1. Start with the problem
If you’re a business with a need for a good native mobile experience, then this is the perfect problem to solve with an app. But often a business just needs a good responsive or mobile website. If users only need your business a few times a year, then your app isn’t going to get used. It maybe downloaded and used once. But people only regularly use a handful of apps, the rest just get forgotten about. Properly understanding the problem your users have is the first step, the next is working out how to fix it.
2. Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything
Camera+ existed before Instagram. MySpace existed before Facebook. Most new tech juggernauts are actually an improvement on something that exists – just better executed. So tear up your NDA, get feedback from anyone who’ll listen, build, release and iterate quickly. Because whatever your idea is, it’s worthless until executed well. And to execute a mobile app well you only need two things: an excellent UX (user experience) and quality development. An excellent UX relies on good mobile UX designers designing for users, and testing with users. Quality development relies, unsurprisingly, on quality developers.
3. Apps cost more that you think
Apps cost more than web development. Why? Because they require more custom development. App development is so young that it hasn’t had the time to build the easier development frameworks that support a lot of modern web development. Apps require a lot of custom coding, and there’s a smaller pool of experienced app developers to do it. Starting with an app template is a great idea to reduce the amount of custom development required.
4. Your marketing plan is as important as your app
Be prepared to spend that same amount of money you spent on development on marketing. You need to invest in your marketing and PR, as the app store is a very crowded place – there are now more than a million apps in each of the iTunes app store and Google Play store. So you can’t just rely on making a cool app, you need to work on discovery. Have a clear, targeted user base in mind, and work out how to reach them before you have even launched. The other side of marketing is building a killer product (obviously) that people want to share. So build in features that allow easy sharing from within the app too, like ‘post to social networks’.