mobile app development

How To Start An App Business: Here's The Complete Guide [2021]

The app business is expected to grow more in the coming years

how to start an app

If you are a regular reader of MobileAppDaily then you might know that we previously discussed how apps are taking over in almost every industry vertical.

And we are not just talking about the mobile apps here, this includes web applications as well. Due to this rise in the App Development market, hundreds and thousands are switching their career paths and entering the app business.

But then why are people failing in setting up an effective app business? There are many reasons that can lead to the failure of the app business but mainly it all summons up to not putting efforts in the right place.

This is the Statista report, showcasing the number of annual app loads that were done in the year 2017 and along with that it also presents an estimation of worldwide mobile app downloads for the year 2018 and 2022.

efforts for app promotion

According to this forecast report, a total number of 178.1 billion mobile apps were downloaded and as per the growth rate by the end of the year 2022, the number can reach the threshold of 250 billion mobile app downloads.

With this guide, we will explain you the step by step process of starting your own app business. Now let's have a look at some statistics to get a slight clue of the competition in the field of app development.


The Contractiq stated the below-mentioned statics in one of their recent reports:

  • In the year 2017, it was seen that users spend almost four hours per day on their mobile phones.
  • From the year 2014 to 2016, a rise of almost 10% was seen in the enterprise demand for app development.
  • More than 60% of the application owners had revenue goals for their app businesses in the year 2016.

The Web and Mobile Application industry is a Multi-Billion Dollar industry that is worth hundreds of billions. What are you waiting for to join this business? If you think that a majority of apps concepts have already been developed then you are wrong.

Because there are countless applications that are yet to build and introduced in the app stores that means the scope is endless. Let's move:

Steps On How To Start An App Business:

1. The Idea

Every process starts with a thought and every business starts with an idea! This is the very first step and the steps after it will directly or indirectly depend on the idea. Basically, your idea regarding the app will act as a foundation base for your business.

Did you know that only 5% application development businesses end up being successful?

You don't have to be concrete about your app idea, be flexible about it. It happens many times, that the initial idea of starting a business was something different than the idea that has been finalized in the end stages of the process.

Your idea should be inspired by providing a solution to a common issue that is faced by quite a number of people. It can be related to healthcare or lifestyle or just for entertainment purpose.

2. R&D

Once the idea is finalized, the next step is to do the R&D and by that, I mean a ton of research. There may be times when your ideas might not be the best when looked in a practical way. But that's not a big deal to constantly worry about.

To overcome this issue, all you need to do is explore the market thoroughly to make up for your lack of experience in understanding the working of a web or mobile application business. In today's world, an application is an answer to all your queries.

By the way, I am pretty sure many of you don't know that Google Play itself is an app. So, even if you need a ride to go somewhere, want to order a milkshake from your favorite cafe or looking for a novel that is sold out all these issues can be now solved with the help of an app.

Having second thoughts and doubts regarding the whole process of starting a business. Remember that you will find an excessive amount of information regarding coding tutorial, tools for SEO and market analysis etc.

3. Choosing the Platform: Android vs iOS

According to a report by Statista, the worldwide smartphone unit shipment for the year 2017 was 1.52 billion units andit'ss predicted that in the next four to five years, this number will reach up to 1.74 billion.

Choosing a suitable platform for your app is the thing to do. In the early years, when app development initially came into the limelight there were several platforms to choose from. But now, after all these years the majority of market share is divided between the Android platform and the iOS platform.

smartphone stats

We can say, that the Windows platform is also available in the market but when compared to Android and iOS, windows is lagging behind with a huge difference between them. The app stores of iOS platform and Android platform are way different from each other so pick a platform once you are sure of your decision.

Looking at some of the previous reports, the statistics show that the Google Play Store is still the highest ranking store when it comes to the yearly number of app downloads. In the year 2016, the difference between the annual app download count between the iOS and Android app stores was more than 30 billion app downloads.

But, if we look from the revenue perspective then Apple has given itself a steady lead in the race from the past few years. As the yearly revenue for Google Play Store was 17 billion dollars and the annual revenue of Apple's app store was approximately 34 billion dollars, according to the statistic reports for the year 2016.

So, if you are someone who wants their application to reach to a huge crowd of people or is looking for advertisement purpose, then select the android platform. But if you are someone who wants to initiate an app business for the sole purpose of earning a greater revenue with their application, then opt for the iOS platform.

In one of our previous articles, we did a comparison on Mobile website vs Mobile application and stated their pros and cons. Although the web applications are not a bad option to proceed with, as they are cheaper to develop and also are universal in nature. But when compared to the mobile applications, these applications lack a number of features. So, we don't really recommend them as a great product to start your app business.

Pros of the Android platform:

  • The largest share in the market
  • Huge variety of devices
  • Higher audience reach 

Cons of Android platform: 

  • Less Ad Revenue platform
  • Fragmentation 
  • Higher Development Cost 

Pros of iOS platform:

  • Higher Revenue 
  • Less bug issues
  • Advanced and stable tools

Cons of iOS platform

  • Few users in comparison
  • The difficult app publishing process 
  • Doesn't support external storage  

4. Development

You are now chosen the platform that you want to move forward with, then the next stage is the phase of development. Basically, this is the phase where team building for your app business takes place i.e. search for reliable partners to work with and build a team with them.

