App start ups are one of the most trending in the tech circles now a days and emerged as one of the most lucrative destination for angel investors. There is a lot of money flowing into apps but the needle in the haystack condition is unavoidable for any app startup. The leading app stores are overcrowded and to build a successful app startup these days, a potential app idea governed by an effective strategy is important. Overall, you could either find new markets or occupy an existing market created by another application. While the former calls for an out of the box idea, the latter one can be simple rehash of a successful app. The basal strategic aspects of an app startup are in turn controlled by operational and executional aspects at the microscopic levels such as the choice between building with native vs. web based tools, app design, marketing and various other aspects. Let us briefly go through a brief strategic approach to find a successful app startup. What are the factors that can affirm the potential of your app idea?
The app idea is the first thing that makes or breaks your app start up. Once you have come up with an idea you will have to validate it to estimate its potential. Validating an app idea is important to ensure the longevity and challenges to build an app startup. Overall, you need to see whether:
- Your idea already exists
- It solves a problem which has not yet been solved by other apps
Potential of The Idea:
Estimating the potential of the idea is extremely important. Generally potential of an app idea can be derived from three basic factors-
- Number of users it can attract-
- Total time of usage/day or engagement
User volume of the app is one of the major aspect to determine the success of the app. A large user base is always favorable however it should also be complemented by substantial app engagement. More user time on the app is always favoured and this is where segmentation of the userbase comes into picture. More specialized app that are tailored for specific subsets of users have better engagement. In fact there is always a tradeoff between engagement and user base and you would also come across if you make your own app.
What to do? With respect to our experience, we must say that a user base of 1000 with 5 mins/day is better than 5000 with less than 1 min of engagement. More engagement with a substantial user base can drive significant revenues. Hence, user engagement should be the core potential of the idea.
When you decide to start your own app business, there will be various barriers to entry. Some of these are generic while some may due to the existing competition.
Capital investment: Based on the app idea, your capital investment might fluctuate. While a simple game app can get over after you pay the developers, many apps would need high configuration cloud servers to sustain. This is going to increase your risks in case of a failure.
Competition in the market: If your app has similar features with an existing app, then you would have to put differentiators. Launching the app with similar feature might let to its doom.
App discovery: In the middle of 1m apps it is always challenging to get your app found. Although you can always make an effective app marketing plan, this is one of the biggest entry barriers for app startups for capital investment.
What to do? Entry barriers can be examined and overcome with a proper execution of your app idea. If required, you can also tweak your idea and make changes in your app idea. Let us see how one can execute the application while overcoming the entry barriers.
Decide between Cross platform and native development: If you are going ahead with the app idea choose between native development vs Cross platform. Go for native if the app draws engagement from performance. Go for cross platform if the target audience is huge, the app does not require the finesse of native tools and you want to save costs.
Put the best while designing your app:
- Make a professional design with minimal flaws. Compare with the best in competition
- Emphasis is on for big buttons and icons. Create these with respect to the screen size
- Focus on gesture based control rather than tap based buttons
- Create UIs with varied resolution for android and test them with other assets
- Everything should be done to make the functionalities simpler
Marketing your app:
- Define the target audience and set your app according to that
- Search for the trends and name your app properly to increase the chances of discovery
- Make an app website to drive traffic
- Make a video for the app page and app website
- Try and post your app in relevant forum discussions by highlighting its use and necessity
These points sum up the major execution steps that your app start up would require.
Sustenance and growth:
The next thing is making money from the application and stepping towards a self sustaining business model for your application. Your app business should be able to generate revenues after a specified period of time. Do your breakeven analysis and set up your app monetization plan.
- Choose one platform(iOS or android) in the beginning and then go for the other
- Make an android app if you are going for a mass driven market.
- Choose in-app ads of various types to monetize a normal application. Games provide more opportunities through ads. Although ads are effective but do not expect much revenues from ads alone
- Plan in-app purchase with respect to the attributes of the app. In games coins, special powers, cars, etc are sold through in app purchases. Identify the major elements in your app that people choose to buy.
- Android apps have lower monetization rates than iOS users, however android is huge and register many downloads leading to an increased chance of app discovery. Infact flappy bird became viral due to android
App monetization is essential and has many pathways. However, once your app startup has accumulated a critical mass of users, then it tends to become self sustaining. After you are certain about monetization, your focus shifts towards retaining the existing user base, creating entry barriers for competition and most importantly CAPITAL.
Capital Investment: Investment in the next big thing that can leave you dry. However, if you are determined to make your app startup a success you can overcome the hurdle. You can go for-
1. Owner’s Capital- It is recommended only when you tend to test the waters and make an app that calls for one time investment. If you are not a rich boy and say you want to make something like Vine, then understand the risk before putting your own money. To run a video based app, you would need frequent bug fixing and maintenance. This might go beyond your reach and outright be risky.
2. Angel investors- If your app ideas has value and the potential to cater to the mass, you might attract investors. However, it is necessary that you have a clear understanding of the business model you are going to propose and its anticipated profitability. You can attract ‘n’ numbers of investors for your app. Here is the list of some of the most prominent American investors.
3. Crowdfunding your app- There are many websites that offer crowdfunding for mobile app startups. You can either make the app with your own capital and then go for crowdfunding your application. Crowdfunding is based on the idea of collecting small sums of money from people and then give them a specific return. Here are some of the prominent companies offering crowdfunding for app:
All these entities have their own range of funding and might fund less than their cap depending on their understanding of the potential of your idea.
The Future and Vision:
While many have a vision right from the inception for their app startup , others tend to germinate it in after deployment and subsequent reiterations that follows. You can really grow your app startup to a full scale and prominent business entity by carefully planning your steps into future. A general trend is to update your app with advanced features while keeping the basic utility of the app intact.
Look at the major messenger apps, they have grown on to become important entities and selling for billions. The only thing that they did is to follow their vision and stick to it. Even while updating or adding features to their apps, it all centered around their core vision. Do you have an exciting app idea that you thing can be turned into a flourishing app business? If yes, go ahead building it or discuss it with us to get over any ambiguity holding you down.