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How to create an app for your business

Anno 2022, it is certainly no longer a secret that mobile apps are an integral part of everyday life. From increasing your brand awareness to generating more leads and improving internal workflows, the mobile apps in 2022 are endless and continue to grow as they do.

But how do you get started with app development?

Today, most decision makers within companies are already familiar with the importance of a mobile app. Many executives and owners even have an app idea in mind already but taking the first step remains to be done. The actual realization of the app.

If while reading you think: that’s me, I haven’t taken that first step yet, then you’ve come to the right company at Pure App Builder. In this article you will read step by step what it takes to easily develop a mobile app and we will explain how to create an app for your business that is within almost any budget and can be live within weeks.

7 Steps to creating apps for your business

Developing an app is a lot more accessible when it is broken down into smaller tasks which is immediately achievable for many people:

  • Define the goals for the app;
  • Determine an app’s budget;
  • Create your own team who will carry the app;
  • Think about the design of the app;
  • What are the main functions;
  • Testing;
  • Promoting and marketing.

We will explain the steps in more detail below

Step # 1 – Define your app development goals

Of course, it sounds hugely obvious but make no mistake about how many companies don’t take this step seriously so they don’t make goals or make half goals.

Take your time, and invest in the purpose of the app, this is the foundation of your app and the reason you are going to develop an app (or have one developed). Without goals, you don’t achieve success.

Try to be as specific as possible in formulating an objective. Try to rethink the most standard goals (make more money/make customers happy). How to make more money with an app? How do you make a customer happy with an app?

The objectives vary from company to company and that has mainly to do with the size of the company, the target group, the industry, the (marketing) budget etc.

The users of the app are almost as important as the objective. What missing desire are you trying to fill for your app user. Are you creating an app for the masses or is it for internal purposes?

Below are some sample goals for both apps that can be downloaded by the masses and internal apps. This will give you a better idea of how to embrace this step.

Mobile apps for customers
Mobile apps for customersbold, lbThis case may not apply directly to your organization but you may be able to copy the thought process and logic.

Imagine having multiple gyms with 25 locations across 3 counties. Each location has a different schedule, the turnouts vary, the hours of operation are slightly different, etc. For the customer experience, it is not top notch to sit in an empty class, for you as a business owner, it is not nice to pay an instructor for an empty class.

The solution could be to create an app with a real-time booking function. Members can obtain class schedules and information and register for a spot directly through the mobile app.

Could an app have features like membership registration, videos of exercises, meals, and schedules? Of course you can! But first you need to focus on a primary goal and what problem you are solving for the customer. After that come the bonus features, which may be added in a version 2 or later.

Mobile apps for employees and internal processes
Internal apps generally have a very different function. The apps are primarily designed to improve the experience and work process or reduce costs in specific processes.

I show the following scenario how a medium-sized organization with ±700 employees spread across multiple offices throughout the country use a mobile app as an internal tool.

Internal apps are completely different from customer-facing apps. These are usually designed to improve the employee experience or reduce costs in specific workflows.

The problem? Your HR department is limited to one location in Amsterdam, and your HR staff is only in the office from 08:30 to 17:00.

So when a hybrid employee who works in account manager outside the office and has a quick question about his terms of employment at 5:15 p.m., he can’t reach an HR representative. Even during office hours, there will not be an immediate answer and employees will have to wait causing a delaying factor. Sin of your employees’ precious time.

From a budgetary point of view, it is not feasible to immediately think of new opening hours or to work in shifts of extended working hours.

What could be a solution, however, is an internal mobile app for HR communications. With this, it is possible to set up a centralized communication hub and even create a self-service dashboard for it. This gives you 24/7 access to the insights that employees need in real time. This eliminates costly waiting times there and thus reduces personnel costs. In the longer term, the app pays for itself.

To give an idea about other internal solutions with a mobile app, you can think about internal training via a mobile app, the onboarding process, making administrative changes, communicating urgent matters with push notifications and so on.

However, I would like to point out that it is mainly important to focus the app on 1 or at most 2 functions in order to achieve your goals. In one of the next versions, after your app has proven impact, it is possible to target other features.

The goals will be the dot on the horizon as you move forward with the rest of the app.

Step #2 – Determine your budget and establish a timeline

The objectives are clear and concrete, you know what you are going to solve with an app and who the users are. Now it is the turn of the CFO or controller to set a budget of a mobile app.

If they are doing their job properly they should take into account the estimates of the investment and when the invested amount is earned back. Or in the case of an internal app when enough is saved with an app to fully cover the cost. Of course, consider that maintenance costs and the like will become a new expense.

