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How To Start Your Own SaaS Business

If you’ve been planning on starting a SaaS business, then there’s never been a better time in embarking on such an endeavor. Many SaaS (Software as a Service) enterprises have emerged in the past decade and have successfully left their mark in the industry.

Established tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have made available their own SaaS offerings. And users have been reaping the benefits of accessing these cloud-based applications cheaply and easily. Now, we’ll look further into what it takes to start your own Saas enterprise.

1. The Rise Of The SaaS Enterprise

The internet has radically transformed the way we do business and consume. Enterprises can release powerful apps far quicker than before, while users can access these applications almost effortlessly. And digital distribution has played a vital role in making this possible over the past two decades.

But even digital distribution has its fair share of bottlenecks that impedes the accessibility and evolution of software. In many cases, users have to pay a steep upfront cost and download and install files on their computers. And in the case of freemium or mobile apps, users may not have to pay a cent, but they’ll likely have to watch ads or whip out a credit card to access certain functionality.

Nowadays, users don’t have to relegate themselves to any digital distribution platform to access powerful and useful apps. With the rise of the SaaS enterprise, users can try out web-based solutions directly from their browsers.

So, what exactly is a SaaS enterprise? Well, it’s a company that develops an application or a series of applications meant to solve specific problems. These applications are hosted on a cloud service either by a third-party or on the company’s own servers. In the latter case, the company needs to update and maintain its SaaS applications and hardware. But that’s a boon for end-users since they don’t have to worry about updating their apps. And they no longer have to trawl forums or contact support when an update or installation goes wrong.

We’ve seen that this SaaS business model has been gaining traction in recent years. If you’ve used MailChimp, Slack, or Zoom, then you’ve used a SaaS product. But it won’t end there, as we’re bound to see many trailblazing SaaS enterprises emerge in the coming years.

2. Why You Should Consider Starting A SaaS Business

Whether you’re an appreneur or leading an enterprise, you’re likely coming up with cool and unique ideas. A few of these ideas could be solutions to problems that most people encounter in their day-to-day lives or enhance existing business processes. Either way, for these ideas to come to fruition, they’ll need the right vehicle to drive them forward.

One of the best ways to do this is by starting your own SaaS enterprise. And the good news is that it’s entirely possible with a small investment and a bit of sweat equity. Online marketing expert, Neil Patel, managed to launch his SaaS business based on a call-tracking idea for under $ 40,000. With his organized approach to building web-based businesses, Neil found a designer and a developer, built his product, and then focused on marketing and sales.

While we’re not insinuating that building a SaaS is easy, it’s doable with the right approach. Furthermore, you’ll benefit by establishing an enterprise that’s entirely your own without requiring a substantial investment. And, if your SaaS proves popular, it won’t be difficult sourcing venture capital (VC) to grow your enterprise further.

3. Choose The Right Funding Model

If you want to have maximum control of your SaaS enterprise, you should consider personally funding the entire endeavor. But if bootstrapping isn’t possible, then you could borrow money from friends and family. A word of warning, if you haven’t planned and validated your SaaS idea, you’ll be risking these funds on a project that could potentially fail.

However, if you’ve done your homework by conducting a competitive analysis, creating detailed financial forecasts, writing a lean plan, and validating your idea, then your funding options widen. Now, you’ll be in a position to seek funding from financial institutions, angel investors, and venture capitalists. But you’ll be giving up some control, and your business decisions will have to line up with requirements set by these entities.

4. A SaaS Business Starts With Proper Planning

Every serious entrepreneur draws up a business plan from day one. After all, no financial institution or angel investor will lend money to an enterprise without a business plan. And when building a SaaS, it’s essential to get your ideas on paper as quickly as possible.

However, it’s not necessary to draft a long and complex document initially. Start with a one-page pitch that briefly describes your business, unique value proposition, competitors, target market, sales forecast, expenses, milestones, and schedule. You can go into more detail once you’ve solidified your business model and SaaS proposition.

5. Creating A Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Determine whether or not users have an interest in your SaaS. Moreover, validate if these users are willing to pay to use your app. Without releasing a full-fledged product, you’ll never know for sure. But by creating an MVP, you’ll be able to quickly gauge if users are genuinely interested in your offering before building a SaaS.

6. Building A SaaS

Ideally, you’ll have talented developers on your team that will help bring your SaaS ideas to life. While you’ll probably do most of your development in-house, you may need to outsource some work. For a smooth collaborative process, it’s always better to work with experienced developers such as NS804.

Be sure to start small and choose the right software development methodology for your project. Then, get a beta version of your SaaS out the door as quickly as possible, and don’t add any unnecessary features before launch.

7. Employing Good UX Design

It’s just as important to have one or more competent designers on your team. After all, your SaaS shouldn’t only run well, but it must also look great! Users expect good UX design from their apps, and you must meet their expectations if your SaaS is to succeed. Your designers will need to have a solid grasp of the five key elements of UX designs, namely: information architecture, interaction design, usability, prototyping, and visual design.

8. Don’t Ignore Custom Development

While your SaaS enterprise may function amazingly on the cloud, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore custom development. Many users will appreciate accessing an offline version of your SaaS that runs natively on their computers or mobile devices. Furthermore, you can provide users with additional features, extended business functions, and improved security with a custom-developed app.

9. Should A SaaS Business Incorporate Custom Development?

Yes, every SaaS enterprise benefits from incorporating custom development. Many business processes require the speed, stability, and security that only a custom-developed native app can provide. And certain visually intensive apps only run well if they have direct access to a device’s CPU and GPU, which may require a custom solution.

