This post was originally published on Entrepreneur.
Back in the day, parents hoped their children would someday become successful doctors or lawyers, but nowadays, the epitome of success is much different. People dream of creating a viral app, selling it for millions of dollars and attaining the American dream quickly and seemingly easily. Not so fast.
The app industry, which is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, is much different than “traditional” industries in many senses, and its daily changes constantly transform the rules of the game. Since the app business is such a unique business, being an “appreneur” – an entrepreneur focused on creating an app — naturally requires unique traits and capabilities.
Here are a few examples of what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur in the mobile arena:
The term innovation takes on a whole new meaning for appreneurs. If you think the tech industry moves fast, just wait until you get into mobile. Nowadays, it’s not just about coming up with an original idea, it’s about making sure that by the time you finish developing your product it is still relevant to the industry. The app arena changes daily and innovation is not just part of the initial process but a daily struggle.
This is particularly true since the mobile ecosystem is uniquely built. Many mobile apps rely on other platform in order to exist and a major change made by one strong player could result in a mobile avalanche. That is why appreneurs must remain flexible and stay on their toes at all times.
Most good apps are focused on performing a single task perfectly. But think about it for a second, isn’t that so much different than what brands have been trying to sell for decades? Brands used to be all about selling consumers a whole lifestyle that usually included numerous products and merchandise. These products were normally expensive and accounted for most of the company’s revenue.
The app industry is completely different. It is all about keeping it simple and offering a product that’s incredibly refined, stylish and serves a single purpose. Unlike merchandise for example, apps are a cheap commodity which makes people more open to installing them.
Determine a monetization strategy
There’s no business model trickier than that off mobile apps. Many notoriously successful mobile apps with millions of users around the world still haven’t figured it.
Despite being a hot commodity, users just hate paying for apps. This creates a difficult challenge for appreneurs looking to give the people what they want — an excellent product that’s free of charge. Appreneurs must always make sure that their monetization model, whether it’s a download fee, in-app ads or freemium model, doesn’t push away potential users.
Flexibility is key
We are all familiar with the Coca-Cola myth, of a company that set out to create a new cough syrup and ended up with a popular beverage. Well, the app industry is full of crazy stories about products that started out as one thing and ended up changing their course. In fact, apps arerequired to adapt, adding new features and removing less-desired ones, in order to guarantee users a perfectly functioning and relevant product.
The ever-changing nature of the app arena calls for entrepreneurs with flexible minds. They need to embrace change and make their product adapt accordingly. Apps that fail to comply with the constant evolution of the tech industry will simply fall behind.
It’s all about the marketing
Yes, a spectacular idea is a must, and yes, impeccable execution is vital, but what’s really going to make your app skyrocket is how well you market it.
Mobile marketing is a whole new industry that’s completely different than traditional marketing, in that it allows appreneurs to carefully select their target audience. Mobile technology allows marketers to “hit” potential users with powerful messages that are specifically relevant to their interests and therefore resonate more than TV ads or billboards.
Another aspect be taken into account is search marketing and app store optimization. If your app is not up there in the rankings it would simply go unnoticed, regardless of how cool or functional it is.
While no brand can afford to ignore these options, appreneurs in particular must get familiar with them as part of their business and marketing strategy, and allocate the right resources in order to effectively promote their product.