Congratulations – you’ve got the next big idea for an app that you want to get out into the world! 

There are millions of apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and the average person uses dozens of apps on their mobile device. Yours could be their next download.

Apps come in two main types

Apps that are targeted for usage outside of your organization are different from those that internal employees use to improve productivity and workflow.

Most apps in app stores are B2C (business to consumer) but some are B2B (business to business). Apple and Google both operate separate private “Enterprise” app stores for apps that are used exclusively by their employees.

There are many business considerations to take into account when deciding if (and which type) of app you should build. While LuminFire is prepared to walk with you through your app build from start to finish, there are many things for you to think through before we begin writing code.

We’ve put together the following list of considerations for you to evaluate and questions for you to answer before you start building your custom app. Taking time to think through each item below will give you a great head start on your project:

  1. Analyze the Competition: 
    • Identify similar apps to your idea. Think about the problem your app solves more than looking for identical feature sets. Use CrunchBase to see if you’re up against deep pocketed venture firms, bootstrapped businesses, or solopreneurs.  
    • What do you like/dislike about them? 
    • What makes your app different and unique?  This is your Unique Selling Proposition
    • Do a SWOT analysis to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for your app and business idea. 
  2. Determine Your Budget: 
    • What do you plan to spend on the development of your app? Custom app costs can vary widely based on the complexity of the app. Depending on the type and complexity of your app, you’ll need to budget anywhere from $20,000 to $250,000 to build it.  
    • Your app will also require annual maintenance to keep it up-to-date and secure. You will need to determine whether or not you can support the cost of the ongoing maintenance. 
    • You will also need to consider whether or not you can make available an ongoing budget for enhancements to improve your app. 
    • You will also need to consider whether or not you want to look at financing options or recruit outside investors.
  3. Define Your Scope:
    • What are the core key features – or MVP (Minimum Viable Product) – that would make the app worth using? Start simple.
  4. Choose Your Timeline: 
    • When do you need to release your app? 
    • Is there a hurry to get to market before the competition? 
    • Keep in mind that developing an app could easily take 2 or more months of active development time.
  5. Create a Business Plan / Monetization Strategy: 
    • How do you plan to charge for the app? 
    • Will there be an ongoing or recurring fee? 
    • Do you plan to sell in-app advertising to help support the app? 
    • What will the market bear? 
    • How many copies do you need to sell to be profitable? 
    • What is your expected ROI (Return on Investment)? 
    • Is your primary motivation for this app to earn money, or do you have another primary motivation?
  6. Create Content: 
    • If your app has a unique process or content, have you created it all? 
    • Is your content all written out? 
    • Have you tried establishing an audience before building the app through writing a book or authoring other materials that will be the basis for your app and help lend credibility to your app and/or mastery over the topic? 
    • The more you know about what you want your app to do, the easier it will be for us to estimate what type of investment will be required to build it.
  7. Research Your Users: 
    • Who will be the target audience for your app? 
    • Do you understand your audience’s demographic and spending potential? 
    • Learn about your users’ needs and identify why they would want to use your app. 
  8. Look at Legal Issues: 
    • Does your app idea infringe on any copyrighted materials? 
    • Should you trademark your app name or brand?
  9. Create Your Brand: 
    • What will be the name of your app? 
    • Is it a unique name, or does someone else have the same name? 
    • Is your chosen name already copyrighted?
    • Do you need to purchase a web domain? 
    • Have you looked to see if your desired domain is currently available? 
    • What tagline, colors, and icons will you use to identify your brand in the app? 
  10. Build Marketing Ideas: 
    • How do you plan to let people know about your app? 
    • What is your advertising strategy?
    • What is your advertising budget? 
    • You can have the greatest app in the world, but if no one knows about it, you’ll be sorry you invested in it. 
    • Write a marketing description of your app.
  11. Choose Your Platform: 
    • Will this be an app for iOS or Android, or will it be a web app? 
    • A web app is generally much less expensive and could be a great first step towards a future iOS or Android native app.
  12. Consider Security: 
    • Does your app deal with sensitive or personal information? 
    • What kind of privacy requirements do you have?
    • Apps that hold ePHI require a higher level of security.
  13. Be Ready to Invest Your Time: 
    • Building your custom app is a time-intensive, collaborative process. 
    • You can save money by having a group of people ready to try out the app (beta testing) and provide constructive feedback to improve the app through iterative development.
  14. Ongoing Support: 
    • How do you plan to support the users of your app? 
    • Do you have training videos? 
    • Is there a website users can refer to with commonly asked questions? 
    • Do you answer a phone line to help guide people? 
    • Do you sell various levels of support?

Carefully thinking through these 14 points is the first critical step in building the custom app of your dreams. Once you’ve laid this groundwork, LuminFire will be ready to help. As your business consultants, your architecture and technical implementation team, and your ongoing app maintenance team, we’ll be with you every step of the way.  

Start the conversation with a free consultation.

Tim Cimbura – CEO and Software Engineer

Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in rapid application development with FileMaker (certified in all versions) for macOS, Windows, iPad/iPhone and web app integration with WordPress. He also knows Apple technology inside and out.