Every entrepreneur remembers the moment they came up with a brilliant idea for a startup. That is why it’s difficult for tech leaders to realize when it’s time to try something else. The most common mistake made by entrepreneurs is being too fixated on an initial idea, while ignoring industry changes and consumer feedback. In order to be successful, leaders must break out of certain patterns of thought and focus more on adapting to anything at any point.
When launching an app, you can be sure that you’ll be working on many future versions that include not only minor tweaks, but some significant changes. So when should you make these changes? This post lists five major red flags that scream: “CHANGE YOUR APP NOW!”
Less Is More
Did you build another revolutionary social-network-live-streaming-healthtech app? When it’s time for you to launch your product, you might be in for a surprise. Many apps roll out their first version with a variety of different features and very quickly realize that users only respond to some of them. While this means you should immediately remove those unused features, it’s also a very good thing. Users are basically telling you what they think your app should be about.
A solid beta testing phase could, and should, give you a clue as to what users are expecting. In fact, there are tools designed especially for tracking users’ actions in order to learn and change your app accordingly. But as the industry changes, so do users’ needs and preferences. Now that you know what works well with your users, you can work on improving and perfecting your key features in order to generate even more users.
The User Is Always Right
You’ve done the right thing, identified your most valuable feature, perfected it to a tee, and finally launched your app. A day or two pass, a week, two weeks, but users aren’t reacting to it the way you’d hoped they would. Just in case it’s not obvious enough – this is a major red flag.
If your app is based on a single feature and users aren’t doing what they’re “supposed” to do – that means you’re entire product is in jeopardy and you must act quickly. It could also mean that your mobile strategy could use a few adjustments, or that the onboarding process failed to properly market your app to users. In any case, you cannot afford to be stubborn and convince yourself that your user experience was just fine.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Always be aware of your competition. So many apps are being released every single day and if you want to stand out you must always be one step ahead of the game. Here’s an example: When Facebook announced a new a feature that lets users address a group of people and offer them to purchase an item, e-commerce apps that were based solely on a similar feature had no way to compete. In order to survive, such apps had to tweak certain features or even change their concepts entirely.
Stay Two Steps Ahead
Industry and policy changes are a daily fixture in the world of apps. If you’re working on an app now, chances are that by the time you’re ready to launch it, the industry will be slightly, if not very, different than it was when you were in the initial stages of development. In order to create a relevant product, entrepreneurs must always be aware of industry changes and adapt quickly.
For instance, Facebook’s decision that apps using Facebook connect will no longer be able to utilize users’ friends and connections on the platform in order to personalize the user experience. The policy recently came into effect after it was announced after it was announced last year, and all apps based on Facebook connect had some serious reevaluations to make.
These apps can consider themselves lucky, because many developers are not given such a grace period to adjust. If your app is heavily based on another platform, you should follow that platform closely and try to predict strong policy changes before they occur.
This last one is pretty straight forward – if you’re in the midst of a funding round, and you get rejected by investors over and over for the same reason, it’s time to do something about it. Complying to what investors tell you doesn’t mean you’re doing it to please the guys in the suits and giving up on your own agenda and dream. Investors are part of your audience, and their feedback is also incredibly valuable to the rest of your target audience. So buckle up and make the necessary tweaks.
In some cases what needs to change is actually your marketing story and pitch, but if you receive specific feedback regarding your product – you might want to listen. This is particularly true when the investors themselves have a strong background in your field. Marketing your app differently and pivoting is far from admitting failure. In fact, it says a great deal about who you are as a developer and entrepreneur. Who knows? The decision to change route just might turn out to be your smartest move yet.