Smartphones play an essential role in today's modern world. Yet, without mobile apps, smartphones lose their significance. The growth of a mobile app startup heavily depends on the success of its app and the retention rate of its users. The survey conducted by Statista indicates that the number of mobile app downloads in 2020 was around 218 billion and is expected to increase more in 2021. This highlights the vast availability of users and competition. A small slipup can result in unintended or severe consequences leading to startup failure. Thus, the necessity to create quality mobile apps is essential. In this article, we will walk through the five most important things you must be aware of to create a step-by-step process to build a mobile app for your startup.

Discovery Phase: Idea Analysis & Target Users

The What

Do you already have a good idea for a mobile app? Or are you looking for one? Who is your user? Where is your market? These are some of the questions you must answer first. Remember that not all ideas are good nor bad. A good idea relies on choosing an idea created as a solution or a response to what the market is looking for. In most cases, look for a problem to solve rather than identifying a direct idea.

The Why

Developing a mobile is not cheap. There are more than 6 billion smartphone users globally. You will end up paying through your nose if user expectations are misunderstood, leading to app failure without appropriate idea validation and user identification.

The How

  1. Don't be afraid to approach users directly about your idea.
  2. Use google analysts to find what users are ideally looking for.
  3. Check the App Store to identify what spark users interest.

Illustrating Vision: Mapping UX & User Journey

The What

Now, you might have an idea, but having a long-term vision will ensure its successful journey. At this stage, considerable time has to be spent planing the user experience (UX) before starting development. Keep an eye on how intuitive is the navigation going to be? Collect all insights and plan strategically with a team of designers. In addition to that, figure out if you want your mobile app to be native or hybrid.

The Why

The functionality of your app idea should align with the expectations and desires of the end-user. You will identify the complexity of your app, development time and investment cost required only upon planning your UX.

“A common mistake committed by most startups is having the attitude of building now and fixing issues later. The later you identify errors, the more expensive they will be to fix. Spend time and resources to plan the user journey from the beginning to avoid irreversible wastage of valuable time and cost.”

- Hiren, VP of Technology, Simform

The How

  1. Use whiteboard approaches to map out user journeys.
  2. Create a quality wireframe indicating screen-by-screen navigation.
  3. Choose the platforms, programming languages, frameworks, and tools that are going to be used.

Product Roadmap: Validating Funding And Hiring Options

The What

You have a plan about how the app will work, and now is the time to start looking for sources of funds to choose from and who is going to build it. Higher funding increases the chances to ensure more resources are available for the app’s success. Also, you will need to make sure the hiring party is within your budget and have the best available skill and experience at this stage.

The Why

Additional support in funding will help your product be pushed through planning until the launch stages successfully. Without raising capital, you might face one too many resource difficulties as a brand new startup. Also, choosing the right app developer will save development time and improve cost-effectiveness.

The How

Following are some viable options for you as a mobile app startup to obtain funds and models to pick from to hire a developer.

Source of Funding

  1. Venture Capitalists (VCs)
  2. Angel or seed funding
  3. Crowdfunding
  4. Bootstrapping
  5. Pitching

Hiring Models

  1. Time-based (Hourly/Monthly)
  2. Fixed-price
  3. Dedicated Team
  4. Extended Team

“If you believe hiring a professional developer is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur. The key is not to hire someone who can make your app pretty but rather to find a developer or a team who can successfully transform a problem faced into a fruitful solution.”

- Hardik, Senior Tech Consultant, Simform

Development Phase: Bringing Ideas to Life

The What

At this point, you have done enough research, you have planned, brainstormed, and created quality strategies with appropriate tests. It is now the time to start the app development process. Wireframes are designed, funds are obtained, and you are just one step away from - bringing ideas to life.

The Why

Uncover problems that are unforeseen or missed during the UX planning so that you can constantly verify if the app development process is going in the right direction.

The How

  1. Choose appropriate back-end/server technologies.
  2. Build necessary APIs.
  3. Create Mobile frontend.
  4. Conduct testing (UX/Functional/Performance/Security/Device/Platform).
  5. Follow agile development approach.
  6. Undertake scrum methodology.

Launch Phase: Promotion For Revenue Generation

The What

Everything will fall under one roof at this stage. You have invested all the necessary time, effort, and funds to build your app successfully. The journey so far might have been tedious and challenging, but this is where the real game begins—time to launch and increase awareness about your app globally. You need to create promotional, maintenance plans, and publicizing strategies.

The Why

There are billions of users out there, and creating an excellent user experience is all the difference it would make to increase retention and conversion rates. Irrespective of the narrow or expanded target segments, using a wide range of marketing channels will help create immutable user loyalties for your mobile app, which is essential for all startups.

The How

Some of the channels to disseminate promotional messages are,

  1. Retargeting campaigns
  2. Social Media ads
  3. App Store optimization
  4. Mobile site redirection
  5. Push/in-app notifications
  6. Content marketing
  7. Event Marketing
  8. Partnerships
  9. Influencer-Outreach marketing

In a Nutshell

We have so far discussed some quick tips and ways your startup can get a head start to build an interactive mobile application. However, factors such as cost, time, and market are always dependent on different variables like the size of the app, complexity of features, expectations of the market, skills, and developer experience. Hiring a dedicated mobile app developer might be a good decision, but opting for an extended time might be even better if you are under budgetary limitations and do not want to compromise on quality.