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What does it take to Start and Maintain an app?

By Tiara Starks

(Source: Unsplash/Marvin Meyer)

Have you ever wanted to develop a great idea for an app but never knew where to start? If you’re like me, you’ve probably thought about it at least once in your life and why not?

Most applications are developed by people who can afford to invest/spend their own savings into funding. In more recent years, most apps have to undergo the process of finding venture capitalists (VC) to help fund the app. Venture capitalists also known as angel investors are people who invest money in a young start up while getting part ownership in hopes that the value of the company will grow as the company’s product or service starts to make a profit. If the company gets sold, the VC or VC firm will get their money back several times. It will take several “rounds” of funding for a company to make their own money. For instance, a company such as Lyft, which is defined as a “peer-to-peer private transportation app” went “public” with a valuation of $20 billion dollars.

(Source: Unsplash/Boitumelo Phetla)

Now, let’s say you received your funding, whether from your own finances or another entity’s. The first step to inform your next move is to do thorough market research. This will aid you to navigate how useful your app will be in the market that you’re trying to sell it in. Moreover, you will discover who your competitors are, what their core strategies are, their strengths and weaknesses, and they're unique selling point (USP). It’s beneficial to know this information in the long run as you continue to refine your app’s own strategy, figure out its strengths and weaknesses, and find your USP.

There are many costs to take into account including app functionality: which platforms and devices will support it, the user interface (UI), how the app will utilize a device’s hardware features, as well as a maintenance plan for once the app launches and gains traction with users. Ideally, your app must include a privacy policy if you plan on collecting sensitive information from users. This step should be done as early as possible as the security of your app is one of its key selling points. An app’s user would want to know what you plan on doing with their data as you collect, handle and store it. More than 90 percent of apps on the market now are free. That means these apps are generating revenue by using the “freemium” model, charging for in-app features, advertisements, and much more.

(Source: Unsplash/Lagos Techie)

Free apps tend to get a bad rap. While many people are likely to download free apps, it’s assumed by the customer that the developer is only interested in gathering users for the sake of gathering users. By putting a pay wall behind your app, you’re more apt to getting loyal customers and an increase in customers will translate to a boost in revenue.

What’s next? Since you’ve figured out what and who you want your app to service, you need to build a marketing strategy. App marketers tend to face challenges unique to the app landscape. Another way to decipher if an app is even worth being released as a “free” product or if it deserves to have a price tag attached to it, is creating a focus group in the pre-launch stage. This focus group will serve as a measurement for how successful your app might be once it actually hits the market. It's not uncommon to do multiple rounds of focus groups around different topics for an app. It’ll help your team with brand positioning and determining if there are any major improvements that need to be done.

Additionally, it’s a valuable tactic to introduce the app to possible first users who might even turn into your app’s most loyal customers. Whether you’re in the first or final stage of developing your app, it’s imperative to have the basic knowledge in order to be competitive in an ever-changing digital marketplace.

(Source: Unsplash/Alexander Shatov)

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