4 Common Mistakes Startups Make in Mobile App Development

We now live in the age of unprecedented entrepreneurship, which means that you have to be remarkably prepared if you are to venture out into the startup world and succeed. We’re not here to sugarcoat it for you — the road ahead is likely to be full of bumps and potholes. This is why, to help you steer clear of at least some of them, we’ve put together a list of common mistakes made by startups during the mobile app development process.

1. Lacking focus and a clear project scope

Too many startups make the mistake of trying to build a product for everyone, thinking that it’s a sure-fire way to score a larger user base. But experience shows that if your app tries to cater to everyone, its message will be all over the place and won’t really be able to speak to anyone. Remember that even facebook didn’t start out as a mass product — its initial niche was Harvard students and alumni. It’s better to start off narrow, gain the trust of your early adopters, and then go on building on your MVP by adding new features.

In short, before getting to the actual product development, make sure you have a clear plan and a solid understanding of your app in terms of architecture, functionality, features, and design flows. Invest some time into researching similar apps that are currently in the market so that you have a better understanding of your own app’s strengths and unique selling points as compared to the rest.

2. Failing to choose the right platform

Should you opt for a native application or choose a cross-platform solution? If you do choose to go the native route, do you start with iOS or Android, or both? These are the key questions every entrepreneur must inevitably face when choosing the tech stack for their application. As you might expect, there is no clear-cut answer, as many factors come into play here. Without getting too technical, here are a couple of points to keep in mind.

a. Features and Functionality

Take a look at your list of required features and functionalities and check them against the capabilities of each platform. When it comes to ensuring superior features, native apps are the way to go — they are fast, reliable, and give you access to the whole spectrum of the platform’s functionality and the added flexibility of native SDKs.

Ask your mobile development partner to consult you on the pros and cons of each platform, so that you can make an informed decision on how to move forward.

b. The Cost of Development

To put it in its simplest terms, native apps generally cost more to build than cross-platform applications, because hybrid apps require one codebase to run on both iOS and Android devices. Based on this fact alone, you’re probably thinking that if you can build a hybrid application using twice less the resources it would require to build a native one, then that’s definitely the way to go, especially if you’re a startup and budget is an issue. However, do keep in mind that the devil’s in the details. Hybrid applications cannot access all of the native features. This means that if you’re planning to eventually add sophisticated features like live streaming or image processing, you will definitely feel the shortcomings of your cross-platform app. Moreover, down the line, hybrid applications tend to cost more in terms of support and maintenance.

Changing your mind about the platform choice for your app halfway into the development process will result in you incurring substantial additional costs, not to mention lagging behind your initial deadlines, so make sure you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of each platform before moving forward.

c. Long-Term Goals and App Lifecycle Management

Development doesn’t stop when your app or MVP goes live — it requires ongoing hosting, deployment, maintenance, and testing as long as it’s available in the marketplace and especially if you plan on enriching it with new functionality. If, down the line, your app requires integration with other systems, native platforms offer a richer tool arsenal that make the process seamless and uncomplicated. However, if what you want is something simple and uncomplicated app with no long-term plans of integrating with other systems, then you would probably opt for a hybrid application.

3. Requesting too many changes during the app development process

Before you even start the development process, make sure that you and your mobile development company are on the same page regarding any changes and issues that may require a resolution during the development process. In order to save yourself the time and the trouble, make sure that you achieve maximum transparency in terms of progress reporting and updates from your mobile development partner.

Asking for too many changes during the development means rewriting the code — a process that is as time-consuming as it is expensive. It creates friction between the client and the tech vendor, as the project is bound to get out of budget and miss all deadlines.

This is not to say that changes aren’t welcome at all. This is precisely the reason agile development was invented — to accommodate changes on the go without risking overwriting the entire code base. But before embarking on your endeavor, make sure you are as focused as possible.

4. Fearing Failure

If you’ve decided to dip your toes in the tumultuous startup waters, you’ve got to be prepared to fail fast in order to succeed faster. The idea behind this philosophy is that failure isn’t really a disaster, it’s one of the best ways for you to learn about your users’ behavior and improve on the go. Essentially, instead of striving to be perfect right from the get-go, you will be learning “what not to do” and what you could do instead to ensure your success, much like Edison and the 1000 ways he learnt not to make a lightbulb through trial and error.

Naturally, many entrepreneurs are afraid of failure, so they try to mitigate the circumstances by being as meticulous as possible, planning everything and continually perfecting their product. The reality is, however, that no matter how much they prepare, they’re not likely to succeed the first time. So what they’re actually doing is delaying facing reality instead of getting their product into the hands of their users as fast as possible so that they can learn what their customers actually want. So even though “failing fast” might sound counterintuitive, don’t worry. That’s why we have agile processes in place — to mitigate risk and make it easier to roll with the punches.

Final Thoughts

To avoid these mistakes and more, and to ensure a seamless development for your budding new application, partner with a development company with clearly setup processes for development and communication.

If you’ve got a great app idea and still don’t know where to start, send us a quick request, and we will get back to you with a proposal on how to best go about making your idea into an app that performs.

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