In Conclusion

Every appreneur and enterprise should consider building a SaaS if they want to reach new users. While there’ll always be a market for native applications, many users enjoy the accessibility and convenience of today’s SaaS offerings. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you get your SaaS business off the ground.

An Appreneur Guide To The App Store

Understanding The App Store Leads To Stronger Appreneur Performance

In every industry, there are techniques, tools, and tactics that form the foundation of operations within that industry. Therefore, any professionals starting a journey into a new career need to learn the applicable fundamentals. For instance; in the world of app development, the app stores and various markets that connect developers to users are beyond vital. The app stores are important for an aspiring appreneur to understand because it’s where users find your app. Even apps with the strongest designs need to be positioned properly, and if they aren’t, users simply won’t find them.

This is important to realize because of the simple truth that no matter how good your app is; it still needs users to thrive. By understanding the app stores you, as an appreneur, can leverage stronger marketing techniques, speak directly to user needs, and ultimately climb the metaphorical leaderboard.

Key Distinctions To Note Between the Apple Store and Google Play

Now, before moving too far along, it’s important to know the differences between the Apple app store and the Google Play store. These two marketplaces have a lot of the same offerings to present to appreneurs. However, they also differ in distinct ways that alter the strategies and tactics successful appreneurs apply.

One of the most important differences between these two markets is the programming languages. In the Apple app store, applications run on a programming language, Python. Python is the language of the Apple operating system and is most well known for its rigid rules and strength in security. By creating an entire app store with a universal coding language; the applications that exist within that market come with a bolstered level of security. Additionally, this makes it easier for users to get an idea of the function and feel of your apps before they’re even downloaded. By standardizing the programming language, developers also benefit.

Developers benefit from the standard programming language because it creates universal understanding. In other words, programmers and developers working in the Apple app store have a slight advantage as they only need to learn and work with one programming language.

Getting Into Google Play

The Google play store comes with its own set of advantages as well, though. For instance, while the defining feature of the Apple app store is a universal coding language; the exact opposite is true of the Google Play store. The Google Play store thrives on creativity and flexibility. While this is often positive, it also brings with it a few drawbacks. One drawback in particular when it comes to the Google Play store and its flexibility in the programming language is that it opens up the door for a much higher percentage of faulty, bug-ridden, and less secure applications.

Since the coding is so much more flexible in the Google Play store, appreneurs don’t have to follow as rigid of programming rules. While this acts as a catalyst for innovation, technological exploration, and creativity in design; it also opens the door to higher security threats and a higher rate of finished apps that are full of bugs.

The App Store and Niche Markets As an Appreneur

The Apple app store and the Google Play store both represent app markets. By that, these are full marketplaces with a wide spectrum of industries and fields of practice. Think for a second about the wide range of apps that are available; from health and wellness applications to budgeting apps, to apps for pure entertainment, there’s an app for almost everyone doing almost anything. This means that as these markets continue to grow, advance, and evolve, applications will emerge for every niche market available.

For an appreneur, this is great news. As society further integrates technology into more and more aspects of everyday life, more and more opportunities for appreneurs will exist. However, it’s important to realize that, just like with traditional stores; the game changes completely when it comes to niche markets in mobile app stores.

When it comes to marketing your application in a niche market; it’s absolutely vital to conduct your due diligence in order to gain some insight on successful trends that already exist within that niche market. By discovering and implementing successful marketing tactics for your niche market application you’ll put yourself a step above the competition before you even launch.

Learning From The Competition

Watch, listen, and learn. This is a basic principle that applies to almost every aspect of life. By being still and observing carefully, you can learn mountains of helpful information without the risk of making mistakes yourself. Learning from the competition isn’t a new concept, not by any means. It’s a long-standing strategy that business professionals and innovators use to re-create success seen by other entrepreneurs. By borrowing successful tactics and strategies from a wide range of sources you and your team have the ability to create a comprehensive launch and marketing plan that’s fast-tracked toward success.

Address App-Store Reviews

In the same vein as learning from the competition, another huge resource pool for appreneurs is app-store reviews. In today’s virtual world, consumers have more access to better information all-around. This puts a lot more pressure on sellers because consumers hold such a low tolerance for negative experiences. In other words, after a single negative experience with a company or application, most users are more likely to switch providers or companies altogether, rather than give them a chance to make it right.

As such, app store reviews are a rich reservoir of consumer insights: both good and bad. As a crafty appreneur, then, you can mine app store reviews for potent insights to apply to your own applications under development. You can see what features excite users about applications they love, and reviews will also pinpoint areas of failure and aspects desperate for improvement. All-in-all leading you down a pre-paved path straight to the top of the app store.

App Stores, Appreneurs, and Algorithms

It’s no secret that app stores run algorithms constantly. These algorithms, while seemingly random, are actually extremely precise. However, even the algorithms that the app stores themselves are using undergo rapid evolutions and reiterations. As such, it’s incredibly difficult to get an accurate reading of how these algorithms are built and run. However, you and your team can track patterns. The patterns illuminate what types of apps are continually reaching the top of the charts. This information can then be used to inform the development process of applications you and your firm are working on launching.

A Brief Overview of An Appreneur Guide To The App Store

The world of application development is busy and bustling. Over the past year specifically, our society rapidly advanced into an era dictated by technological integration. Each and every day there is new technology and new innovation happening all around us. As a determined appreneur, understanding the app stores, how they function, and how to make them work for you will bring you a significant advantage in building and delivering top applications across markets.

For more information on app development or mobile app development specifically, keep browsing the NS804 content library. NS804 is the one and only proud application developer for the everyday appreneur.

How To Create A Better iOS Ecommerce App

Developing an iOS eCommerce app that keeps users engaged takes time and work. But to achieve desirable results, it’s best to work with an experienced iOS development agency. And if you follow these handy pointers, you’ll increase your chances of releasing an app that truly shines.

