What do peanut butter and jelly, Bill and Melinda, Ben and Jerry, and Jobs and Wozniak have in common?
They’re wildly successful relationships that live in our collective psyche. You really can’t have one without the other. And each would not be nearly as famous without the other. Their profits depend on the partnership.
To take it to the next level, and bear with me here, finding a mobile app partner is a lot like finding a spouse. You’re about to enter into a relationship where you’ll be spending a lot of quality time together, and you’ll be creating a product that needs to be fed and nurtured to be successful. It might even wake you up in the middle of the night, but thankfully it won’t need a diaper change.
Like a marriage, this process will have its low times and high times. But, with the right people, those high times can translate into a HUGE return on your investment.
So, how do you know if you’ve found the right partner who will work with you to maximize your ROI on your mobile app?
Can you trust them?
When you think about your app development team as a long-term business partner (you know–that spouse analogy above), this question seems like a no brainer. But it’s one you need to think about before starting your project. Here are a few things you can check into to help bolster your trust:
Is their pricing transparent?
This question isn’t addressing the price point. Instead, do you feel like they’re honest and open with how much the project costs? If not, there may be hidden costs that will make you feel they ‘stuck it to you’ at the end of the project (especially if their pricing sounds too good to be true). Choose to deal with vendors who are upfront about project costs and you’ll save yourself some heartache.
Do they listen?
A good app development team will get to the heart of what you want and be a genuine partner. This doesn’t mean they agree with everything you say, but they understand your end goal and help you understand how they can help you accomplish what you need.
Do they push back?
Like any good, trustworthy relationship, you want your app development team to ask the hard questions and challenge you, especially if you have a blind spot in a particular area. You need to trust your mobile app with someone who’s willing to dig deep with you to find the right idea for the right market.
Do you even like them?
We can all live with personality differences (or even awkwardness), but we can’t really live with people who are rude, inconsiderate, or simply not willing to help. These are definite red flags in any relationship, business or personal.
How accessible are they?
Imagine if Ben lived in Vermont while Jerry lived in Mumbai. Do you think Ben and Jerry’s would exist as we know it?
Working with a team that is located in your country allows for the highest possible rate of success for your project. While offshore talent can often seem less expensive, you will be struggling with a huge gap in time zones, communication blunders, and even simple cultural differences that can result in varying expectations of timelines and deliverables, which can cost more in the long run.
With a good stateside team, you’ll reap the benefits of efficiency, communication, and cohesion. For your project to be successful, these are benefits you can’t overlook.
What sort of experience do they have?
Sure, you can go out on a limb and try out a fresh developer, or even your cousin’s best friend. But to drastically increase your chances for success, find a team that has a history of successful apps. If you can find a team that also has familiarity with the type of app you are building and your industry, consider that a bonus.
With an experienced team, you get someone who is already familiar with your users, your competition, the successful business models, marketing and how to get the job done in an efficient way.
To have a partner with that level of expertise is worth it for your bottom line
Do they have a plan for how to make you money?
Again, this feels like a silly question, BUT it’s one thing for a team to simply build a mobile app to your specifications, it’s entirely another for a team to look at the big picture and create a plan for the success of your mobile app.
Just like your business, a mobile app has to be monetized, marketed, and maintained. While you may be comfortable with the plan you have, a mobile app team that is experienced and knows what they’re doing is going to want to at least review your plan to ensure that your investment will go the distance.
Here a few things to watch for:
Do they require (or at least strongly recommend) you to have a business plan? Are they willing to review it and offer suggestions?
Do they require you to have a marketing and maintenance budget so that your mobile app can live on after its launch?
Do they know how to optimize your mobile app for the app store?
Do they explore different revenue models and find the best fit for you and your industry?
How do they plan to differentiate you from the competition? What sort of research do they conduct to make sure your app won’t look like others in the market?
What’s their process?
For a mobile app to be adopted, then loved and kept forever, there are two secrets to success:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that mobile apps that are simple, beautiful and easy to use are the most successful in the app store. However, it’s ironic that creating something that is simple, beautiful, and easy to use is anything but simple and easy. It requires a great deal of research, user studies and surveys… even prototypes. It can add some upfront costs, but it will absolutely pay off once your app is launched. Finding a team who puts this much emphasis on designing for the user should be one of your top priorities.
The feedback loop.
Really, the feedback loop is a subset of user-centered design, but it’s important enough to mention on its own. A good mobile app development team will want to get the app into the market as soon as possible in order to start getting user feedback. User feedback tells the team whether or not the mobile app is hitting the mark. If it’s not, it can be adjusted, tweaked, and re-designed according to what users are looking for. This process increases the success of a mobile app that fills a real, expressed need by your market. We talk about this at length here.