So, you’ve got an idea for an app!
Hey, that’s great. The idea is the first step—it’s the catalyst that brings everything else together. Now, it’s just a matter of app development, security, analytics, end-user feedback…you know. The easy stuff.
Just kidding. That’s the thing: it’s not easy to build your own app if you’re truly looking to make an impact (even if you’re a master programmer). Of course, there are programs available on the world-wide web that offer a level of simplicity for basic functions—say, adding a mobile shop to your online store. But, for small- to mid-size enterprises who want to actively disrupt their industry and see a tangible return on investment, it’s about choosing an app development partner who’ll be there to help you every step of the way.
“Nah, I can do it myself.”
Hey, we’ve heard it before. Clients of all kinds are certain their ideas are too good to share. And besides, those app development companies are just out for themselves, right? But look at the big reasons why many apps fail, and you’ll see just how partnering with a great developer can save your “app-venture” from disaster.
Isolation = Ignorance
Not only do optimists do predictably worse in business—underestimating future challenges and setbacks—but according to key performance indicators like downloads and revenue, about 65% percent of apps fail as soon as they hit the market. Interestingly, this trend can often be attributed to independent, small-team developers who don’t have the collective capacity (or seasoned industry wisdom) to anticipate the challenges inherent to the development process.
Take a top-tier app like Everpix—a photo-storage and organization app that boasted 55,000 active users and substantial investment at its peak. Self-admitted D.I.Y. pros, the founders of Everpix were more focused on the inner workings of the physical application than they were on creating a monetization strategy, ultimately leading to bankruptcy and a closing net worth of -2.3 million dollars.
Seriously. This was an app that had Dropbox and Facebook on the line for acquisition, that instead chose to pursue an end-goal on their own. A noble enterprise, certainly, but one that led to their eventual demise. Without a team of industry experts on their side, they were too busy to think about funding the very application driving their passions. In short, they were too optimistic.
They’re not alone.
Ever hear of Google Wave? It was going to be the new Gmail. Backed by one of the biggest corporations in online technology, it was a collaborative app that would help people communicate in any way they wanted, incorporating dozens of different extensions depending on user preference. What they produced, however, was a feature dense app that took complicated to a new level—both in the back and front ends. Where they’d promised simplicity, they had created a monstrosity.
What is clear here is that Wave—since named Apache Wave—didn’t come up with a marketable value proposition: they were unable to outline exactly what communication issues the Wave was going to solve, leaving them equally unable to market these aims to their consumers (apart from some unfounded media hype), and ultimately preventing them from supporting future development aims.
That’s where many independent “appreneurs” go wrong: they don’t have an accurate grasp of the complexities of the market they’re about to enter, and end up losing millions of dollars trying to cover for avoidable mistakes.
For some, this might still be hard to believe. The app store has millions of apps marketed for cents or less. App-building tools are free to use online. Yet, over half of these mobile apps get few to no downloads. Over 60% of those that do see decent consumer use experience an 80% drop-off rate within their first week. If you want your app to succeed within those odds, it had better be good, and it had better be profitable.
The App Developer’s Approach
Take a second to consider the front-facing application at your fingertips. Who referred you to this link? Is the app Android or Apple compatible? Have they changed their layout since you downloaded?
These questions should give you some insight as to how professional app developers approach your potential app; they are the human problem solvers that will take your app further than any online tool ever could. They approach your idea as a problem needing solved, asking the right questions, and ensuring that challenges are anticipated before your app ever hits the app store. In short, they’ll take care of the “dirty work” of cultivating a vision you can brag about, turning it into an application your customers can truly enjoy.
The best part? The best app owner-developer relationships are collaborative—these developers are a part of your team, building your vision just the way you want it. They are the bodies supporting your app’s integration into your regular business practices. Their due diligence means that you will be free to be the business manager you’ve always wanted to be—the ideas-person behind the enterprise who can say, “We did this together!” at your application’s launch party.
So, why shouldn’t I build my own app?
You shouldn’t build your own app because without a team of industry-wise professionals, your app is not going to add value to your existing enterprise, and will most certainly be laid to rest in the highly competitive mobile industry. As most development agencies will attest, the majority of clients simply want an app version of their existing webpage; they don’t see their application as a separate opportunity for disruption and innovation in the same way that app developers do. By teaming up with dedicated innovators in the field, you too can become far more than just a statistic.
So, what are you waiting for?
You’ve got the idea, now you just have to find the right team that’s going to take you all the way. With them, I’m confident that you can change the landscape of your industry, one download at a time.