5 Main Stages Of App Development for Startups

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The app market is booming, with innovative ideas vying for user attention. But how do you translate your brilliant concept into a thriving app that stands out from the crowd? The journey from brainstorming to launch can be daunting, filled with technical decisions and strategic steps in app development for startups.

However, a fine guide about custom mobile app development for startups will help you understand all the crucial steps. So you can make more informed decisions to achieve even greater success. Whether you’re a seasoned techie or a newbie with a game-changing idea, this article unlocks the secrets to propel your app toward success! 


📈 Phases of App Development for Startups

Producing applications for startups is challenging but fascinating. It has its own specifics, like focusing on MVPs and user feedback. Startups are just beginning their journey, so they don’t have the same capabilities as well-established firms.

At the same time, those businesses need to release distributive services among the firsts to achieve attention. Here is where custom mobile app development comes into play.

A Minimum Valuable Product (MVP) release can help you achieve the desired results quickly. Ask users to send feedback so you can provide the desired extra features with the next update. To encourage this process, offer them various benefits like discounts, free extended trials, etc.

Build a strong presence from your first moments. You need to show why you are better than your rivals. The app’s design, user experience, and functionality should all contribute to a positive brand image. That’s why you should develop the marketing of your custom apps beforehand to warm up your audience before the final release. 

💡 Define your Unique Trade Offer. It’s one of the most crucial steps in the startup journey. If you don’t find out why you are better than others and how you can help people with your app, how will they find this out? Keep this in mind!

You don’t need to have a unique application. However, you should have unique marketing that stands you out from the crowd.

Don’t be afraid to collaborate with custom app development teams. That way, you can save time on accounting and taxation, as technically, you don’t hire those experts, while they can work full time on your project. Meanwhile, you’ll get an organized team to close any application development task quickly and efficiently. 

We recommend collaborating with teams, as managing multiple individual freelancers can be challenging and less time-efficient. 


🌟 Specify the Idea

The first thing that you need to do is to refine the app’s main idea.  Don’t just focus on features; identify the core problem your app solves and the specific value it brings to users.

After that, conduct marketing research to determine whether you’ll have enough potential audience to make your app even more viable. 

The next step is to develop a business plan that outlines your startup’s goals, the app’s target market, marketing strategy, competitive advantage, and financial projections.

Develop a primary marketing strategy for at least 3-6 months with SWOT analysis and market research results. Examine your competitors more closely, determining their gaps and how your product can close them. Inspect the market to figure out the reasonability of your potential application. Maybe rivals have a similar application, or people are looking for a completely different service. Modify the idea so it fits the user’s needs.

Consider target market size. Determine the potential audience’s size, interests, demographics, and location. To help you with this task, we can provide a small example from our past experience. 

Imagine that you want to create a business application for dental clinics and offer it for a subscription. Determine the number of clinics in the chosen area. Beware that it is almost impossible to entice clinics that already have a custom business application. You should concentrate on those who are using a SaaS solution or do not have one at all. They are your potential audience.

The app landscape is littered with brilliant ideas that never materialized. Before pouring your heart and resources into development, it’s crucial to validate your concept and ensure there’s a market fit for your app.

Define your target audience and craft your valuable proposition, explaining how your application benefits users’ lives. It must be a simple reason to choose your app among others.

Then, validate your concept by investing a little upfront before testing user interest. We recommend making basic mockups or prototypes and testing them on a small audience or focus group. These can be simple wireframes or clickable prototypes so testers can get a basic user experience. Gather user feedback through surveys or usability testing to identify potential issues and refine your concept before full-fledged development.

You can test the prototype in focus groups, ask your colleagues to test it, or publish it as the alpha version to the app store. To encourage users to test your app, you can provide some benefits like free premium or other tips that benefit them to the point that they gladly test a concept app.

If you have social media, ask your followers to become testers in return for some benefits. You can also find potential testers on themed and local forums specified in your niche.

Analyze their feedback. Compile data from surveys, guerilla testing, social media engagement, and other sources. Identify recurring themes, both positive and negative. Use this data to refine your app concept, prioritize features, and ensure it addresses the needs of your target audience.