There are a number of costs to consider when developing a mobile app:

  • App developers;
  • App designers;
  • Backend infrastructure;
  • Servers and architecture;
  • Hosting costs;
  • Maintenance.

Note that the cost of an app will be ongoing after the initial investment. This has to do with maintenance, hosting and support. Once the app is live, it is important that the app becomes known to the target audience. So app marketing is very important.

Have you thought about the time frame in which the app should go live? In some specific cases, an app is not an immediate rush. But if you are creating an app with a hard deadline then that needs to be taken into account. An example of this is for an e-commerce app. This one would prefer to be online before the busy holiday season. An app for a major event must also be live before the event, otherwise the whole app is useless.

Your budget and sense of urgency ultimately determine your development team, which we’ll go into more detail about in a moment.

Step #3 – Create your app development team

Assembling a development team is often one of the biggest hurdles of the development process. In fact, many companies already have an IT team which puts the interests of the teams at risk.

After all, are these teams needed to develop a native app? How will an app not created by them affect their job? This is one of the reasons why most companies choose not to hire mobile app developers themselves but to outsource it completely.

In summary, there are a number of things to consider:

  • Use of internal resources
  • Hiring app developers
  • Hiring an app development company
  • Using an app maker

The options are explained below so you can come to the best method that fits within your app needs.

Use internal resources

Roughly speaking, there are less than 5% of all organizations that have in-house app development capabilities. Having a number of developers and experts on the payroll is certainly no guarantee of achieving a good mobile app that suits your needs.

In fact, it is highly unlikely that your IT team has the experience needed to develop apps. And even if they do have experience with that, they haven’t built and brought live a large amount of apps. And do you want to put a mobile app on in the hands of someone who has only built a few apps or to an expert who puts dozens of them live with a team every year? I would personally say the latter.

That said, there is, of course, always the option of using your own resources. If you are building an internal app for a workflow you can certainly get away with using your own people for development. But if the app needs to be downloaded by the masses on a large scale, it is certainly in your best interest to outsource that.

Hire app developers

So, as mentioned, in most cases it is still convenient to hire an external company to develop your app. Sometimes the choice is made to do this in composition with developers on the platform Fiverr or Upwork, this is not always desirable because of the time difference and communicating in another language.

Assembling a team in this way is certainly possible. Often we see that smaller and medium-sized companies choose this and then still run into a number of issues.

Note that programming often requires at least 2 different developers. When you have an app created you often want it to be in the Google Play store and in the Apple Appstore. So these are also written in 2 different programming languages.

So can’t you hire one developer who can write both languages? Of course you can, but it won’t be more economical because you’ll spend double the time. Then you can hire two different developers for about the same money.

Unfortunately, having only one or two developers won’t get you there. You also had to hire a designer, a tester and a project manager. This could possibly be done in-house although an in-house tester and designer are often not specified in mobile apps.

Should you choose to outsource your app to freelancers, you are reliant on their expertise. You have little to zero control over where and when they work. It is very common for freelancers to work from abroad and then you have to deal with different time zones which does not help the throughput.

Another risk you run is that if you don’t hear anything for a while you have absolutely no idea what the status of the app is. Maybe a freelancer is sick or maybe they took on another project. You don’t hear from them for 2 weeks, now what?

This happens more often than you might think when working with freelance developers.

Hiring an app development company

A quality app development company offer you an all inclusive development service. You need an app and they provide it. They appoint a project manager, a designer, a tester and the appropriate developers.

With the Pure App Builder Team, you get all inclusive service you deserve. We are a partner and we take care of your success.

At Pure App Builder, we make sure to help you step by step through each stage of the development plan. We will engage in a conversation with you to formulate the objectives. Then we provide support with the wireframes and prototypes.

With strategy sessions, analytics and user engagement, the chances of your app becoming a success are increasing. In addition, you don’t have to worry about the peripheral issues at all, we take care of the maintenance, hosting and updates. More than 10,000 apps have already been created with our software. So we can safely say that our software is proven effective in the field of app development.

Pure App Builder is by far the best solution for the SMB industry. You get the app (or apps) without the worry of freelancers or in-house projects. Pure App Builder will work with you through each step to make sure you get exactly what you want.

To go for the best solution for a mobile app and its development, start with a free consultation with one of the experts at Pure App Builder. It can be requested free of charge.

Using an app builder

With Pure App Builder’s app builder, it is feasible for smaller entrepreneurs and startups to develop a mobile app within a smaller budget. There is no need to hire a team for this.

