Every month, half a million businesses are started as people become entrepreneurs. However, most of these businesses have no employees and very little overhead, operating out of home offices. IF you want to start an app business, you’re looking at something much more complicated and involved that’s going to take some serious focus.

Here are five steps to ensure your app business starts off on the right foot.

1. Do Your Research

When you’re starting any kind of business, you need to begin by doing your research. Every industry has a set of innovators and creators that have been around longer than you. Assuming that you know everything there is to know could be a fatal mistake no matter what field you’re in.

Get to know who the major players are in your field and look at what they offer. If you’re sure you’re offering something new, don’t get ahead of yourself. If these brands are so big and so good, consider why they haven’t added what you’re offering yet.

Some companies don’t have good teams to give them good ideas. But plenty of companies have a lot of resources and are constantly looking for ways to expand their reach. If you have a smart but obvious idea, another company might have tried and failed already.

If this is the case, don’t give up. In fact, take the time to look at why they might have failed and figure out what you can do better. Read any reviews of those previously released products and you’ll get some insight into what you can do differently.

2. Design Your Brand

While they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you can really judge an app by its icon. Research and development teams at the biggest companies around have spent millions of dollars in the past to come up with the perfect logo. After sitting around for weeks, testing colors and styles, they arrive at something that users need to touch.

The Instagram logo, for instance, was subjected to rigorous testing to get the right colors and angles. Some apps tweak their design a little with each iteration. However, you want to keep basically the same logo for the rest of your brand’s existence.

That means you have to do a lot of testing up front and get some feedback.

Your brand needs to be more than a logo too. Your brand needs to have its own unique voice and take on the world. When you build a unique brand, you make it so that no one else can copy you or if they do, people are going to notice.

Your brand can be flexible and open, but the one thing it needs to be is consistent.

3. Decide On Your Tools

When you’re setting out to build an app, you need to choose the right tools. The tools that you choose determine how quickly you’ll be able to deploy your app. They also determine how efficiently you’ll be able to work.

If you aren’t a software developer by trade, it’s going to be hard to write an app from scratch. There’s a lot to learn about building a database, communication across channels, and how to build the perfect interface.

However, with the help of an app maker, you can build an application that deploys flawlessly without any major issues. Learning how to build an app that works on Android, iOS, and everything else is a serious challenge. With the help of an app builder, you’ll ensure it deploys without any snags and is compatible with every new release.

Even if you design your app from scratch, you’ll have to decide which languages you use, which dependencies you have, and how you store your data. Your app’s data is going to have to live somewhere if you store it for your customers. Finding a cloud solution for storing data is a whole Pandora’s Box of managing vendors, deciding on storage options, and keeping up to date with subscriptions.

4. Build an Online Presence

Once you’ve figured out who you are as a brand, it’s time to get the word out online about who you are and what you do. The best way to do this is with an online presence on every social media site and every app that’s relevant to your industry.

You can buy advertising space, run sponsored posts, or seek out writers to review your app once it’s completed. Your online presence also becomes a touchstone for your audience. It’s a way for them to reach out when they have a problem or to connect when they have praise.

When you work on building your online presence, you make your company seem like you exist in the real world. You can show that there are real people working for you and that you want to have a real relationship with customers.

5. Search For Investors

After you’ve got a working prototype, it’s time to start looking for investors. When you want to start an app-based business, you’re going to have a lot of overhead to consider.

Before you can hire any staff, you need to have money to spend. The best way to do that is to garner interest with a prototype. There are lots of venture capitalists who want to put some money down on the next great app and get involved on the ground floor.

It’s Easy To Start An App Business

If you want to start an app business, you need to have the right direction and have a clear idea of your goals. Once you’ve got yourself pointed in the right direction, you need to follow the right steps to ensure your plan succeeds. If you stay focused, your app business is going to be booming in no time.

If you’re seeking a technology consultant for your business, check out our guide to finding the right one.

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Every month, half a million businesses are started as people become entrepreneurs. However, most of these businesses have no employees and very little overhead, operating out of home offices. IF you want to start an app business, you’re looking at something much more complicated and involved that’s going to take some serious focus.

Here are five steps to ensure your app business starts off on the right foot.

1. Do Your Research

When you’re starting any kind of business, you need to begin by doing your research. Every industry has a set of innovators and creators that have been around longer than you. Assuming that you know everything there is to know could be a fatal mistake no matter what field you’re in.

Get to know who the major players are in your field and look at what they offer. If you’re sure you’re offering something new, don’t get ahead of yourself. If these brands are so big and so good, consider why they haven’t added what you’re offering yet.

Some companies don’t have good teams to give them good ideas. But plenty of companies have a lot of resources and are constantly looking for ways to expand their reach. If you have a smart but obvious idea, another company might have tried and failed already.

If this is the case, don’t give up. In fact, take the time to look at why they might have failed and figure out what you can do better. Read any reviews of those previously released products and you’ll get some insight into what you can do differently.

2. Design Your Brand

While they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you can really judge an app by its icon. Research and development teams at the biggest companies around have spent millions of dollars in the past to come up with the perfect logo. After sitting around for weeks, testing colors and styles, they arrive at something that users need to touch.

The Instagram logo, for instance, was subjected to rigorous testing to get the right colors and angles. Some apps tweak their design a little with each iteration. However, you want to keep basically the same logo for the rest of your brand’s existence.

