With more than a million apps available, the market is saturated, so how can app developers break through?
The advancement of mobile computing and rapid technology growth has helped spur a fresh round of dynamic entrepreneurship in the field of building apps. Currently, the app industry is significantly competitive, and consumers are more informed and fickle.
However, a successful app business can serve as a huge profit center. Globally, there are over ten thousand app developers working independently, as start-ups or well established organizations, all striving to come up with something new and unique.
Today, the competition to build a successful mobile application is definitely fierce. Even a superb idea, executed well, may not bring you financial success. Therefore, it is important to understand that success does not come by chance; it demands perseverance, confidence, and the belief to transform your app idea into reality.
When aspiring to turn a mobile application into a sustainable business, there is no secret formula that can set you for success. As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to deliver an improved experience across all aspects of the core building blocks of a mobile application.
So, here is a comprehensive guide to transform your mobile app idea into a successful and sustainable business:
1. Choose your mobile app platform wisely
When it comes to selling your app, there are three major stores – Apple App Store, Google Play, and Windows Store. Deciding on the right mobile app platform completely depends on your app monetization strategies, and whether you want to build a native app or cross-platform app.
Typically, the revenue generated from Apple App Store is higher than Google Play because Apple pays more to its top developers for building applications to be sold, and not for free. The latter, however, is the best option if you rely on app monetization through advertising. In fact, you may even earn more revenues through in-app advertisements than selling your application upfront. Windows Store is still in its nascent stage, but allows mobile applications to run on a PC, Smartphone and tablet simultaneously, which means more mediums and more downloads.
2. Lay out a realistic business plan
A business plan does not necessarily have to be overly imaginative or complex. It should be written thoughtfully and followed diligently. At the same time, it should be well thought out, easy to understand, and should describe how your business will operate, earn revenues, and grow.
3. Have a superb design for all your apps
Merely having a great app idea is not enough. It accounts for only 5 per cent of the process! The significance lies in transforming the idea into a superlative design. When we say, an app is designed for its audience, it means the design, look & feel, and usability resonates with the target audience it has been built for.
Your objective should be to minimize the learning curve for your app users as much as possible, and make navigation more seamless and intuitive. This phase of design is known as User Experience or UX. On the other hand, User Interface or UI design should follow deep understanding of your target audience, i.e. determining factors such as age, gender, geographical location, etc. Play with a myriad colours to create a superb and eye-catching product design.
Some key fundamentals of a great design are:
- Pixel perfect graphics
- Less is more
- Big fonts, big buttons
- Intuitive features and navigation
- Superlative icon design
Once you have a design, test it and make further iterations if required. Make sure you design for success for all your apps, because your business revenues do not depend on the success of just one app.
4. Reach and Marketability
Your app distribution strategy can either make or break success of your mobile application. Reaching out to your customers can be most challenging for an entrepreneur. For effective app marketing, there are multiple channels; however, the best way is to leverage every possible channel during the early stages of promotion to generate the best results. Design a strong marketing strategy that lays down clear objectives and achievements. Start with creating a compelling story about the mobile app that conveys its value proposition in the simplest possible manner.
5. Work upon building a team
You may start as an independent app developer, building four to five mobile apps annually, but to grow as a successful and well established app development company in the future, you may need to add more members to your team. This will not only reduce your burden and responsibilities, but will also give you ample time to focus on building your business, marketing, etcetera. Eventually, you may also hire an advisory who will give unbiased advice about your business. Remember, even your equity investors are a part of your business.
6. Manage your finance
A sound financial strategy, with budgeting, deadlines, and cost benefit analysis is most critical to the success of any business. There are many apps that are free to download, and generate revenues via in-app purchases and advertisements. Some developers provide a free version of the app initially, and then offer an upgrade to a feature-rich, premium version, which can be downloaded after purchasing.
It means how adaptive and flexible your business is to customer feedback, and how interested are you in iterating the product continuously and rendering an improved experience over time. Start with a narrow segment, and when you succeed with your apps, you can move on to broaden your reach.
Building a successful app business starts with a good idea, followed by a superb design, effective planning, budgeting, marketing, and support services. By learning from losers and winners in the field, beginners can achieve success in this fast competitive environment.
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