Tips for Entrepreneurs: How to make a Mobile App
Do you know how to make a mobile app? Don’t worry if you don’t as the entire process from a good idea to seeing that final product on Google Play or the Apple Store is a complex one. In our new series of Tips for Entrepreneurs, we look to break down some of the questions we hear from people.
So, how do you make a mobile app?
Step One – Determine your goals
Why do you want to make an app? Is this an extension of your business? Are you looking to add a new layer of service or ability for existing clients?
Or do you have a great idea for something that you think will be the next big thing?
Is your app going to sell something or be a product people pay for? Is your app going to be free? How do you expect to make money off of the product?
Those are some of the basic questions you need to ask yourself to help determine your goals and narrow down the scope of what you are trying to accomplish. The reason this step is important is that there are currently over a million apps available on Google Play and at the Apple Store. There is an existing range of apps that do all sorts of things already so if you are going to create something new to add into the mix your goals and the definition of what it is you want to create need to be very clear and focused.
There simply isn’t room in such a crowded landscape to toss something overly general out there and expect it to become the next big thing.
Step Two – Craft a plan in writing
Lots of people have great ideas and thoughts in their head but to move forward those ideas need to be written down; this is a key aspect of any successful plan.
Write down what you want your app to accomplish for you and your business, what you want it to do for users and anything else related to your goals.
Next create some rough sketches of the screens you will use from login to exit including buttons, graphics and all the other elements. If you aren’t much of an artist don’t worry about it. The idea is to have a working model to start with rather than a professional-grade mock up of a product.
Step Three – Research the competition
There is a good chance that your idea for an app is not unique. Not to be a wet blanket, but with millions of apps in existence that certainly is a possibility. Additionally competitors might have launched similar ideas.
Take the time to see what is out there, looking at your competitor’s websites to see if they offer apps, along with scouring the App stores for anything related. This is a very valuable exercise as you will be in a better position to succeed if you see how you can stand out from any existing apps, build off other ideas or even see what is out there that has failed.
What makes your app different and better? What problem are you solving for users? What questions are you answering for your target demographic?
From a basic standpoint the creation of an app is exactly like designing a business plan. You start with an idea and goals. Next you write down the plan. From there you start to research the market. After research is performed you go back to your plan and make modifications based on research. Even a non-technical person needs to perform these steps if you expect success.
Step Four – To code or not to code?
This step can be scary for some people, and one of the reasons many good ideas never make it very far; the actual coding of the app. People who know how to do it obviously are less worried about this step and to be honest, people who don’t know how to code shouldn’t be worried either.
While coding is a very big part of app creation, it is only part of the cycle of creating a mobile app. Even if you don’t know how to code, you will still have a very large role in the development of the app.
So if you are a coder you can do it yourself. If you aren’t a coder or simply don’t want to do the work you can farm it out. There are plenty of great mobile app development companies that are ready, willing and very able to take a great business plan and transform it into a finished product.
In fact, even if you do know how to code, hiring an experienced digital firm as a partner is a good idea as they have the experience in not only coding but also:
- Experience from prior projects including successes and failures to build off of
- Familiarity with good testing procedures to ensure success
- Ideas you may not have thought of
- Experience with the process of launching an app which includes submission to the appropriate app store
For those who wish to do it themselves, there are numerous resources available to get started. Even if you don’t wish to do it yourself, some of the available tutorials are worthwhile to review and absorb just to gain a better understanding of the process. Knowledge is an incredible asset.
Step Five – More research
Research again? Yes but at this phase it is a different type of research. If you are going to code the project yourself you need research coding languages to determine what works best for your project along with the capabilities of those languages.
If you are going to partner with a firm you need to research firms to determine who can do the work you want at the level you expect to deliver the finished product you desire.
The bottom line
All in all, the journey to creating an app is very similar to creating and executing a business plan. If you are considering how to make a mobile app consider these steps as a blueprint, but remember that the ultimate success of your app will depend on your willingness to put in the hard work it takes to produce any quality product.