This search of partners also depends on the idea of your app business and according to your requirement, start looking for suitable members. These business partners may be programmers, app designers, application developers, content writers, and many more. The team-building stage is the break it and makes it part, so try not to hurry when selecting reliable teammates for your business.

If you want to know the actual Cost Of Mobile App Development then these tables will give you an appropriate idea of the development cost for Android as well as iOS platforms.

costs to consider

feature in promotion

Below are some of the possibilities of building a team:

  • Freelancing Job Portals like Upwork can turn out to be of major help in case you are looking to hire a freelancer. To be honest, hiring an individual freelancer can be a little risky situation because this will be an offshore team member and sometimes communication can be tough so the development process can be delayed.
  • To hire a programmer or designer on a permanent basis is a safe option which will also save your money. Try to build your team by hiring one member for each department that is required. Some departments that will be included are App Development, App Designing, App Marketing and many more.
  • Another option is to directly appoint a complete team as a partner this means target on an app development company instead of focusing on individuals. In our option, if you are serious about your web or mobile application business then you should get in touch with an excellent app design and app development company to show you the right path.

One thing that would have to keep in mind is that the pricing tends to change in respect to the location of the developers/companies and also according to the complexity level of the app development and designing project.

5. Investment Planning

Now that you have your team with you, it's time to lay out an app business plan regarding the investment and various other factors. Try to collect as much as relevant insights you can gain in the market that you are targeting, this will come in handy in avoiding extra expenses related to the budget.

'Keep in mind while creating your business plan that has to be a combination of effective tactics and efficient strategy.'

A strategy may require time to become fully functional that's why you should initial make short-term plans with your strategy. And once the short term plans started to be fulfilled then move on to the long-term plans.

To get investment for your app business, below are some of the main options:

  • The simplest option is to invest in your own if you are able to afford it without being it a major burden.
  • Get in touch with some investors and explain your idea to them. Two of the main resources to look for a suitable investor are Crunchbase and AngelList. So, if you think your app's idea can bring a change in the world then you won't face any difficulty in finding yourself an investment partner.
  • Another popular investment option is to apply for a loan from a reputed bank or a verified financial institute and get the money for starting your app development business.

6. Prototyping

In this section, you and your app business partners will be taking a test drive of the app that has been built to launch your app development business. This is a very important step because in this part the improvements of the app take place. After the app has been tested, a feedback is sent back to the development and designing team.

Based on this feedback, further changes are made in the application, so that, by the time it hits the market, it is free of any issues. To make this process more smooth, you can ask your development team to create an interactive prototype to test out the prominent features and framework of your app.

7. Monetization

Monetization is the reality of the app industry because without monetizing your app business, how you will be able to earn revenue. So, here are some of the ways you can monetize your app:

  • IAP also known as In-App Purchases where the user will have to pay a specific amount of money to get access to an additional feature.
  • You can also opt for the option of direct selling where you can directly sell a number of products and services to your targeted audience.
  • Advertisements are one of the most common ways of monetizing but these ads are the one that also annoys the end-users the most. So, keep this fact in mind before finalizing the Advertisement option.
  • You can also launch two versions for your app: a free one and a Pro version but if you are someone who is just making their debut in the app development industry then you might want to wait with your pro version.

8. Marketing and Promotion

This is the last and the final step in the whole process of starting your own app business and without this last step, all your hard work can go in vain. This is because in today's world without good marketing and constant promotion, a product or service can never reach up to their true value.

marketing promotion

The above image shows some of the most effective strategies for mobile app marketing like Social media campaigns, teaser campaigns, viral promotion and many more.

Notable Social Media Platforms:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Make sure you keep an eye on your competitors' activities as well, it's true that marketing and promotion are costly services, but when used correctly, they are worth it.

Your job doesn't end here, even after the app marketing strategies are applied; you still need to keep a track of the app performance with respect to various other factors. Note down the positive as well as negative reviews that customers are leaving describing your services. These reviews will act as a base for your next app update or version release.

Final Takeaway

  • The scope of app businesses is wide and is spread in a majority of industry verticals.
  • Only 5 percent of app businesses end up being successful who are backed up with an innovative idea.
  • Looking from the revenue perspective, the iOS platform is the best.
  • If you aim to reach a wider audience, the Android platform is the one to choose.
  • It is better to hire an app development company instead of working with a freelancer.
  • IAP method is one of the best means of monetizing your application.
  • App marketing is a key aspect of this entire process.

So, these are all the main steps of the process explaining how to start an app business and also consider important steps before building an app. we would love to hear your thoughts on the same. So, if you are interested, just leave a ‘Comment’ in the section down below.

Aparna <span>Growth Strategist</span>
Written By
Aparna Growth Strategist

Aparna is a growth specialist with handsful knowledge in business development. She values marketing as key a driver for sales, keeping up with the latest in the Mobile App industry. Her getting things done attitude makes her a magnet for the trickiest of tasks. In free times, which are few and far between, you can catch up with her at a game of Fussball.

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