As a start-up, a successful app is a great way to make a name for yourself quickly. But it is not quite as easy as all that. There are a number of obstacles that stand in the way of your success.
An Overcrowded Market
If you’ve ever been to an online app store then you’ll know that there is not just an app for everything, there are at least two or three. All of these apps are jockeying for position, desperately trying to be the one that breaks out and makes it big. So, one of the biggest challenges for any startup is to stand out.
Even if you create a great app that offers something a little different, getting the attention of the people that matter or distinguishing yourself from the thousands of other apps all making big promises is easier said than done. The best way to try and stand out is to try and think about the needs of the end user. Apps that serve a genuine purpose or that offer to solve problems are generally more successful.
To connect with the right people, you first need to identify who they are and then work out what language they best understand. Making your product appeal to those who might want it is half the battle.
Funding and Money Matters
Developing a usable app can cost anything from £1,500 to £150,000, with even more costs associated with marketing and branding. All of which means that start-ups can often find it prohibitively expensive to develop the app they have been planning. As we mentioned above, competition is rife in the world of apps, which means competition for the necessary funding is just as fierce.
You can appeal for direct finding from partners or go down the crowdfunding route. However you choose to do it, you need to realise that without the required funding in place, you might well come up short. And that means all of your hard work could be in vain. It’s also worth remembering that these things almost always cost more than you imagine.
The world of apps operates across a range of devices, each with a different set of rules and programming requirements. Your new app will have to work on smartphones as well as it does on tablets. It will need to work on Windows, Mac OS, Android and more. That’s because the more limited it is in its scope, the less chance of success you will have.
That means that you need to focus on responsive design, allowing your app to adjust to whatever platform it is being viewed on. You also need to make sure that your device is thoroughly tested and reaches the market in its best possible form. This will flag up any issues before your app hits the market.
When designing your app, it is sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees. You become so involved in it that it is hard to step back and see it objectively. This all too commonly results in navigability issues. Because you are so familiar with your app and how it works, you might not realise that it is difficult to use and that working out how to get to where you want to be is not easy or intuitive for first-time users.
So, you need to focus on making your app as clear and easy to use as possible. Include a tutorial to help users get to grips with how it works. And add features that improve the usability of the app, even if that means sacrificing some of the aesthetic quality. Look around at other apps, use them and try and get a feel for what makes an app easy to use and what can be confusing.
Application Marketing, Branding, and Promotion
As a start-up, it’s unlikely that you’re going to have a huge budget for marketing or branding, so you need to be clever. Other larger companies out there will have the resources to brand and market their apps, and you will often be directly competing against them. You can’t afford to get swallowed up and lost in the already overflowing marketplace. So think about how to make your content stand out.
You will need to have a marketing strategy in place before you start. It’s not always enough to just rely on the quality of what you produce. If required, get some professional help on marketing or at the very least try and speak to people who have previously successfully marketed their products.
App Performance and Battery Life
Once you have done all the hard work creating and designing your app, working through a very crowded marketplace and got your app into the hands of the consumer, the last thing you need is for it to be full of bugs or eat up so much battery that people don’t want to use it.
The challenge is to come up with apps that perform at every level, which includes consuming little battery and running without crashing. You need to be aware that although your app needs to look good, too many visual effects and fancy animation can eat up a lot of battery. And this can be a source of great frustration for the end user.
Start-ups face a lot of challenges when creating mobile apps. And with a limited budget, small staff, and little experience, it is going to be very difficult to meet and overcome them all. However, that’s when doing your research really pays off. Set off on your project without having fully thought it through and you’ll meet obstacle after obstacle. Get a strategy in place and manage the project well and you will be prepared to hurdle every roadblock along the way. Check out the competition, figure out what is going to help you stand out, and plan a marketing and branding strategy that fits your budget and there is no reason you can’t be the next big thing in the world of apps.