1. Why You Should Study The Competition

For many enthusiasts and tech industry insiders, the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is a yearly highlight. Developers, in particular, follow this conference to keep updated about the latest developments concerning the iOS app platform. And the media wait with bated breath to hear announcements from keynote speakers, such as Tim Cook and Craig Federighi. These announcements clarify the direction of Apple and how that affects developers in the foreseeable future.

While developers can learn much about the Apple ecosystem by following WWDC, it’s not enough. They must continue researching and studying the market segment they are targeting. If an iOS development agency plans on entering the eCommerce space, then it should study its competitors. After all, this market segment is highly competitive, and developers must do their homework to find success. And with eCommerce app use growing by 36% between April and July 2020, competition will only get tighter.

2. How To Optimize For The iOS App Platform

Apple wants developers to release polished applications that showcase the iOS app platform to existing and potential users. That’s why it’s crucial to optimize your app by closely following Apple’s guidelines.

Your app needs to be lightweight and responsive for the best user experience. Therefore, you should implement the most efficient file and video formats and reduce the size of updates. Then, take things further by leveraging app thinning and utilizing on-demand resources by shipping these as separate asset packs.

However, your work doesn’t end there, as you’ll also need to do App Store Optimization (ASO). Ensure that your store page has the following: app name, subtitle, the app’s URL, all relevant keywords, ratings, reviews, listing CTR, and the category of your app. Furthermore, you should insert high-quality images and videos, an apt description, and design an eye-catching icon.

3. What Ecommerce App Features Are Most Important

Keep users engaged by providing them with the features they want and a seamless experience. So, ensure that your eCommerce app has the following features:

  • Hassle-free customization
  • Simple onboarding process
  • Intuitive and responsive design
  • A frictionless process from registration through to checkout
  • Analytics measuring all applicable user behavior
  • Push notifications for promotions and call to action (CTA)
  • Engaging and relevant content

4. Why You Should Hire An iOS Development Agency

It may seem tempting to hire a freelancer to develop your upcoming eCommerce app to save on development costs. However, that may not be the wisest choice, especially with what an iOS development agency brings to the table. An agency is more accountable, likely to stick to deadlines, work within the budget, provide maintenance and support, and stay on top of trends.

5. How To Keep Users Coming Back

You’ve invested heavily into your new eCommerce app and hope that users will keep coming back. But to ensure this happens, your user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) should be excellent. Moreover, prepare a minimum viable product (MVP) and conduct regular testing to determine whether or not your app’s engaging users. And update your app regularly with features that delight your users and help keep it in the spotlight.

In Conclusion

When targeting the iOS app platform, it’s best to go in prepared with a clear strategy. Start by studying the competition, then optimize your app and add the most important features. And don’t forget to implement great UI/UX design and regularly roll out updates. But to create an outstanding app, work with an experienced iOS development agency, such as NS804 today.

Is It Still Possible To Develop Innovative Enterprise Apps?

Creating innovative enterprise apps seems like a monumental task. And you’re not wrong if that’s what you’re thinking? However, all the best apps have something in common, which involves solving a pain point exceptionally well. So yes, it’s still possible to develop innovative apps for enterprises, provided you spot a gap in the market.

1. Innovative Enterprise Apps Help Deliver Business Value

With behemoths such as Microsoft, Salesforce, and SAP, delivering high-quality enterprise apps, it’s easy to become intimidated by these strong competitors. But as an appreneur or lean startup, you can make a dent in the market by developing innovative enterprise apps. After all, there’s bound to be a gap in the market that the big players aren’t servicing yet.

Some of the most indispensable apps that businesses use are those that facilitate communication internally and externally. And this has become even more important in the COVID-19 era, as more company staff work remotely. But even in a post-pandemic age, businesses will still seek out the most effective communication solutions. Thus, there will be many opportunities to innovate on the cloud but also with business mobile apps.

2. Four Things Your Enterprise App Should Have

With a plethora of excellent enterprise apps in the marketplace, user expectations have risen considerably. The days when business applications would only run on desktops and thin clients are long gone. Business mobile apps have grown in popularity as company staff make greater use of smartphones. And apps with complex, inconsistent, and unresponsive user interfaces (UI) are also being shunned in the enterprise space.

The most successful enterprise apps all have these four elements: good visual design, full integration with a company’s systems, compatibility across devices, and robust offline capabilities. Company staff and remote workers love using apps that encapsulate all these elements since they facilitate productivity.

3. Identify A Gap In The Market

Before commencing with development, you’ll need to discover what pain point your app is trying to solve. What problem are you regularly experiencing, which can be solved by a well-conceived application? And does this problem also affect people within an enterprise environment? If you can provide an answer to both questions, then you may have discovered a gap in the market.

However, don’t rush into development without conducting a market opportunity analysis beforehand. It will help you identify customer needs, competitors, and risks that you may face. Thus, you’ll be more informed and better positioned to deliver an innovative enterprise app to users.

3. Business Mobile Apps Are Driving Forth Innovation

While the desktop is the undisputed stalwart of enterprise environments, smartphones have also penetrated this space in recent years. Today, company staff use an average of four apps per day for their work. These business mobile apps keep staff engaged and enhance their well-being and productivity.

From executives through to sales staff, they now have mission-critical information available to them at all times. Mobile apps diminish the need to be in the office or a specific location to access a PC, saving staff valuable time.

4. Work With An Experienced Developer

Innovative enterprise apps, such as Flock, Trello, and SurveyMonkey have radically transformed the workflow of modern businesses. These apps came into existence because there was a real need for them. Moreover, the developers behind these apps identified the pain points users were experiencing and responded with powerful and intuitive solutions.

