Mobile commerce and sales are growing so rapidly. More and more companies are realising the opportunity and jumping on the bandwagon to create mobile apps to leverage this chance. App appeal is very evident. The barrier to entry is very low, and the benefits are very high. With a relatively small investment of time and money, future entrepreneurs can turn brilliant app ideas into steady streams of income.
Did you know that mobile users are likely to reach 5.07 billion by 2019? Yes, that is right. That makes it the most opportune moment for you to develop your business app. However, before you get started, here are some factors you need to weigh in before you decide to develop your app.
What kind of app should you make?
The best way to decide on the app you would like to develop is to understand if a market need exists for it before you pour money into it. I would recommend all would-be app developers to go to their App Stores and check the top grossing, top free and top paid apps in their chosen niche. Download them and start using them.
Are people downloading the kind of apps you want to develop? If not, then trash that idea and move on to the next one. Never fall in love with an idea. Always focus on learning what can work best to help you achieve your purpose.
From my personal experience and through discussions with many developers over a period of time, I can say that the highest revenue generating apps are those that come equipped with games or the ones that are mostly gaming apps. Check out the current app trends, and see what inspiration you could take.
How much would it cost to make an app?
If you are new to the app business, then get ready for a little shock. Developing an app – a simple one without the fancy enterprise and different social networking features – will cost you $10,000 at the very minimum. An app which has more advanced coding will cost you closer to $20,000.
Unless you have some basic design skills, you will need the help of both a programmer and a designer. And developers, especially some good ones, do not come cheap. For those of you who are short of funds, try coming up with creative ways to generate cash for your app. (A friend of mine even collected money by renting his apartment through Airbnb).
Some people also try to offload some costs by offering developers equity so that they can get free apps (or close to free apps) out on the market. So either you should be able to sell your business app idea really well or else bring a celebrity or something unexpected to the table. You will definitely need some cash on hand to get started.
Additionally, make sure that the developer you choose for your app should not leave your project midway and must stick around as your new app updates hit the market. The best thing to do is to find a programmer and developer who are local to you or at the very least who can stay connected with you on Skype and Google Hangouts to discuss your app’s development on a weekly basis.
Another unavoidable cost: Apple charges $100 per year to hold onto a developer’s account – something that you will need to publish your app.
Should you make an iPhone app or an Android one, or both?
Since both iPhone/iPad and Android use different languages, people usually choose one of these in the beginning to keep costs down. If you want to make money faster, I suggest you pick iPhone/iPad first.
In my experience, it is harder to get more downloads and revenues through an Android app. But if you think Android suits your demographic market better, then, by all means, choose Android and then research how you can monetise your app intelligently.
What should you charge for your app?
Pricing generally works differently for various app categories. This frequently asked question sounds just like this one, “how much does a house cost?” The answer lies in the many variables including features, development processes and project type of each app.
Free is very popular for entertainment and games, especially on Android. Unless you are developing an app that is incredibly complex and deals with a particular niche, the best way to go about it is to create two versions; free and paid.
Give it some time to see which one works best in terms of making money. To start making money from a free app, I recommend using www.chartboost.com, www.playhaven.com and www.revmob.com ad networks in your app.
After some time, you can start experimenting with monetisation models such as in-app purchases. However, if you want to maximise your app downloads, make it free.
Understand the process
It is as important for a first time app developer to know the process of creating an app as it is to generate his first brilliant idea. The first thing you need to do is to discuss the scope of your project with your developer so as to understand the process.
The various parts of the process can include; project management, design (wireframing and visual), architecture, programming, testing, infrastructure and validation.
Once your application is developed, you must go through a rigorous testing and quality assurance phase to identify bugs and improve areas of user experience. For this reason, it is a good idea, first to build a beta version of your app and make this available to a select few. The feedback that you receive from this activity will be valuable and insightful, helping you to improve your app in order to direct the development process.
What kind of risk can you take when developing your app?
The best strategy is to create a portfolio of successful apps, instead of creating just one big one and pouring all your energy and resources into that. As you become more experienced, you will see that you can make a lot of money with multiple apps. Additionally, you will learn a lot from each app that you publish and therefore, the quality of your following apps will keep improving.
Keep your risks and development costs as low as possible. By learning the basic coding skills yourself, you can save a lot of money and even avoid bankruptcy. Aim to be profitable as fast as possible, ideally within two weeks, instead of waiting for six, 12 or 18 months to achieve the same results.
As soon as a small section, module or chapter of your app is ready, upload it to the App Store. Ship fast. At this point, feedback from your customers will prove to be invaluable. Validate your assumptions – pricing, app type, design theme, features and marketing materials – otherwise correct and adjust what is not working. The knowledge that you gain from the publishing process will allow you to make more solid, educated decisions in the future.
The above list is by no means exhaustive, but I have tried to provide all the major points that need to be kept in mind before you decide to develop an app. If there is something that you would like to share with us regarding your experience as app developers, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below.