Whether you have a successful web design business and wanting to expand into mobile app development or are an entrepreneur who can see a profitable opportunity, starting an app development company still requires a lot of planning and implementation of the right strategies in order to be successful.
Before you commence advertising your app development company there are a few things you need to understand about the marketplace so that your business is setup to succeed, right from the start.
Firstly, you need to decide if you are going to run an open or closed shop. A closed-shop means that you will only work on projects conceived in-house or with selected partners. Most closed-shop app developers have a reasonable amount of seed funding to allow enough time to get their first apps into the marketplace. An open-shop means that you are open and accepting jobs from individuals or businesses who are willing to pay your company to design and develop a mobile application for them.
This article mostly focuses on strategies for starting an open-shop app development company that will work with individuals, groups or businesses to develop mobile applications under a fee-for-service model using in-house or outsourced app developers.
Once you have decided what type of company you are going to start, you need to consider what type of mobile apps you are going to develop and how you are going to generate new business opportunities for your company.
One of the first decisions that needs to be made is determine how you will provide the services to design the functional specifications for the app and subsequently develop the concept into working mobile application.
Hiring In House App Developers – It is certainly an option to hire your own team of in-house developers however you need to be sure that the people you hire have the right skills and the ability to conceive, design and provide quotes for apps to ensure that each project can be completed on-budget otherwise you risk running your business at a loss.
Re-Training Or Up-Skilling Existing Staff – If you have an existing business and are looking to add app development competencies into your business model, one of the ways this can be achieved is to re-train or up-skill existing staff members who may have some of the primary skills required to succeed in a role as an app designer or developer.
Using Outsourced App Developers – Outsourcing your app development services can be an effective way to commence business as an app development company and only has a minimal risk once you have found a reputable app development partner to work with.
One of the most important things that you can do as an app developer, irrespective of which of the previous models you use, is to ensure that you have a detailed functional specification agreed and signed-off by the client before you proceed with development of any project. This will reduce any confusion and give you a clear reference as to how the app is to look, work and function.
Another important decision, and one that probably needs to be made in line with options above, is what ‘platforms’ you are going to develop apps for.
When we talk about ‘platforms’ in this instance we are referring to both the operating system (e.g. Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry) and also the device form factor (e.g. mobile phone, tablet etc).
Your final consideration, and, again, one that probably needs to be made in line with options above, is what ‘type’ of apps you are going to develop.
When we talk about ‘type of app’ in this instance we are referring to categories like games, utilities, business apps etc. Within each category you even still have a sliding scale of complexity wherein you could have a very simple game like a basic card flipping app through to something extremely complex like Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds that not only have very high levels of game play and user engagement, they also include cutting edge graphics that enhance the user experience.
Furthermore, if you are considering developing apps for businesses then you could have something simple for the local restaurant through to complex business applications for major companies that are deployed across private networks using mobile device management software (MDM) and never appear in the public app stores.
It is the combination of these three factors, the type of apps you will develop, the platforms you will develop for and how you will provide the resources for the design and development of the mobile apps requested by your prospective clients that will form foundation for your app development business strategy.
Once you have developed the core strategic direction for your app development business there are a few other elements to the industry that you also need to understand.
App Marketing – If you are going to be developing apps that are being submitted to a public app store such as the Apple iTunes App Store or the Google PlayStore for Android then you need to understand how to optimise the sales page for your app and also how to generate the interest of prospective customers. App marketing is an ever-changing art and as with many elements of this business, you have the opportunity to either perform these tasks in-house or outsource them to an expert app marketing company.
App Monetisation -There are a variety of ways to monetise a mobile app other than the up-front selling price and you need to be able to provide advice on effective app monetisation strategies to your clients if you are going to be developing apps that will be submitted to a public app store. In addition, the ongoing acceptance and use of geo-location functionality with in apps has driven a variety a new app monetisation strategies designed to drive customers into physical bricks and mortar stores.
Lead Generation For Your App Development Company – If you are going to start an app development business one of the first things you are going to need, is prospective customers who are willing to give you an opportunity to discuss their requirements and for you to provide a quote or estimate to them on the cost of developing their idea.
In order to be successful in winning your first app development project you need to be able to provide a competitive price and demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of the requirements.
Here are a couple of ways that you can generate new business for your app development company:
Build A Website – In this modern day, every business needs a website and this will most likely be your main avenue for generating enquiries. Your website should explain the services that you offer and how you can help clients to design a specification for their idea and have this specification turned into a mobile app. It is also important to make sure that your website is optimised for display on mobile devices because many people are looking for your business on their mobile phones and tablets.
Use Google Adwords – Paid advertising is a proven way to generate new opportunities for just about any business and there are a variety of low cost ways that you can use PPC advertising to generate leads for your business.
Approach Local Businesses – There are often many opportunities present even within your own community, consider how the local restaurant could use a mobile app to share the daily specials or take bookings. Perhaps the local hairdresser could send out special offers on slow days to ensure that the business is constantly running at a high customer turnover rate.
There are certainly a lot of elements that need to be considered when starting an app development business and this is really only scratching the surface when it comes to the nuances of each element discussed above.
It is possible to start a successful app development company and take a share of the abundant opportunity that exists within the mobile app development industry.
App Consultants are experienced in starting an app development business and our own business is a great example however we have now expanded the business much further than simply offering app development services.
If you would like to speak to us about how you can start your own app development company or how you can leverage your existing business (e.g. web design companies) to add app development capabilities to your company services.
There are a variety of ways to grow and scale an app development business with any reasonable amount of start-up capital and we are happy to talk to you about a solution to help you join this exciting market.
Our “App Development Start-Up” Consultancy packages start from $1975 for a 1-hour phone consultation to discuss your business plan and provide strategic advice on starting an app development company.
We can arrange full day sessions and training for your technical, sales or support staff if you are starting an in-house app development company and employing people within Australia and can also assist you with your recruitment requirements to help you hire a technical genius or a sales superstar.
Complete the contact form below to learn more about our App Development Business Start-up Services: