You have got a kickass idea. There is fire in the belly and passion towards mission. Now, you just want to get off on the right foot for your business plan. A plan that will put you on course and help you to ace in the market race. Possible, is it? Read on-
Building an app requires a vision so that you can strategize and collaborate with the right people who can contribute in the making of a killer product. The challenge is much like raising a startup as you need to look into various areas like product development, design marketing, human resources, company incorporation, finances etc. The task requires you to don the hat of a generalist and not a specialist as many fields have to be managed simultaneously. As your business plan wheels ahead, various mistakes will be encountered, which are, in fact, part and parcel of every business.
But some mistakes are avoidable if proper planning is done and rational decisions are taken. It is a common tendency of any entrepreneur to get carried away with the product, in the due course of its formulation, which can adversely affect the business. Balance is the key here. Even if you don’t possess technical skills, but have brilliant strategies in store, a successful scalable app is surely your way. Yes, it is not difficult to build an app empire. Are you thinking of getting started? Let us give you some insights for your app business plan:-
1. Know Your Market
The most important thing is to get the feel of the market. Your success is directly proportional to your understanding of the marketplace. Watch the App Store as then only you can follow the successful apps on the list. If you intend to supply great apps, you must become an app addict and know the knack of the business. Study the apps thoroughly. Become app crazy, fiddle with lots of apps by downloading and playing them. Believe it or not, but it is an investment that you are making as by analyzing these apps you can decode the success formula for your app.
You can also pick out the common traits and user preferences through this research. Get people involved as then it can become a demographic study for your project, which will in turn give you a fair idea of their response. How to keep track of the market? Well, you must assess Apple’s cheat sheet regularly. The App Store shows the list of top paid, top free and best selling apps (both paid and free) in real time. It also displays similar lists in individual app type. These charts are invaluable as they give the right picture of the market.
And what’s more; you can freely get the information at any time. Keep a tab on these charts and record the potential trends in a notebook so that you can gain from the reviews. Get your cues from the rise and fall in the charts.
Tracking the market will also keep you updated to the condition of influx of the same apps of your interest. You will get to know about super app designs, marketing, pricing models and of course, new app ideas. The research will answer various questions related to the ranks, user needs, people ratings, consistent use, competitive advantage, in-app purchases, advertisements etc.
You must figure out what people are actually interested in and the kind of apps they prefer to download. Don’t go behind your illusions and build an app that you think will be successful unless your app is backed by data and research. Once you feel you know the market enough, you must go ahead and explore some of the potential ideas to your benefit. Just remember; never rush through the research period as it is here you build the foundation of a successful app.
2. Behind The Hit Steps
Will you stand out in market? For that, you need to look at the Top Apps chart as it will reveal whether the hit apps contain the app of your preferred genre or category. If yes, there is a chance to excel. If no, you should keep your search on. Following the footsteps of successful apps can be a great move as there is already some popularity in the same type and a prevalent customer base.
You don’t have to guess as to which idea will click. People are generally so driven with their ideas that they forget to consider the market ladder. The idea must be embraced by the market not the individual alone. Forget this rule and you are bound to make major errors. Originality is not the rule of thumb; you must go for the tried-and-tested. Learn from the market. Don’t make the same mistakes again and again and fall behind in the app game.
Think of it like this. Your app idea need not be new and exclusive. It should come as an inspiration with added innovation. Even if not original, create an app that has out of the world user experience. Take an existing app, but improvise it and come out with a better version of the concept. Add on to the variety and functionality. This will definitely bring you to the number one spot in the list.
3. Get Clear With UI/UX
Now is the time to make something concrete out of your ideas. To express your idea, you must draw it out on a piece of paper. Although the lines can come out to be mere scribbles, still it can convey what is on your mind. Some people use digital platform like Photoshop or Balsamiq to express. Whatever method suits you, and whatever way gives the programmers the points they need, you can go ahead with it.
The wireframes are just rough drawings, but are undoubtedly very useful in getting the final product. Remember to give references of some existing apps to your programmers as it can put a clear picture of your requirement before them. You can innovate from the screenshots, add on to the functionality and emulate the components, which can give an edge to your app.
If you have clarity of your project, there are chances of less problems and misunderstandings as the drawings will explain what your requirement exactly is. The aim is to convey the appearance of the app, the placement of the features and the operation of the buttons once pressed. This way the programmer will get an idea of your vision and will also get a blueprint for designing. Avoid confusion and be certain with your plan. Don’t forgo details, even if they seem obvious by all means, sometimes things can be missed in translation. You should be clear with every part of your app and its relevant functions.
