Your Checklist for Launching a Profitable App Startup
In an overcrowded market, launching a new application startup can be challenging. Here's our handy checklist to make sure your startup app is a profitable one.
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The world is overflowing with new applications that can perform almost any function you can think of. You can imagine anything, and it most likely already exists.
Having said that, it is still absolutely feasible to develop an innovative new concept that works effectively, stands out from the crowd, and provides something really beneficial to its customers. Among the almost infinite sea of rivals, there are a plethora of new applications that have gained significant popularity.
If you strive to step into the market and become a part of it with your software, you have to create a competitor for others. To do so, you need to be thoroughly familiar with the processes you are facing.
Stage 1: What’s the Idea?
Generating a startup idea will take time. Cration requires experience in some narrow fields, where you’ll be able to find gaps to further fill them in. At this stage you have two options: first — to create something completely unique, with the features no one invented before, second — to try building a product that already exists, but develop it to have a competitive advantage. Either way, find an idea that might be worth investing in, and it will be a valuable contribution to the market. And to become relevant, you should supply a solution to a widespread (and long-lasting) issue.
Sometimes it’s easier to take existing ideas, analyze all their functionalities and find out what do they lack. So, apparently searching for in-demand app startups might fire up your thinking process.
What should you do if you already have an idea? Validate it! Validating an idea is critical since it considerably decreases risk and prevents the creation of something that the market does not require. To avoid this, undertake an SEO strategy, create a landing page, or share a teaser video with your target clients to gather preliminary reactions. Creating an MVP is also a great way to test how enticing your product will be to consumers. (Later again, we will come back to this approach.)
Stage 2: Where to Begin?
Research and Development
As we have already mentioned, validating if the idea is the right fit for the market is a crucial part of the startup launch. You can’t confirm or refute assumptions about your clientele unless you do research. Without it, there’s a good possibility your solution is based on incorrect assumptions.
At this stage, the business analyst steps in to perform the research and development phase. The specialists will discover your market size, estimate the value of the idea, forecast its profit in the future, and explore the competitors. With the help of business analysis, you’ll be able to understand the product-market fit, as well as assemble all of the project’s needs and objectives. This all will cause better awareness of your further clients and what you can offer to them.
When you are done with the research and development phase, you are ready to consider creating an MVP startup structure. Briefly, the MVP approach is a basic, ready-to-launch version of a product that has only the most valuable functionalities. An MVP startup is a bare-bones version of your product that is tested in the market. This app development strategy allows your team to verify (or disprove) product assumptions as well as discover how your target audience reacts to and uses the major elements of your application. It will demonstrate how to properly manage your money in order to reach your ultimate goals by incorporating the MVP approach into the company.
Identify all the expenses you will have, including technologies, staff salaries, and so on. Once you’ve determined what your company costs will be and how much they’ll cost, divide them into one-time and monthly expenses. Employing a designer, paying for permits, licenses, and fees are all considered one-time charges. Salary and service providers’ subscriptions are examples of monthly costs. You should budget for the whole project duration preferably, but for the beginning, MVP estimation will be enough.
Stage 3: What About the UX/UI Design?
Deciding on the basic structure for MVP, you’ll have to compose a list of features, app tabs for each user. Then this list goes to the UX/UI designer to create a customized, user-friendly interface that will be simple but catchy. The UX/UI design stands as an intermediary between developers and users, so it should fully represent the idea, values, and functions it is supposed to.
UX/UI design is closely connected to marketing, since the shape and color of each button, as well as each phrase or menu, need to attract attention and become a call to action for a user. So, you’d better not neglect this part. Instead, try A/B testing during MVP production, in order to assess the feedback for further improvements.
Stage 4: Which Development Model to Choose?
Outsourcing vs. outstaffing vs. in-house development: this choice became one of the most popular discussions all over the internet after the pandemic. What to choose depends on your budget, convenience, and technical task. Let’s discover each model in a nutshell:
- Outstaffing involves hiring professionals without formally employing them. Essentially, it involves the participation of a dedicated remote team that is technically employed by another organization.
