Tips to be a Successful Appreneur

Do you have what it takes to be a successful appreneur? Read on for our tips and tricks on how to best harness your skills and to make sure you’re getting the most out of your app business.

Appreneur is one of the hottest professions today. With the explosive growth of the app ecosystems, more and more entrepreneurs are interested in building their own mobile applications and founding app startups.

Your friends here at Kogi mobile have made a commitment to help App entrepreneurs to Make Informed Decisions about mobile app development. We’re ones to keep our word so please find below, for your reading pleasure, a list of tips and tricks on becoming a successful app entrepreneur.

Who’s is an Appreneur?

First thing’s first… what is an appreneur? Whilst it has not made it’s way into the Oxford English Dictionary just yet, appreneur could become for you the most identifiable word of 2016. The term was coined as a useful way to describe an entreprenuer who creates mobile apps and builds app startups.

Wikipedia describes it as:

“… a neologism that combines the term entrepreneur and the term application software. An appreneur is specifically an entrepreneur who works in the mobile device application industry, as well as in the emerging micropayment economy”

How to be an Appreneur

There really are no pre-requisites for becoming an app entrepreneur- nor is anyone excluded from joining the party. As long as you are old enough to hold a mobile phone, have some kind of budget or access to capital to finance; yourself, talent, creativity and commitment are the only things holding you back. Anyone who can build a mobile app has the potential to make money on the app market.

There have been numerous crazy success stories where indie developers and teenagers building apps have become overnight success stories. Flappy Bird is one such example, which at it’s peak was pulling in $50,000 from in-app advertisements.

Don’t get me wrong. Being an app entrepreneur is not an easy job and not everyone gets the lucky break that the Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen did. It’s a long road to success and requires a lot of hard work!

Fortunately, we are here to guide you on becoming a successful appreneur.

#1 Know the App stores by Heart

Appstore rankings can make or break an app. The first step for an app entrepreneur is to know app stores by heart.

Spend some time in there, browse through categories and top charts, see what are the new trends, check for popular publishers and see what makes them special. Learn from other publishers in the app store.

Not all app stores are the same, both iOS Store and Google Play Store have different guidelines and best practices. Study them both and understand how they differentiate.

If you want your app to be visible in app stores search results start mastering App Store Optimization (ASO). Successful App Store Optimization results in a high position amongst an app store’s search results and ranking charts.

If you are new to ASO and don’t know where to start you can take a look at our App Store Optimization Guide for Beginners.

#2 Learn from Others Mistakes — Study Others Failures

Don’t just simply study top charts and successful apps, also look into the bottom of the charts. Study failures as well as successes. This will teach you what not to do. See what caused them to fail.

Comparing good-ranking apps with failure will give you an idea of what to do and what not to do.

Is it the graphics? is it the UX? is it the reviews? is it the concept? or is it simply the lack of App store optimization and marketing?

Try to understand why they failed and do not repeat those mistakes.

“Align your app with models of other successful apps: Many failures try and stick too rigidly to their original ideas and are not flexible enough to emulate the format of similar successfully tried and tested apps. CHAD MURETA, CEO OF APP EMPIRE AND CO-FOUNDER OF T3 APPS, EMPIRE APPS, AND BEST APPS”

#3 App Development Stage

There are many ways of building mobile apps as well as different technologies to build apps with.

You need to have a solid plan and a goal before you write any code. Sketch out your app, create wireframes that map out your idea. Talk to an expert to see if what you are trying to build is even possible with the existing technologies.

Once you have a plan then you can decide how to proceed with the development process. Fortunately, most development agencies can guide you on your next steps and if you are not technical help you decide what technologies to utilize.

App technology:

There are a couple of mobile app technologies to choose from when it comes to app development. You can either build native apps (Java for Android and Objective-C or Swift for iOS) or cross-platform (Hybrid) applications.

Make sure you understand the difference between these technologies and see which technology suits your goals best.

