The new millennium has opened up the market for mobile application development transforming entrepreneurs into appreneurs. In the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of Billion Dollar App Companies such as Uber and Airbnb. Setting sail on your very own appreneurship comes with challenges exclusive to the tech community. If you’re thinking about launching a startup or developing your very own mobile app, here are some common challenges to be aware of.
App Development Challenge 1: The Need for Speed
A typical theme is the demand for having things not now, but yesterday. The demand for faster and more efficient solutions will only increase as time moves forward. As such, there’s an advantage to being being quick and beating your competitors to the punch. If you streamline your product and cut down on features by focusing on developing a Minimum Viable Product, you’ll find a swifter time to market.
App Development Challenge 2: The Need for Cross platform and Backend Development
An app based startup up must realistically develop apps for both Android and iOS devices (which make up 98% of the smartphone market). In addition to developing an app, typically it needs to have a cloud-based backend to support it. It’s rare for one developer to be proficient at all so you typically need a team of developers.
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App Development Challenge 3: Focus on Design and Usability
The simple truth is that your app needs to be visually attractive. If it ain’t people won’t download it. After they’ve downloaded it, it has to be intuitive and user friendly. If it ain’t, it won’t be used again. Before your team starts coding, nail the user interface.
App Development Challenge 4: Nail it then Scale it.
One of the things that an apprenuers needs to do is a plan to grow their business. I’ve seen many startups fail because they didn’t have a growth plan. My suggestion is to focus on growing your concept in a certain geography. Once you figured out a successful formula, you can attack other geographies. This is how Uber, Facebook, and Airbnb grew their businesses.
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App Development Challenge 5: Cash is King
Cash is the oxygen for any business. Not enough and it dies. Typically, I see appreneurs bootstrapping (and working day jobs) while working on their MVP. Once the product goes live, it’s a race between burn rate and generating revenue and it’s game over when the cash runs out. This is where you need a CFO that will help you navigate expenses, revenue and fund raising.
Being an appreneur isn’t for everyone but with a lot of fortitude, courage and a good dose of luck, your startup has the potential of being the next Uber. By recognizing these challenges, build a team with the proper skills and strengths. Also if you have an app already in the works and are looking for stakeholders, check out 4 tips how to not scare away investors. Believe me, we see it happen all the time.
By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014. Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.