- Outsourcing entails hiring a team that is in complete control of all processes, relying on all requirements supplied by the customer. The corporation only checks to see whether everything meets the specifications.
- The in-house model is a lot simpler — there is an internal staff of IT professionals working on the product development. In this case, the corporation has all responsibility for the software end-product.
Determined by your level of desire to control the development process, you can make this decision for yourself. As it also relies on the price for the service, make sure you’ve explored all the possibilities. Take into account that usually, outsourcing and outstaffing the development team is a more cost-effective solution.
Stage 5: What Is the Right Tech Stack?
Another important factor in influencing how tough it is to construct your app is the choice of tech stack. It has an impact on the fundamentals of creating an app startup, such as the cost and duration of development, as well as its functionality.
Language and Framework
The programming language used for a project should be chosen based on the needs of the company, not because it provides some syntactic sugar or is popular. The language of choice is highly influenced by the type of software. What type of software are you intending to create? Is it a web application, a mobile app, or something else?
The most common choice for backend development is Node.js or Python. Python is better for data science, complex web platforms, and 2D/3D animation and graphics, as well as parsing software development. Django (Python framework) is one of the greatest backend frameworks since it is very configurable and adaptable. It is also suited for creating large-scale, database-driven, interactive web applications. Whereas Node.js is a perfect solution for streaming apps, collaboration platforms, and real-time messengers. Express (Node.js standard server framework) is a solid option for creating RESTful APIs and web applications. It is referred to as the backend portion of the MEAN stack, together with the MongoDB database software and AngularJS.
For the frontend development, Statista shows that the competitive advantage remains shared between Angular, React, and Vue.js. Even though these frameworks have their pros and cons, they are still reliable and time-tested solutions.
You should choose Angular if you need a framework that is dependable and scalable, to build a vast, multifaceted application; apps, chats, or messengers that operate in real-time; or long-term investment in native apps or web applications. Go for React if you need to create lightweight contemporary apps in a short term, secure mobile solutions, cross-platform, or single-page mobile apps, and if you want to incorporate new features into existing software. Otherwise, there is Vue.js for one-page applications, dynamic, high-performance applications, and automated apps.
Native vs. Hybrid vs. PWA
A multitude of considerations must be considered when deciding whether to design your app startup as a native app, hybrid app, or PWA. This will also influence the way your tech stack is going to look like.
A native app is designed for a certain mobile platform or device, such as Windows, iOS, or Android, among others. A hybrid app has the appearance of a native app but is really managed by a website and may work on several devices. Apart from hybrid and native app development, PWA (Progressive Web Application) is a website that has all of the functionality of an app.
To fulfill the cost and time savings requirements of your startup, you may want to explore PWA. Since PWA is deployed straight from the website, you won’t have to think about releasing the software to the app store, following all of the app’s design or logic criteria, raising the app’s exposure, or anything else.
Surely, API integration is a solution that will facilitate the development of additional multiple functionalities on the software. It is a simple way to implement various software, building a connection bridge between them and your app. It could be anything from CPaaS API (Communication Platform as a Service), which adds real-time communication, to airlines’ APIs, which are used for flight booking platforms.
However, there are APIs that are necessary for almost every software application in order to run efficiently. It includes Cloud API integration and Payment Gateway.
Simply said, Cloud APIs like Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive work with a cloud architecture to deliver processing, storage, and system resources for requested online software and services. They can also assist you in avoiding data clutter by obtaining data from appropriate database systems.
The other is Payment Gateway API integration, which is necessary for making payments within your app. Thus Payment Gateway is the way to get profit from your software, by simple implementation of one of the well-known tools, such as Stripe, Apple Wallet, and ApplePay (PayFort API).
DevOps Services Provider
As soon as you’ve decided on the MVP approach, you’ll know that it has to be a fast process. This is where DevOps comes into play because it is effective at speeding up IT operations. With the support of DevOps, you can use technologies to continually integrate and deliver. This allows the MVP to be updated quickly in response to changing circumstances. Thus, make sure you choose DevOps Services Provider relying on reliability and competitive advantage on the market. Among the most used and popular DevOps services are AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
As an advance, using microservices in DevOps aids in updating, maintaining, and bug-fixing reasons because all of these procedures are streamlined and easily handled. When used for MVP, it will help in the simpler edition of feature sets to fulfill the customer’s expectations on a frequent basis. It fosters an environment in which diverse teams work together to produce better results, hence expediting MVP development.
