mobile app. You might want to go for an Android app if your audience or the target user consists largely of Android users, or if your app needs features that are not supported by iOS.
However, if your app is customer oriented, going with an iOS app is a better idea. It is due to the simple reason that iOS users match the key demographics that are better suited for early stage ventures particularly. In addition to this the iOS users tend to spend longer hours interacting with the app and are more likely to stay engaged with the app for longer. Apart from this, it has been established that the revenue earned from iOS apps is a lot more than the revenue earned through an android app. The iOS apps are a lot easier to build and are built a lot faster too, which means that the total cost of the project is bound to be lower. It is important that you conduct research at your own level to figure out which platform makes more sense for you.
#7 How Would The Users Interact With Your App?
The features that you incorporate in your app and the User Experience & User Interface of your app would decide the way your users would be interacting with your app. If you have in-app payments or purchases incorporated within your app, your users would need to be assured about the safety of their credit card information or any other details a lot more than they would with anything else. Would your app require or allow the users to upload any content including images or videos, would it have share feature for the users to share the content on your website, and many such factors. The way your users would interact with the app, and the functions that the app would perform for them must be considered beforehand, so that related features may be planned at the initial stage only.
#8 Do You Already Have A Website?
More often than not app is the second digital leap that an entrepreneur would take, and you too probably have a website in place already. The website typically has a lot of content, information about you and a whole lot of functionality attached to it. Hence, when you plan on building an app too, it is important that you spare a thought about the integration of the website into your app. There might be some elements on your website that you would need to stream into or sync with the app or vice versa. Also, it is important that the experience of using the website and the app is comparable yet unique in their own way. The mobile app should have an edge over the website in some aspects and the website too should have something extra when compared to the mobile app. This ensures maximum number of visitors to use both, the website and the app.
#9 Do You Have A Firm Timeline In Place?
It is important to begin with a firm timeline, but make sure that the timeline you have in front of you is a realistic one. Having too stringent, or too relaxed a timeline can spell different kinds of disasters for you! In general, to make a high quality native mobile app might take anywhere between 4 to 6 months to build. This, however does not include the development time that is needed. The whole process to build an app would include a series of steps including strategic planning, design, user experience, QA, submitting the app to the app store and more. Each of this stage has a lot of importance attached to it, when you are planning to build an exemplary app. The actual time taken in development will depend on the experience, expertise, and chosen path of the team of developers that you have hired for the job. When you have an established app development team on your side, you might be spending more to start with, but they would save you a whole lot of money in terms of the time taken.
#10 How Do You Think You Can Prevent Your App From Failing?
It takes a lot to build a good app, even after you have taken care of all the external factors including garnering funds for your app and finding the right team of app developers. It is quite possible that it is finally you who ends up standing in the way of the success of your app. It is easy to forget at times that your app is not just a mere app. It is in fact a business, which requires a lot more holistic approach to address all the typical factors pertaining to any other business including marketing, customer care, and analytics. One more way that you may destroy the chances of your app doing well, is to completely forget about the user. You, as a business owner might be too hung up on certain features that might not be of any significance to the end user.
When you, as an entrepreneur or a startup owner pay enough attention while answering these questions, you set your app up for a great future, but failing to do so would only take the graph of progress downwards. These however, are only the questions you would need to answer before the process and you would encounter many more issues when you get into the process of building the app. But as they say, well begun is half done!