If you have an app in mind that’s potentially world-changing, then talk to us. As an experienced developer of enterprise and mobile apps, NS804 can help you create the app you’ve always wanted to make.

Bring it Back To Basics: Making a Splash as An Appreneur

Offering Value As an Appreneur

When it comes to app development, it is one of the most supersaturated markets that exist. This is because of its wide accessibility, and the massive audience pool from which to draw. As an appreneur or aspiring appreneur, it’s important to understand how it is that you or your application are providing value. Because app development is such a competitive market that utilizes technology, it goes to reason that it’s a field that sees an above-average amount of technological advances and evolutions.

However, new technology doesn’t always equate to high-quality applications to which users flock. Creating a truly valuable application that attracts a wide range of users takes a comprehensive approach to app development, which includes utilizing new technology, delivering value to users through optimized user experiences, and offering solutions or utility to the end-user.

The Picasso Effect

Picasso is famous for his abstract approach to art. The way that he depicts people and objects is completely surreal. However, Picasso didn’t start his journey creating brilliant works of abstract and surreal art. Rather, his first education in paints was as traditional and classical as it gets. Before he revamped the art world almost single-handedly, he first mastered the traditional fundamentals of the craft. In other words, he learned how to paint a perfect bowl of fruit, before flipping it on its side and making it something else entirely.

This evolution also occurs in application development. Oftentimes, new developers, programmers, and appreneurs want to jump headfirst off the high-dive and right into the deep end. In other words, appreneurs get so excited about the newest technology and newest features that they start sacrificing fundamentals in order to layer more and more features, without doing the due diligence to fully flush out those features.

This leads to a poorly designed application that feels unfocused and clunky. Worse yet, rushing through the integration process of a new sophisticated technology into your existing applications can lead to bug-ridden applications that are faulty, incomplete, or simply non-fucntional altogether.

This is why Picasso mastered classical painting before branching out and evolving into his legacy of abstract art. By fully understanding the concepts and fundamentals of the classical and traditional form; he was then able to evolve the field entirely.

Merging The Old with The New

In integrating these hot new technologies as they emerge, an appreneur needs to have a strong sense of vision. I’m not talking about your prescription glasses, rather, the term vision here indicates an ability to see vertical alignment and synchronization. It’s important, of course, to learn and be aware of the new technologies that hit the market place, but on the other hand, integrating them into your current and future projects is another endeavor completely.

The most successful applications find a hole in any of the existing niche-markets of the application development world. By providing a solution to an existing issue that end-users are experiencing, your application begins its journey with an advantage. Furthermore, by continuing to invest into the time that it takes to develop a comprehensive application, your end result is a more thoroughly thought through application that offers users a direct solution and immediate value.

Going beyond the value-proposition and the solutions that applications offer, the next level is both design and user experience based. It’sp important to note that the user experience is often regarded as the most important aspect of any application. Mainly due to the supersaturation of the application markets and the hyper competition that accompanies them.

A Look At The Newest Technology

When it comes to the new technology of applications, the choices range far and wide. One of the fastest growing technologies over the past decade is VR, or virtual reality. Some of the first iterations of VR came through gaming systems, like PS4, or Google Oculus. However, VR has a much deeper practicality than merely the video game market. Virtual reality technology has real life practicality in massive industries like healthcare, mental health, sporting, and even fashion.

By taking the time to learn the ins and outs of VR programming, your team will not only be able to build a quality VR system, but further, they’ll be able to construct a high-quality VR system that offers genuine practicality.

AR, or augmented reality, is next on the list. AR is a type of application that overlays additional imagery or visuals over physical locations. As you can imagine, this type of technology has a ton of potential. However, AR is still even a bit newer than VR, so many developers and programmers are still finding avenues through which to integrate and make use of AR in their application designs.

Finally, another technology that’s generating an incredible amount of buzz is facial recognition software. This software has quite swiftly become a popular feature. Think about the new Iphones and the ability to unlock your screen with a facial scan. On the flip side of this, however, is the dangers that facial recognition software poses to individual privacy. Many are weary that military and police institutions will leverage sophisticated facial recognition software inappropriately.

Value Versus Flash

When you boil it all down, successful applications have one thing in common: a strong and practical value proposition. This value proposition is then flushed out, developed, and used to inspire and create an MVP, or minimum viable product. The MVP leads to investments, funding, and partnership, which leads to a finished application, and finally your product launch.

Keeping that progression in mind, it’s rather clear that an application stuffed full of sophisticated technology is not guaranteed to be a success, nor even fully functional. It’s much more important in application development to focus on a fluid user experience, a strong value proposition, and aligned technology. By focusing on integrating only the modern technology that will benefit or elevate your specific value-propoisition, your application will stay much simpler and much more user-firendly.

Implementing User Feedback as An Appreneur

Once you’ve identified the value proposition and built the app, it’s time for an app launch. This is like cutting the big red ribbon on opening day, and it’s extremely exciting. Yet, the work is far from over. At this point in an applications life, your team needs to ensure that it remains relevant, updated, bug-free, and offers value to the user.

One of the most helpful strategies that appreneurs use is the user feedback in the app store. Paying attention to the app store reviews, and user feedback in general, brings your team better understanding of where they hit the nail on the head; and where their application could use some work.

A Brief Overview On What it Takes To Be an Appreneur

Noone said that being an apprenuer would be easy. And if they did, they lied. However, for the dedicated and committed appreneur, there are resources to help guide you. Do your due diligence, and conduct plenty of market research before jumping down the rabbit hole of your newest application, and consider the Picasso effect before attempting to tackle sophisticated application technologies like AR, VR, and Facial recognition.

