Every successful app development project begins with an intro meeting. Learn how to prepare for your meeting in advance and begin a strong partnership with your app developer.
For entrepreneurs and large business owners alike, it’s crucial to pick the right agency for your project when building an app.
Likewise, digital agencies strive to ensure that their services leave clients positioned for success.
At App Partner, we speak with many prospective clients on a daily basis. They range from experienced app ideators to those who have only just begun to put their app idea into action.
Our development process always begins with an introductory meeting during which we assess the clients' objectives and give them an overview of how we can help with their app. Regardless of the technical knowledge each prospective client brings to the table, the most successful intro meetings are with those who enter the meeting well-prepared.
By taking steps to prepare for your meeting in advance, doing research, and heading in with an open mind, your partnership with an agency will be off to a great start.
Here are some tips our team suggests for getting the most out of your first meeting with a digital development agency.
Do Your Homework on the Agency
Before your intro meeting — better yet, before you even start reaching out to agencies of interest — take time to learn about the agency’s capabilities and what services it offers.
Start by reading the content on its website, checking out its past work, and taking a look at its social media presence.
Several questions you may want to investigate during your research include:
- How long has the agency been in business?
- What industries has the agency worked with, and does the agency have a specialty?
- Does the agency primarily develop apps for a particular platform (i.e., Android or iOS)?
- Does the agency only work on specific phases of the development process, or will it handle development from start to finish?
- Will I own the code and content the agency develops?
- What metrics does the agency use to measure performance?
Some agencies may offer services that are a better fit for your project than others, and performing due diligence will allow you to determine which agency is the right fit for you.
Go In With a Plan for Your App
Like any business idea, your app can only go so far without a cohesive plan for development. You’ll be able to use your allotted meeting time most effectively by first developing a plan for your app — especially if you’re new to the world of app development.
Your business plan should serve as a value proposition for your app, or what sets your idea apart from the competition.
Entrepreneur discusses key elements to include in your business plan.
The 10 key elements of your business plan are:
- Executive summary
- Company analysis
- Industry analysis
- Customer analysis
- Competitive analysis
- Marketing plan
- Operations plan
- Management team
- Financial plan
Determine Your Budget
Every app development agency has a different price point, and the cost to build your app will depend on many factors.
These include desired features of your app, its operating system(s), and how much work you’ve already completed on your app.
In general, you should expect to pay anywhere between $50,000 to $500,000 for a fully developed mobile app.
With this in mind, take an honest look at your finances and determine what you’re willing to pay for strategy, design, coding, and quality testing.
Entering the intro meeting with a realistic expectation of what your app will cost will help reduce stress and frustration during development. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a reputable agency willing to work in exchange for equity or profit-sharing, so plan your budget accordingly.
If your app idea is still in its early stages, consider pursuing a design-only engagement before jumping into the coding phase. At App Partner, our Strategy and Blueprinting package provides our clients with UX designs, wireframes, user flow diagrams, and an accurate estimate of the cost of completing development.
These materials help our clients gain a better understanding of how much time and money will be required to develop their app and also enable them to secure funding from investors.
Your intro meeting is the perfect time to ask questions about the agency.
Although you may come up with more questions during the meeting, if you have any concerns that you want to address immediately, prepare questions in advance to keep your thoughts organized.
It also helps to send an email with your questions to the agency in advance so it can be prepared to address your concerns during the intro meeting as well.
Troubleshoot Potential Technical Issues
If you use Skype, Google Hangouts, or another online conferencing platform for your intro meeting, confirm the agency’s contact information and double-check that your internet connection is running smoothly.
If your intro meeting takes place in-person, make sure that any electronic resources you need (PowerPoints, laptops, tablets, etc.) are fully charged and ready to go in advance.
It's easier to address any technical difficulties before your meeting than be caught off guard in the middle of the meeting.
Get Excited About Your Idea, and Be Ready to Work Hard
Remember that creating an app is more than a part-time hobby. You must commit a large amount of time, money, and effort to get your app across the finish line.
An app development agency will be able to tell how passionate you are about your project and will be more interested in working with you if you demonstrate enthusiasm in your intro meeting.
Demonstrating your dedication to your app idea from the very start, you’ll show the agency that you’re worth its investment.
Identify Your Next Steps
If you decide to move forward with the agency after your intro meeting, be careful not to leave the room without an idea of where your partnership is headed.
Do you have any documentation for your app that the agency wants to see? Does the agency have a proposal for you to review about its services? What legal documentation, such as an NDA or MSA (master service agreement), needs to be signed in order to work together?
Keep track of what information you’ll be providing as well as what materials the agency will send you. Schedule a time for a follow-up meeting so that work on your project can begin as soon as possible.
Once you’ve figured out what steps need to be taken after an intro meeting, you and the agency can start moving toward a fruitful, long-term partnership.
Get the Most Out of Your Intro Meeting
The intro meeting is both your best opportunity to get to know the agency you want to work with and your chance to make a good first impression and prove to the agency that your app idea has potential.
Without preparation, these meetings can be overwhelming and leave you disappointed. By going in with a clear idea of your needs, an understanding of the agency’s models of engagement, and a business plan outlining your idea or startup, the intro meeting will be productive and an exciting start to building and launching your app.
About the Author
Drew Johnson is co-founder and co-CEO of App Partner, a Brooklyn-based mobile agency. Johnson’s responsibilities include advising App Partner’s clients on their mobile strategic initiatives as well as overseeing the company’s business development efforts and day-to-day operations. To date, his company has led and supported the launch of more than 200 unique mobile applications, generating tens of millions of downloads.