Over the past decade, app development has become one of the most lucrative business models on earth. There are good reasons for this, but you shouldn’t be mistaken in thinking building an app is a one-way ticket to financial success.
In reality, like all business models and industries, building an app takes extensive preparation. It is not good enough to simply build a cheap app and list it online.
For instance, you will need to sink significant investment into the company behind your app. While it may be possible to develop your app cheaply, there are a whole host of other costs to be aware of.
These costs include hiring a dedicated marketing team, employing full-time staff to work on bug-fixes and development, a management structure to cope with your growing business, and an administration team able to process all the paperwork.
These added considerations should not be viewed as reasons not to develop an app, only that they are unavoidable factors in the success or failure of your app business.
In actuality, by having this preparation in place, you will put yourself ahead of less organized competitors and allow you to scale your business faster.
This is what you need to know before building your own app:
You need to protect yourself and your users from phishing scams
One of the sternest challenges you will face when you build your own app is protecting both it and your company from numerous malware and phishing attacks.
Phishing attacks traditionally work by using email to target individuals in order to extract private information from them. This information could be bank details, private data stored on the computer, or even the victim’s personal identity.
Essentially, phishing scammers pose as ‘safe’ companies or individuals, such as banks, governments, or businesses. Once their corrupted links are clicked, the scammers can infiltrate the victim’s device using malware or even ransomware.
However, while phishing attacks are most notorious on email servers, they are increasingly afflicting apps. These apps include social media messaging apps, dating apps, travel apps, and even productivity apps.
When you build your own app, it is vital that you understand the seriousness of phishing scams and how you can prevent your app and your company itself from being targeted. Click here to find out more.
Have a specific niche or industry in mind
One of the most crucial aspects you must consider before building your own app is to decide which niche or industry you want it to work in.
For example, you may want to provide a financial service for students or a means for drivers to check what the traffic is like before they set off in a particular town.
The trick to finding a particular industry is to be as specific as possible. The examples listed above demonstrate this. Merely aiming to create a finance app is too vague. You want to pinpoint the exact niche that you believe you can fill. This is the essence of entrepreneurship and is particularly important in the world of app building because there are countless thousands of apps vying for the same market share.
The more specific you can be, the more likely your app will be of succeeding.
What problems does it solve?
Following on from the previous point, finding a specific problem your app can solve is your best chance of finding a gap in the market.
Solving problems is exactly what makes monopolizing businesses so successful. This is what differentiates market leaders from market followers. The leaders will always find new problems to solve.
If you are unsure of which direction to take your app within a certain industry, study the existing apps and services available until you find a blind spot in the market. It doesn’t matter if this gap is small – in fact, it is often these smaller niches that offer the best potential for success because once you’ve set up camp, there is little space for your competitors to copy you.
When you’ve found a problem enough people need solving, you stand a far better chance of making your app a success.
Don’t build it before you find a means of monetizing it
While solving problems is what business is all about – and can be incredibly rewarding – it doesn’t guarantee financial success. There are many niches that have been filled, only for the companies to go out of business because they couldn’t find a way of monetizing their product.
Take this as a lesson to learn from. Don’t invest money into building your app and business infrastructure before you find a means of monetizing your app.
This could mean charging money for the app itself or providing a number of in-app purchase options. There is no right or wrong way to monetize; it depends on the type of service you offer and the industry you are in.
Consider how you are going to market your app
A crucial factor to consider before you build your own app is how you are going to market it. While finding a specific niche and monetizing your app are both vital, you can’t make any money unless you attract sufficient customers.
While there is no set method to marketing an app – it depends on your industry and business – consider how much it is going to cost to get your app in front of your target audience before you start building the app.
There are a number of cost-effective marketing techniques, including celebrity endorsement and featuring on industry-specific podcasts and television shows, but you can just as easily lose significant amounts of money using ill-thought-out paid ads or poor landing page copy.
How sustainable is your business model?
Another important question to consider is how sustainable your business model is over an extended period of time. While you may be able to develop, market, and manage your app on your own for a short while, it will likely cause you to burn out and leave your service in tatters.
This is crucial because you must factor in the costs of expansion. If you can only just afford to run the whole business by yourself, you are leaving your business vulnerable to the first financial speed bump that comes along.
Instead, analyze where you think the business will go over the course of one year, five years, and beyond. If it requires significant expansion to deal with app updates and any related services you offer, you must factor it into your initial business model.
Don’t jump into app development just because it’s a fashionable business model
The final factor to consider is whether you are simply building an app because it sounds like a lucrative business model. It is human nature to want to look for the easiest option, but while certain apps can be wildly successful, there are a thousand more that collapse before they have even gone live.
This should not put you off; only remind you of the challenges you’ll face starting your business. Jumping on the bandwagon only ensures failure because you would not have built your app for the right reasons. While every entrepreneur wants to achieve financial success, it should not be your primary motivation. Instead, aim to solve a genuine problem in a particular market, and you put yourself in the best position possible for sustained success.