5 Challenges of a Startup Appreneur in 2016

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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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Image Source: unpauseasia

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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Image Source: CapitalFM

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.

9 Factors for Hiring the Perfect Mobile App Developer

9 Factors in Evaluating a Developer

Over the years, we have had several clients that have come to us asking to either fix or complete an app from another developer. One client had spent over $50 k with another developer and had nothing to show for it. For all of you that are looking to hire a mobile app developer, this post will go over several factors you should consider when evaluating a developer.

Mobile App Developer Factor #1 The Source Code / Ownership:

An easy way to weed out a developer is to find out what their policy is on the ownership of the source code and intellectual property upon completion of the project. If they won’t release and / or make a claim, keep moving. I discuss the source code issue more in this post.

Mobile App Developer Factor #2 Technical Capabilities:

Is the developer you’re looking at technically capable of completing your project? In your evaluation, realize that it takes a team. So for example, the a complex app development project will have:

  • iOS Developer
  • Android Developer
  • Backend Developer
  • U/X Designer
  • Project Architect
  • Project Manager

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Image Source: Goforthapps

Be cognizant that it’s very hard for one person to do everything and you may need to hire multiple developers with different disciplines or go with a development team that has all the capabilities you’re looking for. For better communication, the ideal situation is where all the developers are under one roof so that problems can be solved quickly.

Mobile App Developer Factor #3: Portfolio

Ask to look at the developer’s portfolio. Download their apps. Evaluate their body of work. What you see is probably a good indication of what kind of app the developer can create for you.

Mobile App Developer Factor #4: References

Ask for a list of references from your developer and take the time to contact them. Some good questions to ask them:

  • Did they have a good process?
  • Were they responsive? How was the communication?
  • Were they helpful with other issues like setting up an iOS account?
  • How was the quality of the work?
  • How well did they resolve problems?

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Image Source: JCount

Another great place to check their reference is to see if they are accredited by the Better Business Bureau. For example, Apptology’s BBB rating is summarized here. If they are a BBB member, this also gives you a venue to handle disputes. If the developer wants to keep an A rating with the BBB, they are forced to address your dispute.

Mobile App Developer Factor #5: What If You Got Hit By A Bus?

Ask your developer what happens if their main developer got hit by a bus. I know it’s a strange question but it’s important. I had a client that was developing an app and the developer they were working with just disappeared. He didn’t answer any emails and phone calls for a couple of weeks and they were forced to find another developer because they were hitting a deadline. It turned out that their developer had a DUI and was in jail for a few weeks. So, if you ask the “Bus” question, hopefully the developer will have some sort of backup plan for you.

Mobile App Developer Factor #6: Development Process

My undergraduate degree was in Industrial Engineering so I am a stickler about process. That said, when evaluating a developer; ask them about their development process. Some questions to ask:

  • How and when do you provide feedback?
  • How are scope changes handled?
  • Is there a project manager that you work with?
  • Are there regular project meetings?
  • How is communication handled?
  • What types of project management tools are used?
  • How is quality assurance (QA handled)?

In evaluating their development process, see where you fit in. Where do you fit in the design and approval process? What you don’t want is to work with a development team that goes away for 3 months and comes back with crap.

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Image Source: Appectual 

Mobile App Developer Factor #7: Maintenance Plan / Upgrades

All the major platforms upgrade their software roughly once a quarter. Unfortunately, these upgrades may actually break your app. When I first developed my app, Apple just released iOS 4 and our app was developed on an older SDK. To our horror we found that half the sound files on our app didn’t work and we had to spend the weekend troubleshooting the problems generated by the upgrade.

So, when choosing a developer, ask them how they handle maintenance. Also, your app should always be evolving. Make sure you also ask them how they handle upgrades.

Mobile App Developer Factor 8: Warranty

Ask your developer if they will warranty their work in writing. So, after the project is delivered and submitted to the various App Store, ask what happens if a bug is discovered? To be fair, the warranty can only be applied to the specific version of the SDK that the app was developed on. As discussed in the previous section, the developer really can’t be responsible for issues caused by an upgrade to the Operating System.

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Image Source: searlesgraphics

Mobile App Developer Factor #9: Pricing

I saved this for last. I’m not going to go with the cliché that you get what you pay for. I think you can find a quality developer that is still cost effective (shameless plug: like us). I had a client that revealed that the bids for her project ranged from $7 K to $50 K. I personally would throw out the high bid. I’ve heard some vendors just throw out large quotes to weed out their prospects. If there is a bid that is dramatically low, my gut is that they didn’t understand the scope. However, before throwing them out, talk to them first as they may have a template or process that gives them some sort of advantage.

Hopefully, this gives you some food for thought in evaluating developers for your project. If you want to evaluate how much your app will cost to develop as a whole, check out this informative blog now! 

 

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.

Apptology is Recognized by the California State Legislature as a 2014 Small Business of the Year Finalist

Apptology a Finalist for Small Business of the Year

Apptology a Finalist for Small Business of the Year

Apptology, an award-winning mobile applications development and mobile marketing company based in Folsom, was recently awarded as a 2014 Small Business of the Year Finalist by Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan (ninth assembly district) and the California Small Business Association.

Honoring outstanding leadership and exceptional service within the community each year, Assemblyman Richard Pan partners with the California Small Business Association to honor a “Small Business of the Year.” This year, Apptology was selected as a finalist “for their hard work and commitment to providing valuable services that has significantly contributed to the well-being of our region, thereby benefitting all the people in the State of California.”

“I believe that entrepreneurship and innovation is what makes America great and we are humbled to receive this recognition. This award is a source of great pride to all of us at Apptology,” said Rich Foreman, Apptology CEO and founder.

According to Foreman, in the past two years, the app market has “exploded.” In less than nine months, the Apple store reported over a billion downloads then doubled the number in half the time. The app craze has now spread to Android, Blackberry, and every other mobile market under the sun. Apptology has been serving clients for over four years and is unique in their service offering because they are the only company to offer a comprehensive suite of ReadyBuilt affordable solutions for the mobile applications industry for the SMB, according to Foreman. Their management team consists of entrepreneurs and industry pioneers from Silicon Valley and Fortune 500 companies working in mobile, interactive and new media technologies. Apptology also has a team of nearly 100 developers who have created hundreds of applications for various companies around the world on all mobile platforms.

On Jan. 24, 2014, Apptology was awarded the 2014 Small Business of the Year Award by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce at the 21st Annual Installation and Awards dinner.

California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg described Apptology as “a company that exemplifies technology in the 21st century.”

For more information about Apptology, visit www.apptology.com or call 877-990-APPS (2777).