The Entrepreneur’s Guide: How To Build An App On A Budget (Part 3)

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This is part 3 of this week’s series, The Entrepreneur’s Guide: How To Build An App On A Budget. We’re digging deep into ways you can control your app-building costs, save money, and develop a solid understanding of the financial constraints you’re going to be facing.

If you want to see the rest of this epic list, hop over to Part 1 above.

Let’s continue.

Here are some proven ways to keep your app project on budget, and tips to help you cut costs where it makes sense:

Don’t let your features get out of control

The features of your app will be extremely important but they’re something that will need to evolve over time. You probably have plenty of great ideas, but incorporating all of them into the very first version of your app isn’t a good idea, for several reasons.

The obvious one here is cost, but you also want to consider the future needs and wants of your customers. You can’t decide all the features before people get to try it out and show you what they want - so you need to approach this with a strategy.

The best policy is to break your desired features into 3 categories:

  • Critical features
  • Important features
  • Additional features

Everything can seem critical at first, but you need to get real and break it down. What are the core components that will allow your app to function and provide the desired outcome to your users? Everything else will have to wait.

Get an idea of what each feature is going to run you, so you can understand what your total vision looks like financially. Build out the critical features only, and then work on adding those important and additional features once they’ve been validated by your users.

Don’t forget to account for your maintenance costs

Don’t forget that there’s going to be a constant stream of recurring maintenance costs, so you need to account for those in your budget. You may have to pay regular fees to 3rd party service providers to support some of your features, plus you’ll need to roll out regular updates of your own.

Maintaining a great product won’t happen for free, so make sure you understand what your ongoing costs will be as you’re making your development choices. Ensure you understand beforehand what any potential functional, administrative, infrastructure, IT support, and other costs may be.

Some of the most common recurring costs that catch people by surprise are:

  • Data storage
  • iOs and Android updates
  • Development tools and support
  • App update submissions
  • Servers
  • APIs
  • Push notifications

Select the right development partner

Typically, entrepreneurs and founders will go down a few different paths when they have a business idea they’re ready to turn into an app.

Sometimes, the creators are developers themselves and know exactly how to handle the build. Those people typically don’t require much outside assistance.

More often than not, the founder will need outside help for the build. The most common options are:

  • Hire a freelancer or remote developer
  • Hire a software development team or agency
  • Build an in-house development team

This is a big decision and not one we can guide you on, so it’s important you take the time to do your homework in this area. We are obviously a software development agency, so our belief is that we provide the best possible solution for our clients. If you want the right balance of technology, experience, skill, accountability, and cost, hiring an agency is your best bet.

Either way, the most important thing here is that you do your homework and make the choice that best aligns with your budget, risk tolerance, and comfort level.

Well, that about wraps this guide up! This wasn’t meant to be such a monster, but once we got started, there were just too many important elements to leave anything out on this subject.

When you’re diving into building your first app, a major part of your success will rely on you figuring out the financials and ensuring you can meet your goals without blowing all your funds.

Let us know if you think there’s anything we missed on this list!

And again, you can get to the first part of this series here.