So, you have an app idea and need a developer: 7 things to do first

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As of June 9th, 2014, the total number of active publishers in the iTunes US App Store is 296,827. This month alone, a total of 2,077 (231/day) Apps have been submitted to iTunes. The competition is fierce. Make sure you’re ready to compete. (Source: http://148apps.biz/app-store-metrics/)

  1. Write down your user journey or use case. A simple narrative describing what your app will do and how it will be used is key to planning the scope, level of work involved, timing, and marketing planning.
  2. Do your research. The iTunes Store offers more than 1.2 million apps and has seen 75 billion downloads to date. Have you done your research to confirm nothing like your proposed app already exists? Is your app superior to others like it? Know why. Read the reviews on your competitor’s apps. Study the features. How are those apps being marketed? Research is key to any successful launch.
  3. Do more research. So, your app is unique and better than anything on the market, but do you know who will use it? Do you know why they will want it? Do you know how to reach them? Do you know how large your target audience is?
  4. Decide on platforms. Do you need an app that will work on an iPhone, iPad, Android tablet or mobile phone or Windows phone?
  5. Have a business plan. Producing an app requires a business plan or at the very least, serious thought around how you plan to monetize it. Is it a free app, paid, free-mium? What is the return on investment that you are hoping for and what is your plan for getting there?
  6. Map out a marketing strategy. How will your audience learn about your app? How will you reach customers? What influences your target customer? How will your app get noticed in a sea of millions?
  7. Know the budget you have available. Be prepared to be honest about it. Good app developers will use this to help guide you down the right path. If you only have $10k you need to consider a prototype. If you have $10k- $30k, make sure you’re building the right features to get you to a viable 1.0 release and focusing on the right end platforms. You also need to factor in a marketing budget. Depending on your target audience and whether you want local, regional, national, or international attention, you need to plan an appropriate budget.

Being able to answer these questions realistically is essential to getting what you need from an app developer. Without the answers to these seven questions, you risk starting from square one and losing focus and the attention needed to succeed in the competitive digital marketplace.