That means you have to do a lot of testing up front and get some feedback.

Your brand needs to be more than a logo too. Your brand needs to have its own unique voice and take on the world. When you build a unique brand, you make it so that no one else can copy you or if they do, people are going to notice.

Your brand can be flexible and open, but the one thing it needs to be is consistent.

3. Decide On Your Tools

When you’re setting out to build an app, you need to choose the right tools. The tools that you choose determine how quickly you’ll be able to deploy your app. They also determine how efficiently you’ll be able to work.

If you aren’t a software developer by trade, it’s going to be hard to write an app from scratch. There’s a lot to learn about building a database, communication across channels, and how to build the perfect interface.

However, with the help of an app maker, you can build an application that deploys flawlessly without any major issues. Learning how to build an app that works on Android, iOS, and everything else is a serious challenge. With the help of an app builder, you’ll ensure it deploys without any snags and is compatible with every new release.

Even if you design your app from scratch, you’ll have to decide which languages you use, which dependencies you have, and how you store your data. Your app’s data is going to have to live somewhere if you store it for your customers. Finding a cloud solution for storing data is a whole Pandora’s Box of managing vendors, deciding on storage options, and keeping up to date with subscriptions.

4. Build an Online Presence

Once you’ve figured out who you are as a brand, it’s time to get the word out online about who you are and what you do. The best way to do this is with an online presence on every social media site and every app that’s relevant to your industry.

You can buy advertising space, run sponsored posts, or seek out writers to review your app once it’s completed. Your online presence also becomes a touchstone for your audience. It’s a way for them to reach out when they have a problem or to connect when they have praise.

When you work on building your online presence, you make your company seem like you exist in the real world. You can show that there are real people working for you and that you want to have a real relationship with customers.

5. Search For Investors

After you’ve got a working prototype, it’s time to start looking for investors. When you want to start an app-based business, you’re going to have a lot of overhead to consider.

Before you can hire any staff, you need to have money to spend. The best way to do that is to garner interest with a prototype. There are lots of venture capitalists who want to put some money down on the next great app and get involved on the ground floor.

It’s Easy To Start An App Business

If you want to start an app business, you need to have the right direction and have a clear idea of your goals. Once you’ve got yourself pointed in the right direction, you need to follow the right steps to ensure your plan succeeds. If you stay focused, your app business is going to be booming in no time.

If you’re seeking a technology consultant for your business, check out our guide to finding the right one.

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The Most Hotly Contested Web Design Concepts of 2016

If there’s one topic that gets people fired up it’s web design. To succeed online, a smartly designed website is crucial. Something that brings in visitors and keeps them on your page, absorbing content.

Unfortunately, what constitutes a great site isn’t always agreed upon, and there’s constant debate of best practices, what’s hot, what’s not, and what is the cancer that is killing the industry. The argument still rages on, and recently it’s moved on to these commonly used web design elements:

The Carousel

“We’re not at the park, so why are we going around and around? Because people keep designing their sites with these blasted carousels” is just one of the commonly heard gripes about this supposedly interesting design choice.

Unfortunately, we have to keep clicking left or right to get another little morsel of information that the designers have deemed us worthy to handle. Are they afraid we can’t read full paragraphs? This one isn’t just a matter being annoyed personal preference, however, Carousel designs actually harm your websites performance.

They kill local SEO efforts by starving your site of actual content, the slow your site down with huge image files and JavaScript, and they are so confoundingly bad that nobody clicks through them all the way. The naysayers might have a point on this one, Carousels are way more trouble than they are worth.

Parallax Scrolling

You’ve seen this technique on graphics heavy sites in which the foreground and background scroll at different speeds. It creates a feeling of depth, helps tell a story through visuals, and looks pretty cool when properly implemented.

Unfortunately, it comes with some (resolvable) issues that may make it a waste of time. Like the Carousel, use of Parallax Scrolling is damaging to SEO. Since there’s usually just one page and a bunch of images, there’s no text content for search engines to crawl through and rank.

The abundance of images reduces performance (and completely kills performance on mobile devices). Most damaging of all though, is that the technique can just make it confusing to absorb any useful information, which will cut your number of repeat visitors down tremendously.

Think about it, would you stick around on a website where your only navigation option was to scroll downwards through hard-to read image/text combos? Of course, there are examples of Parallax Scrolling done right, so the argument is there that it’s all about how you choose to use it.

The Hamburger Menu

That three lined symbol in the corner on most websites that you click to access navigation options is commonly known as the hamburger menu.

While it does look cool, and you can see why one might be tempted to clean up their navigation by having it sleekly displayed in a drop-down menu, many say it kills a websites discoverability.

When your navigation options are out of sight, they are also out of mind, the thinking goes. There’s also the argument that it’s less efficient, since you’re forced to go to a separate menu just to see your options, but that’s more a matter of personal taste, it would seem.

We may never get definitive answers on whether these trends are good or bad, but it seems pretty clear that if you are going to try to incorporate any of these ideas into your design, you have to do it with care.

We’ve given you an overview of the tons of free web design options out there for building a pretty good site. When you have to move up to the big leagues though, it’d be prudent to hire some big league talent.

Professional web developers like Big Drop (out of New York), or Brown Box Branding (Dallas TX) offer great designs coupled with high level marketing strategies proven to keep the visitors coming back to your site for more.

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