How To Start Your Own iPhone Application Business – Part I: Basics

by cyrus on Oct 16

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One of the best ways to make money online is by taking advantage of the hottest trends in the tech market and get a jump start over your competitors. iPhone development is one of the hottest avenues for entrepreneurs to make money online. And with the latest decision by Apple to allow in-app purchases for free apps, there are more ways to adopt a freemium business model and start making a living off of those so-called “free apps.” Starting an iPhone business is very similar to any other business. You will need to have a plan, an idea that works (though you could use simple apps to start a business as well), and execute your plan in a manner that would give you business the best chance to succeed.

There are many developers who start writing their apps without testing their market and conducting a comprehensive business analysis. You can be the best developer in the world, but if you don’t approach your development venture as a business, it’s going to stay your hobby. Every-time you want to develop a product, you need to do your research, identify your audience, their potential need, and ways to market your product. You also need to be prepared to offer after-sale support to keep your credibility with your customers.

If you are planning to start your iPhone business, here are a few things you need to pay attention to:

  • Market Analysis: before starting your application business, make sure you know your market. Study the best cases, identify the best tools for your app development, and do research on your market to find out who your competitors may be in your niche. Even if you don’t have a clear idea what you want to develop, as long as you know your niche, you should have no trouble identify a list of your potential competitors.
  • Idea: there are a lot of people who have developed simple apps that have gone viral. Your idea doesn’t need to be earth shattering. Applications such as iFart went viral, but they were not too complicated in concept. Keep it simple.
  • Prospects: closely tied to the above steps. You want to make sure you know who your ideal audience is. Not everyone’s going to like your app. But as long as you can figure out who may be interested in your app, you can pin down her needs and offer more value.
  • Business Model: there are many different business models you can adopt for your app business. Some people make money from free apps (with advertising). You can also offer a freemium app (asking people to upgrade for premium features). Either way, make sure you decide on your business model and avoid confusing your customers.
  • Product Development: if you are planning to develop your app by yourself, you want to make sure you stay on the top of the latest technologies and best cases out there. The SDK is changing all the time, and you need to keep up if you want to develop an app that people want to download and share with others.
  • Team Building: closely tied to the previous step, if you just want to run the business, you want to do your due diligence to hire people who can get the job done.
  • Strategy: there are a lot of people who would pay for bundles if you can offer them more value. If you can bundle up your app with a complementary product, you can provide more value to your customers.
  • Promotion: there are plenty of free ways to promote your app. Whether it’s creating mini-sites for your app and optimizing it for search engines, using Google Adwords and other advertising services to push your apps, or just creating YouTube videos to help others decide whether your app is worth it, there are plenty of ways to push your app. I have to admit, offering a freemium app is the best way to promote your app. At least offer a lite version of your app.
  • Branding: business 101 really. If you plan to stay in this business for long, you need to brand your business, and you need to work on building credibility with your customers. That would also mean you won’t get away with sub-par apps.
  • Business 101: recruiting, idea protection, business management, and planning are all the basics that everyone needs to master to run a real business more effectively. Running an iPhone app business is not that different from any other business.

The business of iPhone development is going to get even hotter in the upcoming months. Starting an iPhone application business is not too difficult, but it does take a bit of work. There are a lot of people who can write apps, but not too many who can go viral and make real money from their apps. Paying attention to the above items should give you a better chance of making it in this industry. Of course, you want to stay tuned for the second part of this series for more details.

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