I keep reading articles or watching videos of iOS businesses who made it and they share their wisdom of the Common 10 Mistakes iOS developers make. Guess what? Most of those mistakes, although they are worded as developer concepts, they are really business concepts.
Common Mistakes: Don’t need a marketing guy. Don’t need a business guy. Don’t need a business perspective. Usually worded as, I thought I would get rich quick, or Im looking for a one hit wonder, or Im a great programmer and I thought that was enough.
Well guess what, if you are going to sell something and make more than 99c for it, its gonna need a Business Plan. But don’t fret, it doesn’t mean you need an MBA to help you come up with a business plan. If you are a level headed guy-or-gal, you should be ok. You just need to know what to put down on paper. You WILL need a plan if you are going to be selling something more than lemonade 🙂
Its a plan, take out the word ‘business’ if you don’t want to. But just think about this, Steve Jobs wasn’t the business plan type. He wanted to run his company the way he wanted to. So they kicked him out of his own company because of that. True, they begged him to come back, but Jobs had learned a thing or two about making plans. That combination took Apple to the top.
So let’s just call it a plan, because you will jot down ideas to help you organize what you need to do. Let’s add the word operating, because it will be a hands-on kind of plan. And if you wanna get fancy, throw in the word Strategic, because it will take some key ideas to put this plan into action.
You need to analyze what you have and don’t have. Did you see the movie Public Enemy with Hackman and Smith? Well, if they’re big, you’re small, they’re slow and you’re mobile. To know what you can be, you gotta know what you are right now and what you’re missing.
1) Know your Strengths
2) Accept your Weaknesses
3) Spot market Opportunities
4) Identify any Threats
Once you know what you have and don’t have, you probably realize you have programming skills but no selling skills. This is typical and it sucks! Guys who invented things (engine, nuclear fission, electricity) get credit, but they don’t get the ladies! Why? Cause they don’t get the moolah! You always see pictures of Einstein and Edison dying poor. But the Presidents and CEOs of companies who make cars, weapons and electricity are sitting pretty making millions every year plus bonuses and benefits.
Its a known fact, business types will always make the money while smarties slave away in a lab somewhere. You therefore need a plan to sell whatever it is you know how to make.
Product: The app you created is of what type? What exactly did you make and what can it do. It might seem silly, but write it down. More importantly, have others around you look at it, use it and write down what THEY think the product is and does. Did you make something you thought was cool or did you discover a need that nobody was covering quite that well? How many products can you make in a year? What kind of products will they be, will a client pull or will you push in the App Store? Your costs will vary whether its push or pull, but they won’t be zero I can promise you that!
Price: According to the type of app you made, how should you price it? Market vs Cost. You definitely need to cover your costs. But there are different types of costs. These are things you need to identify in your Strengths and Weaknesses. Your upfront costs or initial costs might be high but you can throw them all in a pile as part of the price.
If you took out a loan for 1 year of living expenses while you code (computer, internet, Apple Membership, electric bill, water bill, food, cellular etc) and ended up with a $25,000 loan, you can’t price your app at $25,500 :). You gotta know a little bit about finance such that you spread those costs out over a long period of time. If you made 1 app that sold for $1 (net) and expect 500 downloads a month, thats about $6,000 a year. That would pay off a no-interest loan in 4.1 years. But your loan payments may only be $100 a month. Think about how many apps you think you can put out a year because with 2 apps having 500 monthly downloads, your income doubles.
Place: Where will people buy it? AppStore, website, Facebook ads, Email, word of mouth. Your costs will vary depending on where you have to sell it. True, AppStore helps you lower the cost of marketing your app but it may not be the ONLY place you have to promote your app. A client-pulled app is safer in the sense that it will let you know your income upfront and significantly reduce your costs. Depending on how you defined your app, what needs it covers and how it is priced, you will decide the right place. Tech forums are not the right place for medical apps. A highly priced app would be better off at a local expensive supermarket with a nice banner than via massive emails to your friends.
Promotion: How will you promote it? InApp? iAds? As mentioned before, will this app be push or pull? That tells you where your app will be purchased and thus where you need to push it or have it be pulled. There are many ways to promote your app but in the end you need to monitor your promotions to know which ones are working our for you and which ones aren’t. That’s how you decide where to invest more money in order to promote it.
This is a heavy pill to swallow. Let’s define a few the kinds of concepts we have talked about and you know are required for app selling.
2) Graphic Designers
Like it or not, these are 4 very different types of people.
Programmers are introverted, mathematical geeks and abstract thinkers.
Graphic Designers are free spirited, un-organized rebels.
Business people are demanding, goal oriented doers.
Sales people are social, pushy creatures that hate work. Selling is not work, its their way of life.
These are mutually exclusive human traits. Ask any psychologist. This is basically why you can’t be a one-man show. You must at least be a two-man show where one programs and the other does business. That’s how most successful businesses are spawned, grown or nurtured. That means you would have to outsource graphic design and sales. Business management and operations really need to be in sync and thus should not be separated from each other and outsourced.
Graphic design is a bit easier to outsource than business-ing and programming. Sales can be ‘pushed’ or outsourced to many platforms nowadays either web, print or digital. You must still know what those platforms are, what their potential is, monitor them and grade them to see which ones work and which ones don’t. But you MUST measure everything and question why something is working (not working) the way it is (isn’t).
I don’t want you to read off with the wrong idea. Yes you CAN make it! Its just not gonna be easy, like everything in life, if you want it to be good, you have to work at it. Don’t be shy or scared of delegating and teaming up. Make sure you cover all angles, development (programming & design), business (operations & management) and sales!
Everyone must be a salesperson if they want to succeed!