If there is some ambiguity, think through. Finalize your design before you proceed with coding. Of course, you might want additions after the test run of the initial versions, but if you go for major changes at a later stage when a lot of work has been done, it can annoy your programmer. He won’t take the decision to make big changes well. Thus, it is important to go through all the aspects of design carefully before you give your approval for coding. Remember, new features can be built-in in future updates, as updates are always significant for success.
Leave aside perfection, getting a place in app store is more important as that is when your ideas get recognition. Note: never ever compromise on the graphics of the app as it plays a crucial role in the performance of UI and UX. Work on making your designs intuitive so that the customers can start using the app right away without needing many explanations. Follow and design like Apple; simple, sleek and modern.
4. Programmer In Charge
Always hire a professional programmer for coding. There is nothing wrong in taking the task on your shoulders, but as you explore the arena it will take too long for you to get the work done and there are chances that you might get stuck. Eventually, such an approach will be unsustainable, when you are faced with the target of developing several apps at one time and also, updating the existing apps. Now, the goal is to get the most out of your time and effort, so it is advisable to have professional programmers on board.
They can quicken the process and create scalable apps worth the effort. Hiring the first programmer can be a challenge, but don’t compromise on your options. There is a high level of dependence involved as the programmer will be right-hand man of your team. Great hires are an absolute necessity even if they take lot of time as working with the right person will avoid unnecessary delays, costs and frustration in the future. Team up with efficient programmers so that adding talent to your team proves the best decision for your business plan.
5. The NDA Guard
It is your right to protect your ideas, source code and any other intellectual property. Apps are like assets which will build your business, so it is essential that programmers keep the concept to themselves and thereby sign an NDA at the time of hiring. Once the NDA has been signed, you can discuss your idea and designs with your programmer. At this stage, you should be sure of their capabilities to handle the app. Your programmer should be confident of his skills and make the best of expertise.
Establish milestones and timelines at that the time of working so that a proper schedule is drawn with everybody’s consent. Remember to periodically review their work from start to finish. It is normal to have multiple iterations during design and development; keep a check-in session on regular basis.
6. Lock The Code
Judge your programmer’s graphics capabilities, implementation speed and overall work pattern and increase the workload accordingly. Don’t jump on to complete the entire project. If they do not match your expectations in work, consider replacing them as you cannot let you project suffer because of their liberal approaches. The coding phase involves creating an icon, a Hello, World! App to give you an idea of product delivery and finally the test version of your app called ad hoc so that you can ideally test the dummy on the phone.
7. App Vs Web
Do not generalize the use of mobile web to that of mobile app. Mobile web falls in the functional zone whereas mobile app imparts awesome user experience. Mobile apps have unmatched functionality and speed, which cannot be compared with mobile web. Even the place of search is different, mobile website is found on Google and other search engines whilst app exists in the field of operating system like iOS, android etc.
People surf the web for instant information, but with app the purpose doesn’t end the visit; they are more likely to visit it again. If you have conceived an idea revolving around mobile app, do not settle in for website as that will mislead you with the whole data usage.
8. The Core Rule
While establishing a mobile-app startup, go through the lean route that focuses on developing the core features, further, helpful in value offering. Build the features that you cannot do without and are an absolute must for the app. Leave the fancy attributes aside; features that are just add-ons not indispensable. Pay extra attention to the features that define your mobile app. Having your app loaded with features doesn’t guarantee success.
A user is mainly concerned with feature that sorts his or her problem, not the decorative ones that beautify the app. Your core feature must fulfill all the requirements of the user and then should come the additional features that make your app smoother to use.
9. Cross-Platform Limits
Entrepreneurs use shortcuts to create apps through cross-platform tools. Although there is no problem in using these, but looking towards practicality such technologies are of no use. No doubt, you get multiple platforms all at the same time, but what you are missing out here is user experience. Making app for one platform from the ground level using the tools is different than using third party tools as a shortcut. This will make you rely too much on the developers to advance their tools so that they can pace up with operating system upgrades.
10. Tab The Financials
A business plan requires vigilant management of the finances. The numbers outline your budget. Be it the profit and loss statement or the cash flow statement, the figures will reveal the money coming in , outline the sales proceeds and even the other sources of income present.
Great apps are the products of great vision. To make a business plan excel, you must have a team that marches in the same direction. Know the pain points of your customers so that you can cash on them well. Be fully aware of the competitors in the space you are about to occupy. Focus on the core competencies and strengths of your workforce and the business will definitely fruition great heights.