The mobile app development market has expanded significantly, turning entrepreneurs into appreneurs. In the last decade, we've seen the rise of billion dollar app companies such as Uber and Airbnb. However, pursuing appreneurship comes with its own set of challenges. If you're thinking about launching a startup or developing your very own mobile app, here are five common challenges to be aware of:
1. Appetite for efficiency: the need for speed
Customer demand things not ‘now’, but ‘yesterday’. Demand for faster and more efficient solutions only increases with time. As such, it is advantageous to be quick and beat your competitors to the punch. If you streamline your product and cut down on features by focusing on developing a Minimum Viable Product, you'll reach the market faster.
2. Full stack: the need for cross platform and backend development
An app-based startup must realistically develop apps for both Android and iOS devices (which make up 98% of the smartphone market). Typically, a cloud-based backend to support the app is also needed. It's rare for one developer to be proficient at everything so a team of developers is usually needed.
3. Appearance matters: focus on design and usability
The simple truth is that your app needs to be visually attractive. If it’s not, people won't download it. The app also has to be intuitive and user-friendly. If it’s not, it won't be used again. So before your team starts coding, nail the user interface.
4. Growing the business: nail it then scale it.
Besides developing and deploying an app, appreneurs need to develop a plan to grow their business. I've seen many startups fail because they didn't have a growth plan. My suggestion is to focus on growing your concept within a certain geography. Once you create a successful formula, you can attack other geographies. This is how Uber, Facebook, and Airbnb grew their businesses.
5. Burn rate: cash is king
Cash equals oxygen for any business. If there’s not enough cash, the business dies. Typically, appreneurs bootstrap (and work day jobs) while developing their MVP. Once the product goes live, it's a race between burn rate and generating revenue. If the cash runs out, it’s game over. This is why you need a CFO to navigate through expenses, revenue and fundraising.
Being an appreneur isn't for everyone but with lots of fortitude, courage and luck, your startup could become the next Uber. Acknowledge the challenges you may face and build a team with the right skills and strengths to handle them.
Are you an appreneur? What challenges have you faced?