Stage 6: What Does Technical Documentation Consist Of?
The most significant sort of document utilized by an engineering team is a set of written instructions. Technical documentation represents requirements in the development cycle explaining how a product will be created and what tools, staff, and other resources are needed for that.
At first, the future application is divided into functional blocks related to each targeted user. Those blocks are split into smaller parts, which are describing each process inside an app. Then this list of functions is estimated to calculate the time it’s going to take in order to finish with each process on the backend and frontend. This estimation record is the first part of the needed Technical documentation.
Secondly, you gather all the data you have elaborated on from the previous stages and construct it into one doc. So, let’s dive into what’s in there:
- Project deliverables. It is, in reality, an estimation document that has been laid out in sprints (larger phases made up of smaller tasks) and incorporated into the calendar.
- Software development methodology. Here is the chosen methodology — for example, Agile, Scrum, or some other one — and details for its implementation.
- High-level architecture. It provides major functional features, interfaces, and design criteria applicable to all DoD simulation tools, as well as a standard foundation for defining specialized architectures.
- Business functionality. For this part, you need to specify all the pages and features each user will have.
- Project architecture. Define overall architecture, deciding on whether to choose monolithic or microservices for that.
- Database architecture. A DBMS design enables the database system to be divided into individual modules that may be adjusted, upgraded, removed, and transformed individually.
- DevOps architecture. Map out the service provider you chose on stage 5. If you choose the most well-known, like AWS or Azure, you should now comply with its services between each other.
- CI/CD architecture. Closely related to the DevOps service provider you chose. Build a connection between the tools, that you aim to use for CI/CD.
- Tech stack. Outline the list of technologies you’ve decided would be better for your app. This could be a combination of multiple languages since different processes and functionalities require various code running.
- Team structure. Pick up the team, that will cover up all the needed for your app startup tasks. For the MVP it could be a considerably smaller team, than for the app development, when it is ready for an upgrade.
Stage 7: How Do I Integrate Agile Product Development?
Agreeing on a daily workflow may be difficult, especially when many projects are on the agenda. In these situations, an agile methodology may be quite beneficial since it can assist teams to achieve higher concentration and productivity. This is accomplished through agile product development that prioritizes task distinction and collaborative activities.
Agile product development facilitates a major part of processes including product backlog, sprint backlog, sprint planning meeting, sprint duration, sprint review, sprint retrospective.
This methodology doesn’t require any overwhelming integrations or complex implementation, it’s more about simplifying your development workflow with the help of some tools.
Stage 8: Is Marketing Required?
Marketing is an essential part of the product launch: from the moment a startup idea is born to its life on the market. In the first stages, it is responsible for making an app startup idea valuable and understandable by clients. Design, functionality, texts, and availability for the users are all relying on the marketing strategy.
After the production of your MVP startup, there are several means to spread the word, such as email marketing, outreach, sponsored commercials, SEO, SMM, and so on. Your choice of marketing channels should be structured according to your app targeted audience. Find out what your targeted audience use, what do they like, and what channels trust. Here is an example for you.
If your app startup is for food delivery, you may target youth, since they are one of the top audiences that use food ordering every day. To advertise to the youth, you should definitely make ads on social media, apparently Instagram. The price for that varies depending on the advertising model: $0.20 – $2.00 per click for CPC, $6.70 per 1000 impressions for CPM. Besides that, you can also create sales inside your food delivery app or some special offers. Turn on your creativity here!
Nevertheless, you cannot just launch your app and wait for users to find it by themselves to download it. Launching an MVP startup is just a start for your app and mostly the development of the product. Marketing is simply a crucial part of it.
Now you are so close to getting started on your app startup idea’s development. It’s now time to execute your strategy. Create a clear vision of how the whole app development process will unfold, and your app startup’s chances of success will skyrocket.
Published at DZone with permission of Tetiana Stoyko. See the original article here.
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