For instance, your idea might work better as a native app rather than a hybrid app so consulting an expert and doing research before writing any code is crucial.

Freelancer vs Agencies

If you are not an app developer and can not write your own code then you are left with a couple of options.

You can either partner up with a developer to tackle app development, hire a freelancer to build your app or contract an app development agency to take care of all the development work for you.

This is a decision you need to make depending on your budget and needs.

Freelancers charge less upfront, but you run the risk of receiving an optimal quality app or even worse nothing at all. If you are not technical and if you do not have strong leadership skills, and are able to properly manage programmers we advise you not to go this route.

Agencies, on the other hand, are more expensive and you will need capital to be able to work with one but you hire a whole team in return (Graphic designers, web developers, app developers, backend developers, testers, project managers etc).

Agencies are a lot more reliable and responsive. Typically you sign contracts so there are guaranteed deliverables. Working with an agency you will receive a functional build that you can rely on.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

If you are tight on budget and want to test your idea before investing a whole lot of money into a full product we suggest considering an MVP.

Minimum Viable Product is a simple, stripped down version of your app with minimal features necessary to enter into the market.

Wikipedia describes it as:

“Minimum viable product (MVP) is a product which has just enough features to gather validated learning about the product and its continued development. Gathering insights from an MVP is often less expensive than using a product with more features which increase costs and risk in the case where the product fails, for example due to incorrect assumptions.”

Building an MVP is a lot faster and cheaper due to its simplicity and you can gather useful early user feedback and test the markets to validate your idea before building the full version of your app.

Bonus: You can contact investors with the data you gather through your MVP to get funding. If your idea picks up and you generate users and revenue then you can ask for funding to build the full version of your app.

Further Reading: Here is an article about how to validate your app idea before investing a fortune into a full product.

#4 Have A Monetization Strategy

Dig into app monetization strategies and see which one best suits your goals. Paid apps, Freemium, in-app purchases are all app monetization strategies and all have different benefits and drawbacks.

That said, there is no concrete business model for app monetization. Basically, the app monetization technique which can bring money depends, almost completely, on your app.

With millions of mobile apps in the market, your first goal should be to get visibility and generate a user base for your app. Once that’s done you can then focus on your monetization strategy and see what works best for you by studying your competition and trying out different techniques.

Further reading: Choosing the Right App Monetization Strategy by Dan Kosir

#5 Analyze App Data

Test, measure, and analyze your apps!

If you want to improve your apps performance and maintain traffic you need to constantly analyze your app usage and see what is working and what is not working.

Keep a close eye on your app analytics and run weekly/monthly reports to understand user behavior and verify if your marketing efforts are working.

Mobile analytics companies like Flurry provide a ton of metrics for you to look at but you are the one who needs to decide which metric to focus on depending on your goals.

#6 Master App Marketing

Daniel Roberts CoFound & Product Manager at Jawns

“Marketing, marketing, marketing. If you think you’re going to build it and then they will come, you are almost 100% wrong. It’s not like it used to be and the market is crowded. You should build social marketing features into the app and work with your vendor to see how they can help with distribution of the app.”

App markets are becoming incredibly competitive so app store marketing is app entrepreneurs best friend. You will need to be on top of ASO and App Marketing to be able to rank your app higher in the search engine and app stores.

The better you are at marketing your app the more downloads and users you will get.

There are many app marketing strategies out there so if you are not already familiar with app marketing you should start researching.

Recommended reading: Quick Tips for Marketing Your Mobile App in the Apple App Store by Apptentive.

#7 Keep Reading and Learning

If you want to master the art of being a successful appreneur you will need to constantly learn and try new things. The Internet is full recourses and there are tons of useful articles written by successful app entrepreneurs sharing their experiences. So get out there and engage in appreneur communities, ask questions, read others success stories, learn from their mistakes and experiences.

Originally published at on May 19, 2016.

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