In our hyper-connected world, you can’t call yourself a successful entrepreneur just because you’ve started a thriving business. You need to cultivate a distinctive and dependable brand too. One key step on turning your company into a brand is releasing a mobile application. Here are a few tips on how to design an app that the public will want to download.

Figure out what your app will do

As this Entrepreneur piece explains, Starbucks designed their app to make buying its products easier. However, RetailMeNot’s app lets users know about sales and coupons related to their favorite products and services. Both apps engender brand loyalty and engagement, but one helps facilitate the sale of a product while the other performs a valuable service. What do you want your app to do? If you own a gourmet popcorn shop, you’ll probably be best served by a sales-focused app. If your company puts sneaker heads in contact with independent shoemakers, your app should be connection oriented.


Take a page out of your rival’s playbook

Let’s say you’ve designed a social network that’s so cutting edge, it will make Facebook look like two tin cans strung to together.  You should still meticulously study that company’s mobile apps. At bare minimum, your app needs to be as intuitive and attractive as the one put out by your biggest competitor. If you come to market with an app that has a confusing layout or an ugly color scheme, you’ve lost the race before the starting pistol was fired.


Go the DIY route

With your goals established and the competition thoroughly analyzed, you are now ready to build your app. Your options to go about the process are to do it yourself or to hire a professional. As this Mashable post points out, there are a few different DIY options available. AppMakr gives creators the tools to build easily-shareable, fully monetized apps for the Android and Apple markets. Mippin lets users make fully customizable multi-platform apps in minutes. Both companies also offer rates that are much cheaper than hiring a software engineer.


Call in a professional

Alternately, you can enlist an experienced app designer to realize your vision. Freelancer and Upwork can put you in contact with a variety of skilled independent app developers. If you want the peace of mind that comes with employing a reputable agency, check out They Make Apps. The site allows you to peruse a range of firms that have built apps for companies like McAfee, Priceline and Domino’s. Clutch has a listing of mobile app developers as well as a valuation of their various strengths and weaknesses. The quality of service given by these firms however, doesn’t come cheap. If you don’t have at least a few thousand dollars to spend on app development, you shouldn’t waste time contacting an established design firm.

This article was written by Mario McKellop of for CBS Small Business Pulse.


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