3 Common Mistakes Startups Make in App Development

April 03, 2019

Creating a clear vision of the app, appropriately budgeting, and conducting market research are steps many startups forget to make during app development. Learn from their mistakes to help your startup’s app development process succeed.

If startups don’t have a concrete reason to have an app, chances are they end up building something completely pointless for users.

Startup owners have to maintain a fine balance while developing an app for their business, as either too much or too little may turn out to be fatal for an app. Many startups either end up developing an expensive app with too many unnecessary features or a cheap one with nothing in it.

A startup’s app journey can be confusing: Where do you start? How do you start? Whom do you approach to help develop the app?

In order to make a startup app succeed like ride-sharing app Uber, which was valued at $68 billion as of June 2018, you need to be aware of the below three mistakes and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Diving in Without a Clear Vision

If you are gearing up to get an app developed for the sake of having an app, then don't. A mobile app must have a purpose to serve. What you want to achieve via your app must be made clear first.

Unfortunately, while getting an app developed, people often forget its purpose and focus more on adding cool but unnecessary features to the app.

Your app must bring business not just by its appearance but mainly by your vision. Figuring out what you want to give your customers via your app is the biggest challenge, but once you overcome it, you are set.

If you are having trouble defining your vision, use Simon Sinek’s golden rule of “why, how, and what.” Once you yourself are clear about the purpose of your app, your app will be successful. As Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

People fall for emotions, so don't forget to reflect your vision on your app to lure them in.

Take Google’s Files Go, for example. It has a very clear message to explain the app’s functionalities.

Google Files Go

Google’s simple message of “free up space on your phone” appeals to people who don’t have much memory on their phone in an easy-to-understand way. People know what to expect with Files Go.

Know your app’s vision and make it clear what it is.

Mistake #2: Budgeting Without Any Planning

Developing an entire piece of software that fits in a mobile device and helps your entire business is no small expense.

The app-making process requires a good sum of money, and if your calculations are not intact, you may have to spend more than you budgeted for.

Come to terms with your mobile app development company about how you are going to proceed, what necessary services are included in its cost, and how much these services will cost.

Ask every single detail about each penny you are investing. It’s important to start your project with a budget in mind.

One other mistake many startups commit when it comes to the budget is skipping updates because they have to pay for it. Avoiding unnecessary expenditures doesn't mean you should skip the important stages in your app development.

Apple and Google occasionally release new operating systems and devices, and for your app to stay alive on such platforms, you must keep it updated. Otherwise, the bugs and glitches in your app will force the user to stop using it and eventually delete it.

Keep in mind you’ll need a budget for app marketing as well. The real struggle is not in getting your app developed but rather in submitting it to and making it succeed in the app store. With millions of apps in app stores, for your app to have a place at the top, you need to market it successfully.

Starbucks, for example, didn't ask people to download its app. Instead, it used indirect marketing with valuable content and an inconspicuous CTA, which helped it achieve two goals: app downloads and user-generated content.

Starbucks Instagram post

Starbucks simply asks its users to submit images of its products and then highlights the best on its official social feeds.

Thus, Starbucks gets user-generated content, which drives shares and views for the brand. When other users click to view more of that content, they find the purchase option in the description itself.

Starbucks Instagram post

Isn't that a smart marketing strategy to make the app popular? Spreading the word about Starbucks spreads the word about its app, too.

Starbucks clearly budgeted for app marketing. It’s important for startups to figure out their budget for app development, maintenance, and marketing, too.

Mistake #3: Skipping Market Research

You are developing your app for your audience and the market, not for you; therefore, market research is something you must conduct.

Why? According to CB Insights, 42% of startup fails because of no market need.

Top reasons startups fail

So, before you start investing your time and effort, research the current market to answer these questions:

  • Are there any similar apps available on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store?
  • If so, what are the strong points of your competitors’ apps? Why do their audiences love them? Is there anything you can do to make your app better than your competitors’?
  • Are there still burning issues you are trying to resolve with your mobile app? Is your app still solving an unmet need?

Once you collect these answers, analyze them, study them, and only then take the next step. 

One benefit of market research is you will get to know your competitors – what new products they offer, how they are marketing, and what makes them different from your company.

Conducting a market survey will help you define your target audience more precisely – what they like, what they want, and how they want it.

You can develop your app as well as your marketing strategy in ways that will appeal to your target audience by knowing their demographics such as age group, common likes and dislikes, location, and interests.

Moreover, market research will also benefit you in planning more efficient market strategies that will lead your app to success.

Investing a little time and effort in a market survey before your app development process will yield you profitable results in the long run.

Learn From the Common Mistakes of App Development

Startups have a lot on their plate, but it’s important to make up your mind – what to do and what not to do when it comes to app development.

If you become aware of the above three mistakes, your app development will flow smoothly in the right direction.

About the Author

Headshot of Yuvrajsinh VaghelaYuvrajsinh Vaghela is a Marketing Manager at Space-O Technologies. He spends most of his time researching on the mobile app and startup trends. He is a regular contributor to popular publications like Entrepreneur, Yourstory, and Upwork. Apart from that, he connects recruiters to job seekers in India. He has, in fact, helped over 60 fresher to find their first job.


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