Things to Consider When Building a Mobile App for Your Business

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by Jason Lewis

We’ve heard the phrase “There’s an app for that” for many years, and part of that is because it’s true. If you have a pain point, especially in business, it’s pretty likely that there is a mobile app that can solve it. You can probably find one that’s already been built, or you might think you can build one either for your company’s own use, or to sell as a product.

We’ve heard the phrase “There’s an app for that” for many years, and part of that is because it’s true. If you have a pain point, especially in business, it’s pretty likely that there is a mobile app that can solve it. You can probably find one that’s already been built, or you might think you can build one either for your company’s own use, or to sell as a product.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s easy to think “we need a mobile app for this” and get excited. Technology keeps getting better and enables us to accomplish more, and do things faster and more efficiently. We might get distracted by the newest, most popular apps and superficially focus on what the app will look like and its cool features. Eventually, we lose sight of why we wanted to build an app in the first place.

If you’ve decided you need a mobile app for your business, it’s important to maintain focus on your purpose for building the app. Getting from point A (thinking of what the app should be like) to point B (building the app with a developer) is not easy. It requires a lot of planning and consideration – especially of factors that are highly important but might not be top of mind.

Here are some questions that you need to answer when planning for a mobile app.

First and Foremost

  • What problem does this app solve?*
    • It’s crucial to ask this question first. An app is a massive investment. If it doesn’t solve anything, then it’s not a good investment. Check out our blog “Identifying a Problem Before Prescribing a Solution” where we go deeper on how to answer this question.

Business Considerations

  • Who is the audience of the app? The general public, or is it specific to a particular group?
    • Knowing the answer to this as early as possible in the process helps to carve out the scope and the scale of the app. It also helps with planning the user experience. For example,do your users have background knowledge of the subject of the app or do you need to build some learning into the app?
    • If this app is meant for the general public, who is your target audience? When you first launch your app, the answer cannot be “everyone.” Even if you think your app is mainstream, it is better to determine the early users you want to target so that you can start to build your user base from there.
  • What is our budget?
    • Again, this determines the scope and scale of the project. It also helps you prioritize what you truly want your app to do (and scale back on the more grandiose and less critical aspects).
  • Should we build it ourselves or outsource? (More on this later!)

Technical Considerations

  • What types of devices does it need to run on? Do we need it to support older devices? What platform or technology should we build it on?
    • Also an important question to ask early on, as it helps determine the scale of the project.
  • Where will the data we collect live? On the user’s device, or do we need a server too? If a server is needed it should be factored into the budget.
    • These questions are often forgotten when planning a mobile app project but they are crucial decisions that will greatly impact the cost of the project.
  • How should we deliver it to our users?
    • There are of course the main app stores (App Store, Google Play Store) but if the audience is very focussed (e.g. your own staff) there are also enterprise distribution systems that may serve you better. Keep in mind that the main app stores need time to review your app before it is made publicly available, so that could affect your delivery timeline.

If you are planning on making the app a product of your company, here are some further questions you need to answer.

Financial Considerations

  • How will we monetize it? If it’s a public app, will we charge for it, have a subscription, or rely on ads?
    • A mobile app is a significant investment. If you are providing a service, you should determine how you can make money from the app (i.e. will people pay for this service and how much). It’s also important from this stage to think about how you want people to pay for the services within your app. Banner ads alone will not generate revenue for your business.
  • Do we have competition in the market? How do we set our app apart?
    • Competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing! On the contrary – it means that there is demand for the solution and validates the market.

Finally, you now must decide if you’ll take this journey on alone by building in-house, or outsource the build to an app developer. Tip: outsourcing to the right provider can help you answer the questions above! A knowledgeable team, especially if they are experienced in building business apps, can help navigate the planning process and help bring your vision to life. You can focus on what you know best and trust that your app idea is in good hands.

Vertical Motion has been building business solutions since 2006. Our team can help you plan your mobile app project and help you answer the important questions. Let us help you out! Contact us today.

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