For more information on successful appreneurship, or anything app development related, keep browsing NS804. NS804 is the application developer of the everyday appreneur.

How A Minimum Viable Product Helps You Identify Opportunities

Building a minimum viable product (MVP) is a smart move. Not only will it help you identify opportunities, but provide valuable insight into what your users truly want. And if you plan your MVP carefully, you’ll complete it successfully while keeping your development costs low.

1. The Minimum Viable Product Is A Powerful Tool In Your Arsenal

Every smart appreneur or enterprise takes advantage of the most effective tools available to them. Such a tool is the minimum viable product, which helps determine whether or not an app will be successful. Since an MVP is far cheaper and quicker to develop than a full-featured app, it’s a less risky option. The developer only focuses on the bare minimum features and tries to solve a problem that app users face.

But even with this reduced cost and risk, it’s vital to treat MVP development seriously. Don’t be self-indulgent with your ideas or implement trendy concepts that don’t align with what’s best for your business. An MVP is supposed to reveal whether users find your app appealing while you gather analytical data and feedback. Moreover, this MVP should diminish fears and concerns from investors and stakeholders about the prospects of your upcoming project.

2. Carefully Plan Your MVP To Reduce Development Costs

Before commencing with your minimum viable product, you’ll need to assess various factors. Firstly, understand what’s best for your business and what your long-term goals are for the app. Secondly, map out how app users will find your app and what pain points they may experience. Thirdly, decide on which features to prioritize based on the pain points and opportunities your target users present.

Use a prioritization matrix to help you determine which features to implement and which to leave out. Implement high impact and high urgency features while leaving out or revisiting low impact and low urgency features. By doing this, you’ll reduce development costs by building an MVP that strictly delivers the bare essentials.

3. Understand The Project Management Methodologies

From the most successful mobile app developers to elite business schools, the MVP has become indispensable. Undoubtedly, it can yield phenomenal results, provided it’s used for the right reasons and not as a panacea. That’s why it’s vital to understand project management methodologies, especially when running a lean startup enterprise. As an appreneur, mobile app developer, or even a business releasing its first app, you should have a handle on Agile practices.

Nowadays, many developers utilize the Agile methodology for delivering their products to app users quickly. But quick doesn’t mean bad, as Agile requires that each developer’s code is tested and passes code review before it’s added to the main branch. Furthermore, the development team will regularly engage the community and deliver updates continuously.

4. Your MVP Will Let You Know What App Users Want

Once you’ve released your minimum viable product, your users will start using it and give their feedback. Of course, you should be encouraging reviews and be engaging with users on as many channels as possible. You should also set up an analytics pipeline to effectively collect and analyze user data. All this information will let you know if you’ve created an MVP that’s worth scaling into a full-featured app.

And while developing an MVP may be less risky, this doesn’t mean that you should attempt it alone. For the best results, partner with an experienced development company that will help release your app within budget. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can assist you in creating MVPs that will appeal to new users.

When Should You Create A New App Versus Updating Apps?

When deliberating over updating apps versus creating an entirely new app, appreneurs face a serious dilemma. Will updating their existing apps continue to excite users, or will a new app take their business to the next level? We take a deeper look at both and answer several questions that you may have.

1. Should You Ever Stop Updating An Old App?

There are several reasons why you’ll want to stop updating an old app. For one, it’s so old that the user base has dwindled significantly, and it’s no longer feasible to provide updates. Secondly, it doesn’t run well on newer hardware, and an app update won’t take advantage of modern chipsets. Thirdly, your codebase has become bloated and unmaintainable that your app would benefit from a complete rewrite.

Of course, there’s always a risk that you’ll disappoint your loyal users if you stop supporting a much-loved app. Ensure that you don’t alienate these users by communicating that you’ll create an entirely new and improved app that will replace the older app. And make it easy for them to move to the new app via an effective onboarding process.

If you’ve invested heavily in an older app, it’s not necessary to abandon it. You can still refactor the codebase and keep releasing it to your existing customers. But even if you do a complete rewrite of your app, you can still launch it with the same bundle ID and app name, and your users would get it.

2. Is Updating Apps More Time Consuming Than Starting Over?

If you’re working with an experienced development team, then updating apps shouldn’t take much time. The team should regularly provide minor and major updates throughout the year to keep these apps relevant. And these updates will take the form of additional content, bug fixes, enhanced functionality, new monetization options, platform compliance, and security patches, to name a few.

However, it’s important to mention that it takes several weeks for Apple’s App Store and Google Play to approve bug fixes and updates. A competent team will make several fixes before submitting a revised app to the stores. Thus, saving valuable time and ensuring that users have the most up-to-date app available.

3. Are Your New App Design Ideas Limited By Old Code?

Whether we like it or not, a piece of software will always face obsolescence at some point. No matter how advanced and innovative your app is, it’ll become obsolete eventually.

For example, you may want to implement new app design ideas that take advantage of the bigger screen real estate of foldable phones. But your older apps were designed for smartphones with single and smaller screens. You decide to roll out an update that resizes your app for foldable phones, but users complain that it feels shoehorned and that the User Interface (UI) doesn’t feel native to their phones or that the User Experience (UX) doesn’t feel quite right.

You may be able to implement these new features with an app update. If you’re refactoring your codebase and following software best practices, then you should be able to make the necessary changes. However, if this isn’t the best solution, consider rewriting your app to take advantage of the latest smartphone features.

4. How Often Are Users Updating Apps?

Every time you release an app update, ensure that you’re monitoring how often your users are updating your app. Why this is so important is because it tells you if users are still interested in your app. If they’re not regularly updating, then it’s likely that interest is waning.

