Building a business from mobile applications…there’s a method to the madness

Reading the success stories of mobile application developers in other markets raking in the millions from what would seemingly be a  “why couldn’t  I think of that idea” scenario, is enough to make any local developer go green with envy and even add a sprinkling of self doubt.
The reality is that there is a method to the madness in as much as the success of the applications is obvious after the fact. I have said to people many times before that ideas are not mutually exclusive and execution is what matters. Move too early or too late and you lose out.Branding is the crucial start, if your thinking of building a business from mobile applications. What you call your application will be key to its discoverability and you have to ensure that it will connect with your target users. You should also do a check on the name to see if there is a possibility of future conflict with other businesses. You don’t want court cases once your app or service goes viral and starts minting.

You will only be as successful as the numbers that you engage in the mobile app ecosystem. How you go to market is very important as the cost of traditional media in Kenya is very high. Using social media platforms and targeted mobile marketing should give you the initial boost in numbers after which I hope your application has tools to encourage users to spread the word.  You can also talk to the mobile operators to promote your application on their mobile portals.

A business should make money right? So what are the options of monetizing your applications? Depending on the flavor of the application you can offer one-time paid downloads, freemium downloads – where a purchase will unlock full value allowing users to test the application, subscription based engagement – where users pay a fee monthly or annually to use the application, or an ad supported model – which may not make you much at this point in time due to limited inventory of local mobile advertising that would be of value to local users and therefore encourage ad engagement that would earn you revenue.

Not all mobile applications are meant to have users in the hundreds of thousands. Having decided on your target market and niche, you must measure the uptake and performance of your mobile application or service. How many downloads are you getting? How are users interacting with your application? How long are they engaging? Collection of this and many more metric will give you insights on how best to enhance your service experience, leading to better user experience and satisfaction.

In the business of mobile application development, more so for the mass consumer segment, you will see many misses before you hit your homerun. The key is to continually churn out ideas and follow a process that will allow you to replicate your success across many properties once you get your secret sauce.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.
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