By Ravin Lad
Two things that have defined this decade in phenomenal ways are apps and startups. So much so that the two have become synonymous with each other. However, while every startup strives to have an app of its own, developing an app is a fairly big undertaking and hence needs a good deal of thought.
There’s a massive investment of time, money and resources and also, a sub-par product can affect your business more negatively than positively. So if you are a startup considering app development, here are some of the questions that will help you set clear goals and make the right decisions.
1. Why Are You Doing This?
Quite simple, you think. But if you get down to really answering the why, you’ll see how much this little question matters. Are you hoping to create an app that will be a direct source of revenue, or is your app focused on accentuating your customer experience? Is the app meant to bolster your branding strategy? Or are you doing this just because everyone else is?
For an app to work — and for it to be worth all your work — it must hold real potential. This means that it must solve a real problem that your customers are facing. Make sure you’ve done your research and know the pain points that you want to ease with your app. Ask yourself if the solutions you are offering already exist. Even if they do, there still may be a space for you. Just find a way to solve them faster and easier. Whatever you do, make sure you have something unique and valuable to offer. Only then should you invest yourself into building an app.
2. Where’s the Money?
So now that you know where to put your money, it’s time to get thinking about where to get your money. Once you figure out how much money, you need to weigh your funding options to see what works best for you. Fortunately, lack of funding options isn’t as much of a problem as is finding the right funding options. As Martin Zwilling, CEO of Startup Professionals says:
There is money out there, of course — there always is — but you have to know where to find it. You also need a sense of the strings that come with each flavor of capital.”
If you’ve successfully managed to formulate a plan for a low-cost MVP (minimum viable product) that can be launched with minimum expense and let you make updates as you go, you can try to get away with bootstrapping or getting your friends and family to chip in. This way, you aren’t involving any third party investors, allowing you complete control over your product.
If you need more money than you can pool, do an extensive research on all other options that include but are not limited to bank loans, small business grants, angel investors, venture capital, and partnerships. There are also other options like crowdfunding, committing to a major customer and even bartering your talent or services for utility purposes such as office space and equipment. And I just have to say this again — explore every option. Don’t dismiss anything away without considering it.
3. How to Build the App?
And now we’re getting technical. How are you going to build the app? Can you pull off in-house development? This is possible if you are a tech startup or already have highly skilled and experienced developers as your employees. Even so, you must consider that designing, developing, securing and maintenance of a full-fledged business app is no cakewalk. Can you set aside a dedicated team to build, update and maintain the app full time?
Alternatively, you could hire an app development team. This is where the delicate work begins. You will need to hire an app development company that is well stocked with designers, developers and project managers who have adequate experience of building apps in your line of business. At the same time, you need a reasonable price that your startup can afford.
There’s another option that’s gaining popularity — you can use a zero-code app template that will quickly build an app for you using a template. This is a largely faster and cheaper option, but this might not cut it if you are looking for highly customized and advanced app functionality. Choose wisely.
4. How Will You Monetize Your App?
And now for the fun part — how will you bring in the money? In the end, business is always about making a profit. For all your hard work to pay off, you need to monetize your app. There are multiple ways an app can make money, but the monetization strategies you use must align with your business model and values. You could make a paid app, so every download will earn money. But in the age of abundantly available free apps, a paywall could hurt your download numbers.
Alternatively, you could make money from ad revenue by placing ads in your app. Or you could also feature in-app purchases or create premium features. So the users can use a free area of your app, but specific features will only be accessible if they pay. Also, more than in-app purchases or paid downloads, which are all one time revenues, you can consider adopting the subscription model that is becoming vastly popular now. This way, you can get users pay you a fixed amount each month to continue your services.
Whatever monetization strategy you choose, the only real value will make the strategy a success. So make sure you create a product users will be willing to shell out money for and then, get ready to rake in the profits.
While there are at least a few hundred thousand questions running through your head at all times when you are running a startup, these four questions above sum up some of the biggest and most fundamental aspects of creating an app for your startup. Make sure you take the time to carefully observe each of these and make sound decisions that will bring you the success you deserve.