Furthermore, you must gather and analyze user feedback to determine what users truly want. Perhaps, they’ve grown tired of your app, as it no longer provides them with features they find valuable. Or your app’s lagging behind competing offerings, and you’ll need to create an entirely new app to remain relevant.

5. Is A New App More Profitable Than Updating?

It largely depends if your app can retain user interest over a long period. Consider the costs associated with updating your app every year, which is approximately 20% of your initial development costs. Within five years, you would’ve spent about as much on updating an existing app as you would on a new app.

If an existing app can retain profitability over five years or more, then updating makes sense. But if an app doesn’t retain a sizable user base over this period to ensure its profitability, it’s better to create a new app. Moreover, you’ll likely attract more potential users and expand your user base with a new app, provided you also properly market and promote it.

Another side benefit of releasing an entirely new application is for listing purposes in the app stores. When you launch an app for the first time, it will get listed in the ‘what’s new’ section. Inevitably, this will enhance your app’s visibility and help you draw new users that you could never reach before.

6. Did A Major App Update Perform Well Or Not?

A major app update will increase brand loyalty as long as you provide users with the features they want. But it can also go horribly wrong if you’re not careful. When you’re implementing additional functionality, this inevitably increases your costs. Ideally, you’ll want to monetize these extra features, especially if users find these valuable. However, it’s also possible that users don’t want to pay for these features, meaning that you won’t see a meaningful ROI.

7. Can You Transfer User Settings To A New App Easily?

Do keep in mind that there are often compatibility issues when attempting to run older apps on new hardware. But compatibility issues don’t end there. If an older app uses a different file format from a new app, transferring user settings will prove difficult.

Of course, a competent developer will offer a workaround that allows users to transfer their settings. However, it’s always good practice to implement commonly-used data formats such as JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). All your apps should parse data with this format to make it easy for users to move to your latest app without inconveniencing them.

8. Is It Too Difficult To Add New Features To Your App?

It shouldn’t prove too difficult to add new features to a well-designed and engineered app. If you’re working with an experienced developer, such as NS804, updating apps won’t be a problem. But if your app has become bloated after several updates or suffers from technical debt, it will become hard to maintain. Moreover, adding new features will only make your app more unstable while negatively affecting its usability.

It’s crucial that your projects allow you to implement your new app design ideas. Users are always looking forward to features and improvements that make their favorite apps more engaging. Therefore, an outdated codebase can become a liability if it’s hindering you from moving forward with your ideas.

9. Will A New App Boost Your User Base?

There are no guarantees that your latest app will succeed if you release it out in the wild. It’s always easier and less costly to promote an existing app than an entirely new offering. But if you want to know if your new app design ideas are feasible, then it’s best to create a minimum viable product (MVP) to measure interest. After all, it costs less and takes less time to make an MVP than a full-fledged app, which inevitably reduces your risk.

Once you’ve ascertained that your MVP has gained traction with users, it’s time to scale. You can now move ahead and implement more of your ideas that’ll differentiate your app in a crowded marketplace. Be sure to market and promote your latest app to reach new users and increase your user base. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you create a new app that engages and excites your users.

Why You Need A Digital Marketing Plan To Promote Your App

Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your app in a crowded market. And it starts with a carefully drawn-up plan that contains all the strategies to help you reach your audience. Below, we provide a few handy tips to help you build your brand the right way.

1. Have A Digital Marketing Plan From Day 1

Months of hard work creating your app should eventually lead to returns that justify its development. But how certain are you that this will happen? If you’ve developed your app without a marketing strategy, then your chances of success are murky. After all, the app stores have a plethora of quality apps in almost every genre and niche imaginable.

But if you’ve drafted a digital marketing plan at the start of the development cycle, you’ll likely release an app that gains traction with its target audience. The marketing plan will help you attract, convince, and convert customers. Furthermore, it will contain all the strategies to attract these customers and how you’ll segment your marketing campaigns.

2. A Digital Marketer Will Identify The Best Ways To Reach Your Target Audience

If you’re an appreneur that wants to build your brand, you’ll need to work with the right people. Ideally, you’ll either have a digital marketer on your team or work with a company that offers marketing services. The marketer will draft a document that outlines your marketing plan in detail and contain the following:

  • List all relevant business goals
  • Detail the strategies to achieve these goals
  • Digital channels to use to reach your audience
  • A comprehensive plan of the development cycle
  • Budget considerations
  • Milestones and roadmap

Furthermore, the marketer will conduct a SWOT analysis of your company relative to its competitors and the overall market. This process will help identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that your company faces.

3. Don’t Neglect App Store Optimization (ASO)

Your digital marketer may have suggested that you produce YouTube videos and do content marketing to reach your audience. However, this doesn’t mean that you should neglect app store optimization (ASO). Why this is so important is because the app stores are where your audience is.

For the best results, compile an app store optimization checklist, utilize app store SEO tools, focus on top keywords, and study your competitors. And don’t forget to design an engaging icon, use stunning screenshots, showcase your app with videos, pick a catchy app name, and encourage user reviews.

4. Build Your Brand On All Relevant Platforms

It’s always a good idea to push your app to as many platforms as possible. While the mobile app market is large and lucrative, don’t focus on Android and iOS exclusively. Try and build your brand on all platforms where your app can potentially find an audience.

The web offers budding appreneurs new opportunities, especially with the growing popularity of progressive web apps (PWAs). Furthermore, Apple’s M1 and Microsoft’s SQ2 processors are gradually transforming the desktop space and creating demand for apps that take advantage of these ARM-based systems.

5. Digital Marketing Can Also Benefit Your MVP

Conducting market research is usually the first step before commencing with a minimum viable product (MVP). You’ll want to identify the pain points that users experience and provide them with a solution that solves these. Thus, a digital marketing plan covers these pain points in detail so that the MVP developers can comprehend them. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help your development and marketing endeavors for a successful app launch.

Beat App Building Competition With Thorough Research

Spending time on research will give any appreneur an edge in the app building competition arena. It’s an overly competitive market out there, and developers need to do their homework if they’re going to succeed. Moreover, extensive research should always precede the app development and marketing processes. Below, we provide several handy tips on how to conduct research before developing your next app.

1. App Building Competition Doesn’t Mean Give Up

Many appreneurs build an MVP to beat their competitors to market and enjoy a leading position. But with a deluge of apps in the app stores, it’s not always possible to be the first to market. Now, that may demoralize many budding appreneurs entering the market in 2021 and beyond. They may feel dissuaded from developing their app and testing out their cool ideas. However, it’s possible to succeed even in an excessively competitive market with the right approach.

The app marketplace is always giving us signals about what works and what doesn’t. But many of these signals seem cryptic or obscure, especially to inexperienced developers. Quite often, they don’t even know what to look for and where to begin their research. That’s why it’s critical to have a plan of action based on tried-and-true research methodologies.

2. Market Research Gives You An Edge

If you’re serious about making an impact in the app marketplace, you need to conduct market research. But why is this so important? Well, once you launch your app, you’ll likely only get one shot to make an impact. While users may download your app, this doesn’t mean that they’ll use it for prolonged periods. According to Statista, 25 percent of downloaded apps between 2010 to 2019 have been used only once, globally.

What this data reveals is the fickle nature of users. But it also tells us that many developers don’t take the time to research the marketplace. Given the low bar of entry, many developers throw everything at the wall hoping that something sticks. But that’s a bad strategy and only leads to failure in most cases.

Thus, an effective way to gain an edge in such a competitive marketplace is to do your homework. By conducting extensive market research, you’ll determine if your app idea is feasible, frame your business model, and solidify your marketing strategy.

3. Research App Stores

The App Store and Google Play are the first places you should check out when conducting your research. Start by browsing the store pages of all the highest-ranking apps and those in the same category as the app you’ll be making. Then, carefully study the screenshots, wording, and user reviews of these apps. Narrow down your closest competitors and use analytics tools such as App Annie to gain greater insight into what makes them so successful.

4. Build An MVP

In the app building competition game, it makes sense to use the most effective methods. You may have come up with several good ideas that could lead to a potentially lucrative app. But these ideas aren’t worth much if they’re only theoretical and remain untested.

One of the best ways to see if your ideas can gain traction in the marketplace is to build an MVP. An MVP reduces the risks and costs associated with releasing a full-fledged product. Depending on the complexity of your app, an MVP could cost between $ 25,000 to $ 100,000.

5. Use MVP As A Research Tool

A key reason to build an MVP is that you’ll gain invaluable feedback and insight from your users. Without a doubt, this user data will give you a clear picture if you’re on the right track. Furthermore, you’ll have an opportunity to iron out the kinks before your product’s final release.

6. Discover If There’s A Real Need

You may be obsessed with some of your ideas and eager to implement them in your upcoming app. These ideas may seem great to you and your team but not necessarily to your target audience. Therefore, it’s better to take some preparatory steps before embarking on such a costly and potentially risky endeavor.

It’s vital to discover if there’s a real need for your app, and you can do this with a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a simple procedure that allows you to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, as these pertain to your app and organization.

7. Understanding ASO Research And Development

One thing that sets apart successful appreneurs is their extensive knowledge of ASO research and development. ASO stands for App Store Optimization and is powered by keywords similarly to search engine optimization (SEO). Several years ago, you could be forgiven for not knowing much about ASO. But app stores have matured, which makes ASO a mandatory field that no appreneur should ignore.

A crucial part of ASO research and development includes researching and implementing keywords. Initially, you’ll find out what keywords your closest competitors use and what works well on the app stores. Then, you’ll implement 2-3 keywords, but as your ASO campaign matures, you may even implement up to 5 keywords.

8. Look At Trends In User Needs

We’ve already mentioned that app users tend to be fickle. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as users’ ever-changing needs drive innovation. That’s why it’s essential to keep abreast of user trends and respond with apps that will engage them.

You should regularly peruse reports and white papers that track these trends. Read user reviews to pinpoint common problems and what features users commonly request. Also, make it a habit to read blogs from tech insiders and other authoritative sources that reveal upcoming developments.

9. Test User Engagement Strategies

Ideally, your app should be solving pain points that users regularly experience. But you’ll only know for sure if your app’s meeting expectations by testing user engagement. Make onboarding as frictionless as possible and give your users clear instructions of what to do next, and encourage them to unlock content and additional features.

Add analytics, then collect and analyze data to see how users are engaging with your app. A few things you’ll be looking out for include how often users open your app, how long sessions last, and if any anomalies occur. And implement personalized push notifications to aid users when they experience specific issues.

10. Develop For The User, Not The Brand

While it’s vital to build your brand, don’t prioritize this over your users. After all, most users seldom care about the brand behind an app. What keeps them using an app are its features and any benefits they derive thereof.

If you’ve properly researched your target audience, then you’ll know what engages and repels them. For example, if you’re developing a streaming app for audiophiles, then you should ensure that music streams run at a high bitrate. And since audiophiles tend to pay for content and expect a premium experience, they don’t want to deal with disruptive ads. Thus, give them the option to pay to remove ads, even if your business strategy revolves around the ad model.

The Bottom Line

Thorough research makes all the difference in the world when trying to beat the competition. It’s a long and complex process, but it’s worthwhile since you’ll gain a better understanding of the market and if your app actually stands a chance. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you develop an app that leaves the competition in the dust!

The Toolbox of The Appreneur

The Tricks Of The Appreneur Trade Start With The Tools

Every trade has masters to look to for exemplary work. However, an important aspect to keep in mind when admiring these great achievements, is where those masters began. They certainly didn’t start their journeys creating masterpieces. In most cases, the greatest successes have modest and humble beginnings. Simply learning any trade takes years, and mastering a trade is a whole different story. There is hope, though. For instance, Malcolm Gladwell theorized that it only takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to master any skill. In other words, practice does make perfect, even for an appreneur.

Before anyone masters anything, however, the fundamentals need to be conquered; and this is true regardless of industry, practice, or trade. In the context of appreneurs, though, it means reaching a deep understanding of the tools and resources available that will guide your application development process. From data to the complexity of the app stores, pitching investors, and much more, let’s start filling your appreneur toolbox so you’re prepared for your first day on the job site, so to speak.

The Importance of Learning The Appreneur Tools

It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning that there is real value in developing a deep and meaningful understanding of the tools used by appreneurs. By taking the time to learn and understand these various tools you’ll have the wherewithal to set out on meaningful app-development projects. Learning these tools will also help prevent you from making the same mistakes as others before you. The app market is a relatively tricky one, and starting with a comprehensive knowledge base gives you an immediate advantage.

One of the most valuable aspects of having this knowledge is the mistakes it helps developers avoid. For instance, creating a relationship with and utilizing these tools helps developers and programmers from creating clunky apps; it provides insight into red flags for which to watch out on the development journey; and it will help you tune into the needs of your consumers and users more easily.

The MVP: Minimum Viable Product

Most app-journeys begin with the ‘aha’ moment. The moment that the great idea was born. However, this is far from the point at which investors are taking a stake, or there’s any sort of buzz about your app. No, at this stage; it’s almost always just you and your good idea.

Enter: the MVP. While this may sound like a deus ex machina, in fact, it is not a most valuable player to save the day – but rather, the minimum viable product. The minimum viable product is an early form of an application that displays its basic functionality, core concept, and some design elements.

Much like a prototype in more traditional markets, the MVP is absolutely vital. One of the main reasons it’s such an important aspect of an application’s journey and development is that it often generates funding. MVPs are commonly the first introduction that investors and other potential partners are going to have to your application. Therefore, developing strong MVPs that garner and accelerate interest is vital to success in app development. The MVP sort of acts as both a teaser and a proof of concept; and it’s no secret that first impressions last.

App Store Data

The next tool to add to the box is data. Specifically, app store data. The app stores are important for appreneurs for a variety of reasons. Obviously, they represent the main marketplaces in which users can actually purchase, download, and discover applications. However, there’s much more to its value for an appreneur than that. For appreneurs, the app stores are rich mines full of data that covers a whole spectrum of categories.

Following the app store from week to week, for instance, sheds light on multiple factors. Firstly, it gives insight into the app store’s algorithm that rolls through and ranks apps. Secondly, and arguably, more importantly, it paints a portrait of user behavior and consumer trends. No matter which market you find yourself in, consumer behavior is one of the most telling elements that helps identify the next big success.

There are plenty of places to look within the app stores to find pertinent and valuable data. One of those places being direct competition.

Learning From Competitors

No one wants to reinvent the wheel. And for good reason. The same principle is why crafty appreneurs take the time to look at their direct competition before jumping into app development, or even MVP development. Since applications are designed to basically be as accessible as possible, appreneurs can use this to their advantage. By downloading and learning the ins and outs of a competitor’s application, you’re able to take notes on what you would improve as a designer or developer in your own version. The learning doesn’t stop there though.

Going a level deeper, examining user feedback, both positive and negative, will provide an elevated level of insight into the elements for which users in your specific niche market are looking. These elements include but are not limited to, functionality, design, the look and feel, the overall usability, and much more.

Taking lessons from the competition will give you and your team insight into features to be sure to include, as well as features that certainly should not be included. This sets your application on the right path, as you’re already taking consumer demands and needs into consideration before you’ve even released your first iteration.

The App Launch

Once you’ve built your all-star MVP that’s garnered enough interest and investment to take your app idea from concept to reality, it’s time for one of the most exciting stages in any app’s life. The app launch. The app launch is exciting for a myriad of reasons, but most notably, because it’s the first time that your application will actually be live on the app stores. Users will start seeing it in their feeds, and with the right marketing plan, downloads will begin in no time.

The app launch isn’t all fun and cocktails, though, as it’s another opportunity for your team to promote the app. After all, you’ve worked this hard to bring it here, there’s nothing wrong with getting a bit hyped up. Taking the time to plan an app launch, even a virtual one in this remote economy, helps push the word out about your app, drives early downloads, and theoretically builds an initial userbase that has a slightly higher sense of loyalty.

Leveraging and Implementing User Feedback

The app launch is in the past, the initial user base is cemented; you’re starting to wonder about what to develop next. Before you jump on that train, though, remember that applications are all about the user experience. User feedback, therefore, is one of the most valuable tools that any appreneur can access once their app is launched. By listening to the reviews that users leave, and giving strong consideration to the feedback provided by users, your team will have the knowledge they need to create valuable updates that don’t nuisance the users and continue to improve the user experience.

A Quick Wrap Up On Appreneur Tools

Learning any trade takes time, commitment, and practice. It’s no different with appreneurship. After reading this article though, you should at least have an understanding of which tools are important to learn, and why they offer so much value. For more information on mobile app development, appreneurship, or anything else app development-related; keep browsing the NS804 content library.