So for the start-up or the smaller entrepreneurs who are handy with a do it yourself approach, it is an ultimate solution to still get a mobile app live.

Business users with a little more budget are better off hiring a development company.

Step #4 – App Design

The design of the app depends on step #3. If you are going to use freelancers to develop an app then you will also need to hire a freelance designer, If you are using an app agency, such as Pure App Builder or Pure Coding, then they will hook up a designer to totally develop your app desire. Start with a wireframe to create the blueprint and strong vision of your app. From there you can create a logo (if needed) and a brand book. In addition, they will create an interactive demo that will make the app easy to test and give you the look and feel of your mobile app. This will ensure that everyone in the development process has their noses pointed in the same direction.

It is also important to mention that the platform on which the app will run (iOS & Android) will influence the design of the app. Each plarform supports different mobile devices so the proportions are just slightly different. As a result, different variations in design are required.

An important tip is to think carefully about the design of the app beforehand. Make sure you are completely satisfied before thinking about the next steps and the most important features of the app. This is because it is time-consuming and expensive to adjust the design at a later date.

Step #5 – Add your most important features

One of the most common mistakes is to lose sight of the most important objectives at this step. As a result, app owners are tempted by the bigger picture. They don’t want to add one or two important features but want a full app with all the trimmings right away. This is expensive, complicated and it can confuse the developer. Continue to look critically at the dot on the horizon determined in step #1.

The fitness app from the earlier example where athletes can sign up for classes does not need a social media wall in the app. This would be a nice addition at a later time, but if attention goes to that, there is a chance that attention will be lost from the most important function: the sign-up section.

Core features that are always in a mobile app do not distract from the dot on the horizon, they are always embedded in mobile apps and therefore will not cause distraction. Think push notifications, app analytics and login screens for app users.

New features that need to be developed will cause some distraction which will slow down the process of development thus increasing costs.

For version 1.0, therefore, always provide an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and work out a function from there each time. As a result, you have no distractions from your goals and the new features can be considered an extra.

Step #6 – Testing

Before submitting your app to the Google and Apple Appstores, you need to be 100% sure that the app works the way you want it to work. Should the app be live and it is not quite finished then there is a chance that there will be negative reviews about your app and then it is tremendously difficult to get many users.

The app will not be perfect, no app is, unfortunately. Even those of Facebook, Instagram, Amazon etc. are not perfect. Apps have bugs, technology can cause glitches and they need to be fixed. So it’s no big deal if your app has that too. Make sure the app has a great user experience. It should be easy for the user to be able to use the main function of your app, after all, that’s what you developed the app for.

Successful apps should be tested on multiple devices on multiple platforms in order to properly serve all types of users. You don’t want the app to work fine on iOS devices while the app continuously crashes on Android devices, right?

Ideally, the app should be tested throughout the development period. This is important to detect small mistakes early on, nipping larger problems in the bud. In addition, once the app is live, testing must continue. In fact, it happens regularly that there is a software update of one of the operating systems. For example, your iPhone app may work well today. But in two months, when Apple releases its new version of iOS, your new features may not be compatible with the update. You want to avoid this before you would have to develop a new app.

This is another reason why it is so advantageous to work with an app development company. They will not only provide a professional app for your business, but they will also take care of all the testing and updates for you.

Step #7 – Promote and Publish

Also know that it’s never too early to think about launching your new app. In the meantime, even before launch, start trying to create hype around your app. Create a landing page for your website, already send your customer base a trigger email with what’s to come so they get excited about the app. They will then be more likely to download the app.

You must prepare your app for publication in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Each platform has different rules and guidelines for submission. Apple is a bit stricter than Google in allowing Apps in their app store. But in addition to submitting the app, you also need to start thinking about App Store Optimization (ASO) early on. This ensures that with the right terms and the right settings, your app will be at the top of the Appstores. So the ASO ensures that you are well found in the Appstores and that your app will be downloaded faster by potential users.

Are you creating a free app? Or should you make users pay to download it?

This is something you should actually be thinking about as early as the objective. This is because it affects the development of your app. For example, there is no need for a pay wall feature in the app which may apply to a free version.

If you outsource your app development to Pure App Builder, we will handle the publishing process for you.

Final thoughts on creating an app for your business

Clearly, your business could use an app as well.

When we talk about developing your app, there are several options for you. Build your own team with freelancers, hook up an app agency (Pure App Builder TEAM) or do it yourself with Pure App Builder’s app builder. Depending on the budget, a choice will have to be made here.

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