Lifehacker has published a great article about how to hire a mobile app developer, and how and when you should do so.
The two most important points they make, in my opinion:
Australians are in love with mobile phones and mobile apps. In that context, it can seem like developing a mobile app for your business is an essential step. With online sales in Australia topping $246 billion in 2012-2013 (according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics) and more than 76 per cent of Australians accessing online services via their mobile phone (according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority), some sort of mobile strategy seems essential. However, careful planning is required to make sure you can get value from your investment.
A slice of a $246 billion dollar pie is an attractive proposition – but maximising your return on investment on an app, as with any endeavour, requires careful planning and preparation.
Make sure you really need (and can afford) an app
Make sure you can answer the most basic question: Why does my business need a mobile app? If the only answer is “Because I think it would be cool”, that’s not sufficient justification. If the main answer is “because everyone else is building one”, you also need to think carefully. While it’s true that if everyone else in your sector has an app and you don’t you might look sluggish, it’s also true that there may be more effective ways of differentiating yourself from rivals.
My most successful clients know exactly why they want an app, have a clear idea of what they want to achieve, and they know how they plan to market their app.
I cannot overemphasise the importance of having a marketing plan. Very occasionally, an app will shoot up the charts with no marketing whatsoever, but this is rare. Even legendary apps like Angry Birds got their start through vigorous marketing.
I strongly recommend if you are thinking of commissioning an iPhone app or Android App that you read the Lifehacker article. Once you have read the Lifehacker article, contact me if you have any questions, or would like to discuss your mobile app requirements.