🔎 Gather your Resources

Behind every great project hides a productive team. That’s why you should figure out the team as the first actual step of your custom mobile application development. Determine who will be a core team, who can stay on standby, and what tasks you can pass to external teams. Identify the roles you need to fill, such as developers, designers, and marketers.

Try to figure out the funding behind the project. It can be angel investors, venture capitalists, or crowdfunding platforms. If you don’t want to become dependent on anyone, ensure you have a controlling stake (more than 51% shares). You can also try a bootstrapping policy or financing your startup with your own funds or savings.

If the timing is extra critical and you should release the app in less than a month or two, consider using templates. Many templates allow partial customization with your own code. However, you should understand that they are less unique than fully custom services. There are still many elements that you can’t change. You also need to spend time finding rare, useful templates. If your main aim is to become completely different than your rivals, you should choose custom mobile application development.


📱 Choose the Design Approach

Figuring out your visual identity and potential user experience is vital in the application development journey. When it comes to choosing between a custom design or a template option, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. So, find out which option suits you most. 

The custom design approach suits those who seek a unique project that becomes part of their brand identity and those who want to develop a one-of-a-kind custom application. Here, you can tailor the user experience to perfectly fit the user’s needs. 

A custom design allows for future growth and more seamless integration of new features. It also gives space to scale as freely as you want. At Corpsoft.io, it takes approximately 2 weeks to develop a custom design for a mobile application. You’ll get a unique app that perfectly suits your needs. However, if your main task is just to test a hypothesis, design may take even less. We will gladly help you to speed up the development process in any scenario.


💻 Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

MVP is essential in startup and lean product development as it’s a version of your product with just enough basic features to be usable by early clients and validate your idea.

The key here is that it needs just core functions. You can use this approach in Android and iOS application development services. The goal is to get something out there quickly and gather real-world feedback to see if there’s a market fit for your idea before investing significant resources into creating a full-fledged product.

It provides more flexibility; you don’t need to redo that much. Meanwhile, you can market faster, gather valuable user feedback, and reduce risks. The general steps of MVP software development for startups will look like this:

  1. Determine the essence. Identify the fundamental features that deliver your app’s core value proposition. Prioritize ruthlessly and focus on what users need to experience the core benefit. If you open your shopping app, it should have a “purchase button,” basket, and payment page. The wishlist and coupons are great, but you can add them later.
  2. Wireframe and prototype. Develop low-fidelity wireframes (basic sketches) or clickable prototypes to visualize the app’s layout and user flow. It helps validate your concept and gather early user feedback. 
  3. Pick a development approach. It can be custom, templated, or hybrid. Determine the platform (iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux) and determine whether you want to create a native or cross-platform application.
  4. Develop the app. It’s the main step in your journey. Let the developer build the app and ensure that they achieve a user-friendly UI. Don’t forget about designers and copywriters, as the app’s appearance is a major factor in user-friendliness.
  5. Gather the feedback and maintain the app. The only way to determine whether your custom business application development attempts succeed is to see what users think. Use the feedback to make the app even better.

✅ Test Your Application

It’s a crucial phase in developing a high-quality and flourishing app. At this stage, you catch issues and glitches and redo those minor problems to achieve a polished user experience.

We recommend you fix glitches while you are still developing the app. Proper testing also helps prevent App Store rejection, saving you days and weeks of valuable time in your custom application software development journey.

The first step is internal testing, where the development team thoroughly tests the app’s functionalities, performance, and usability. Here, you test the application on various devices to find potential issues.

Let’s go back to the dental app example. Imagine that you want to create an iPhone app. In this case, you should internally test it on multiple iPhones and iPads with suitable specs. If you develop an app that should be supported even by the iPhone 7 and older, you should test it on all devices that can run on iOS 15 and later systems, from iPhone 6s and iPod Touch 7 up to iPhone 15 Pro Max. That way, you can determine potential glitches in any supported system’s specs.

The next step is usability testing, where you observe a target audience using your app to identify any usability issues. It can help you determine areas where users might need clarification. Here, you can use user observation, user interviews, and A/B testing (presenting different UI variations to users to see which performs better).

Beta testing involves releasing a preliminary version of your app to a limited group of external testers. These testers are typically early adopters or potential users who provide valuable feedback on the app’s functionality, user experience, and overall value proposition. Beta testing helps identify issues that have been missed during internal testing.


🟢 After the Development: Release And Support

Once you develop the app, it’s time to release it. Ensure you’ve done a pre-launch preparation, including app store optimization and soft launch, to test the app extra before the release.

Ensure that you build pre-launch buzz through marketing campaigns. Utilize social media channels, press releases, influencer outreach, or other relevant strategies to generate awareness and excitement for your app.

Submit the service to the relevant app stores. It’s one of the last stages of startup business mobile app development. Ensure you comply with their guidelines and provide any necessary information. Announce the launch only after the app store approves it since the validation may take up to a few weeks. 

During the post-launch optimization, monitor the application’s performance, identify improvement areas, and address user feedback. Manage user concerns promptly and incorporate valuable input into future app updates.

It is important to continue marketing your app after launch and to have a long-term user acquisition strategy to maintain a healthy user base and reach new audiences.

Ensure you optimize the app listing with relevant keywords to improve discoverability in app stores. Include high-quality screenshots and videos showcasing your app’s functionalities and user interface. Craft a compelling description that communicates your app’s value proposition and target audience.

Develop a dedicated landing page for your app. It can serve as a hub to capture user interest, share updates, and collect email addresses for an early access list.  Build excitement on social media platforms by sharing teasers, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or short explainer videos about your app’s functionalities.

Develop relationships with journalists or bloggers relevant to your app’s niche. Generate press releases or media kits highlighting your app’s unique features and potential benefits.

Partner with bloggers who resonate with your target audience. They can promote your app through reviews, tutorials, or social media posts, leveraging their credibility to reach a wider audience.

Promote users to leave reviews on app stores. Answer to both positive and negative comments, demonstrating a commitment to user feedback and improvement.

Remember that marketing is an ongoing process. Continuously adapt your strategies based on user behavior, market trends, and competitor analysis. By implementing a well-rounded application maintenance and marketing plan, you can generate excitement, acquire new users, and retain a loyal user base.


💸What Are the Costs For App Development for Startups?

The final numbers depend on multiple factors. The main one is the app’s complexity. Native app development is usually more time-consuming than cross-platform development. The same rule applies to custom and templated development approaches: the custom one usually takes longer to create. 


Here are 5 factors that influence the timing and budget behind the project:

  1. Specific technical solutions. You may need to purchase a license or a subscription to use some solutions and mobile application development platforms to use some solutions and mobile application development platforms.
  2. Legal requirements. Projects in fintech, edutech, and healthcare tech projects may require additional compliance with local regulations.
  3. Development approach. You should determine which suits you better: custom or template, native or cross-platform. Figure out your aims and possibilities to find out a suitable approach.
  4. The team behind the project. Collaborating with external teams is legally more straightforward since you don’t need to pay taxes or hire an extra accountant for a bigger team, and you also don’t need to change your tax brackets.
  5. Team’s location. Collaborating with Eastern European teams is cheaper than hiring experts from the USA, Canada, or Western Europe despite all having the same expertise levels. At the same time, Eastern European teams usually have a life background similar to Western life, so both parties will easily understand each other.

The final level of investments required for the mobile app development for startups may vary. The simple average app takes 1.5-3 months to develop and 3-4 months to promote, so it will cost $30-40K for the whole project. In this case, you’ll get the up-to-date scalable app and all the marketing behind it to promote it for the first few months.

A complex app requires more time and effort to develop and promote, so you should be prepared to spend more. However, a well-designed startup app is a significant investment that can accelerate your company’s success.

We at Corpsoft.io have released hundreds of custom applications, and we gladly help you in this journey. We will be with you through every stage, from crafting ideas and planning a user-centric MVP to assisting in the app’s launch and ongoing maintenance. Our team has vast experience in both development and marketing, so we can help you make your startup prosper.


Tell us about your project in mind and get a personalized proposal with an estimated time frame and investment level in 2-3 days.

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