10 tips for app start-ups

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Developing and launching your first app is a challenge and an adventure. It can be exciting, daunting, stressful and rewarding all at the same time. I compiled this list of tips to help first-time app entrepreneurs set themselves up for success. They are tough and potentially confronting tips from someone who has been on the app development adventure many times before.

  1. Don’t do it

Based on the statistics, the best advice I can give you is not to develop an app. As the director of an app development company it pains me to say it, but with only one in 10 apps making a financial return, and only a fraction of them striking it rich, the odds are against you. Of course the pay-off can be huge if yours is one of the successful apps but make no mistake, they are the exception to the rule.

  1. Cut the crap

Your app doesn’t need to do everything. Better to have an app that does one thing really well than to have an app that tries to do everything and fails. Keep it simple.

  1. Assume everyone is stupid

You are intelligent but don’t assume all of your users will be. Design your app for the lowest common denominator. The worst thing that can happen is that smart users find your app really easy to use.

  1. Give up your day job

This one is probably impractical I know, but launching an app is a time-consuming, hands-on business. Make sure you can dedicate plenty of time to it or find a co-founder who can.

  1. Don’t forget about your app

This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many first time app entrepreneurs launch an app then forget about it. Monitoring your app’s analytics after launch and updating it accordingly is the key to improving user engagement and sales conversion.

  1. Don’t choose a developer Tinder-style

Your relationship with your app developer is crucial to the success of your app. Swiping right on a developer because they have a nice profile pic or smooth banter is a surefire way to pick the wrong one and end up wasting thousands of dollars. Ask them questions, challenge their claims and make sure you are comfortable with the team before starting a relationship

  1. Use and abuse completion bias

Completion bias is the human tendency to want to finish something you start. You can take advantage of this little human hang-up by breaking your app down into small steps and users will feel the need to complete them.

  1. Define success before you fail

App entrepreneurs commonly focus on all the wrong things and waste money on features that won’t help them succeed. The first step is defining what success looks like. If your aim is to build a large user base, focus on that, not on creating a multi-tiered subscription model. That can come later.

  1. Shake hands with your developer

When you (or your development company) outsource to offshore developers, you have no way of knowing if the actual programmer/s working on your app are talented or experienced. Meet your programmer in person, ask about their experience and shake their hand.

  1. Don’t waste our time

People are busy. Time is a scarce commodity. If your app requires a big time investment from the user, you’ll need to steal that time away from another app or activity they spend time on. To do this your app needs to provide significant value to them. The more time your app takes up the higher the perceived value needs to be.

Joseph Russell, Co-Founder and Director, DreamWalk App Development