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Apps have become a massive business as the tech industry has exploded. There are now hundreds of thousands of apps in the marketplace, and they bring in billions of dollars every year. This growth has driven quite a bit of entrepreneurial interest in launching app businesses. This series will cover the stages of app development, some information that many entrepreneurs aren’t familiar with, and guidance on how to set an app up for success. To start off the series, we are covering some of the most common myths about app development and briefly discuss each of them.

  1. The idea is the most important thing.
    There are hundreds of thousands of apps. Truly unique ideas usually aren’t thought of because the demand isn’t there. It is the execution and marketing of an idea that makes it valuable. 
  2. Mobile apps are just for smartphones.
    Mobile apps are also on tablets and smart devices (ex. TVs, watches, etc.). 
  3. You only need to consider development costs when budgeting for a mobile app.
    The development costs are only a fraction of a mobile app’s overall budget. There are many other costs; these can include server costs, updates, maintenance, and marketing. 
  4. More functions make a better app.
    It depends. Users prefer simple and easy usage, which gets harder to achieve as the number of functions increase. Functions must address a customer need to be worth the additional cost of development. 
  5. You should follow your gut on design and function decisions.
    Market research is necessary for the majority of businesses decisions. Every aspect of an app can and should be tested. 
  6. If you build it, they will come.
    The app markets are overflowing with apps. Most customers won’t find an app on their own. An app needs to be promoted to reach customers. 
  7. An app needs to be developed for all mobile OSes.
    It is often best to target the specific OS most common among your target audience, particularly when first developing. 
  8. It is easy to convert an app to a different platform.
    There are tools available that make converting between platforms easier. These don’t work for all app ideas though, which can mean entire sections of the app must be redeveloped. 
  9. Developing the app in house is the only way to keep the idea protected.
    The development can still be done with a consulting firm or freelancer working under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). 
  10. It is easy to get funding to develop an app.
    It is very hard to get investment for app ideas, particularly those in the early stage. This is due to the sheer number of apps being developed compared to the number of investors. 
  11. An amazing app will be very profitable.
    Not necessarily. Even if it gains many users, you must be able to figure out how to monetize these users. This can be done through advertisements, pay to download, in-app purchases, and directing new clients to an existing, profitable app. 
  12. Most apps are profitable.
    The average app in the apple store makes $4000. Android averages even less. This seems acceptable until you realize the average cost to develop apps is thousands higher, or more, depending on whose estimate you are looking at. Also, remember the majority of the money goes to the top few apps, 50% of apps don’t make over $4000.

Further Reading on App Myths: