Entrepreneurs – Creating Your First Mobile App

So you came up with a great app idea and have been thinking about it for a while now but aren’t sure where to start. I am writing this article from my personal experiences of being involved in the field, in hopes to guide you in the right direction.

Determine platform to support

After the idea stage, you will need to start planning what your target market is, and what will be the best avenue to reach that target market. In other words: Is your target market mainly an Android crowd, Apple crowd, Blackberry or a combination of them?

Mockups/Wireframe

The next step is to begin planning out your app on paper or using a mockup tool. This will help you visualize your app and it will help you when approaching developers to explain your idea. These mockups do not have to be very detailed, just some basic screen layouts will suffice. Below is an example of a wireframe in its beginning stages; a good group of developers can take these and provide suggestions based on their experience in the field.

wireframe example

Finding the Right Fit

Perhaps the most important step in developing your app is finding the right person or group of people to work with. There are a couple of things to consider when trying to find the right candidate for the job:

1) Full time vs Part time developers (freelancers)

If possible, I would recommend working with an established developer or team of developers that focus on app development full time. These developers will generally have a better understanding of what it takes to make your idea a reality and will offer you a pretty accurate timeframe based on their experiences.

Part time developers are good as well, however they have other responsibilities they have to attend to first, putting your project as an after thought. For example, you know a strong programmer that you want to hire for your project but they already have a full time job, so the only time they would have time to work on your idea, is after work usually in the evenings. This makes communication harder and the overall development timeframe will be at least doubled.

2) Local vs Outsource

Okay, so once you have compared the pro’s and con’s of a full time vs part time developer, it’s time to determine if you want it done locally or outsource. Let me get straight to the point, outsourcing is cheaper and sometimes quicker. This may be a good starting point to get a quick prototype done to present to investors.

If you are looking for a long term solution and an app that will keep being developed as it grows, outsourcing will cause nothing but headaches. At the end of the day, the outsourcing company or freelancer, is across the globe in a foreign country. If they decide they are finished working for you, you are left empty handed and having wasted your time.
With a local freelancer or team of developers, you have the opportunity to meet with them face to face and discuss new concepts, future plans ask them questions etc… Meeting face to face has a lot more benefits than trying to communicate over email or skype, where things may get lost or misinterpreted.

Another point when deciding between the two has to do with intellectual property. This quote below does a great job of explaining it:
“”Yes, you could outsource your mother’s funeral if you chose, and more than likely she’d get buried at a low price. But chances are that you’ll later discover her jewelry didn’t get buried with her. In the technical world, outsourcing invariably translates to unethical technology transfer of your intellectual property to any of your competitors who also outsource to the same company. “”
When outsourcing, do you really know that your idea is safe? If it gets out, who do you hold responsible?

Shop around – best price isn’t always to right way to go

So you contacted a few different freelancers and companies and are now price shopping, which is great but just remember, the best price isn’t always the right way to go. Do you want to save a little bit of money, or do you want to do things right and maximize the potential success of your app? It is a trade off that will require careful examination and differs in every case.
I would recommend setting up meetings face to face if possible in order to truly get a good feel about who the developer(s) is(are), what he/she can do. Simply put, see if you can get along with them and if they seem knowledgeable.

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