Building An App on a Budget

    woman holding phone

    You probably already have an understanding of how important mobile is in today’s environment. Having a mobile app is one of the most important ways to connect with current customers and cultivate loyalty. It’s also essential for attracting new customers and improving retention.

    While apps are invaluable for most businesses and are necessary to remain competitive, there’s an issue.

    It’s not inexpensive to develop an app. If you work with an agency, it can cost more than $100,000 to build an app. Costs for app development can go up much higher than that. Smaller apps with fewer features and less complexity can cost quite a bit less—anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 in most cases. Still, even simple apps aren’t inexpensive to develop and maintain.

    There are ways you can develop an app and get all the benefits they bring without spending at the upper end of the range.

    The following are some tips to help you build an app on a budget.

    Use an App Builder

    A great way to save money on the cost of building an app and also save time is to use an app builder platform like Buildfire.

    With Buildfire or a similar service, you bring them your idea. Then, you can create use rapid prototype features to work through the visual components of your app. This can be done without working with developers. You can then edit your development along the way.

    When you use a service that provides you shortcuts you don’t have to spend the money to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Rather than for example trying to develop a messaging feature from scratch and then having to maintain it you can get that feature from the service and save yourself time and money in that area.

    When you use a service like Buildfire, you’re not only saving money initially, but you’re also getting scalability. Features available within the rapid app deployment framework include a range of unique custom features, analytics, push notifications and payments.

    Take Your Time in the Beginning

    One of the reasons people and businesses end up spending more than they anticipate on app development is because there are so many changes along the way.

    It’s better to take more time before you start building and developing and make sure you know what you want and what you need. This will make for fewer obstacles in the actual development process, all of which have the potential to become very costly.

    Things to work out well before you start development include:

    •    Details about your target audience including audience personas
    •    The particular functions you plan to bring to that audience and if possible, a customer journey map
    •    Know who your competition is, and what their unique value propositions are
    •    In-depth market research
    •    A prioritized list of the features you hope to have in your app (prioritizing is critical when budget is a significant consideration)
    •    How you plan to monetize the app
    •    How you will scale the app and what needs to be in place for scalability to be an option

    Learn What the Most Expensive Elements of Development Are

    There is a tendency for businesses to be unsure of how much app development will cost, or be unrealistic in their expectations. Learning about the app development process, in general, can help. You can know more about what reasonable costs will be, and also be able to identify places where you may be able to cut costs.

    It’s much better to be prepared as far as costs and having realistic expectations than to get into the process and then discover you can’t get what you want or that you’re going to have to go over budget.

    Create An MVP

    Finally, a minimum viable product can end up saving you money. With a minimum viable product or MVP, you’re creating something with limited functionality before you jump into a much more significant investment.

    When you develop an MVP, it gives you the opportunity to see how things work in the general sense. You can use it to get feedback from users, test out your ideas on a real audience, and see if there’s market demand for your app idea. All of this can save you a lot of money and frustration down the road.

    When you’re creating an MVP, the objective should be lowering the level of risk you take on when you’re further into the process.

    There are different ways you can create an MVP. There are wireframes which show things like layout and functions. There are interactive prototypes which are clickable, and there are MVPs that may have a few of the main features included.  


    • Tom La Vecchia

      Founder of New Theory & X Factor Media

      Founder and Publisher of New Theory Magazine and Podcast. Serial Entrepreneur who loves wine, cigars and anything that allows to people to connect and share experiences.

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