Start-up advice for developing mobile apps for business

Sandeep Gaonkar

28 Jun 2016

Startup Ideas


It hurts! When you do not get a satisfactory reply to your inquiry from a mobile app development company for your Dream Project. which you consider worth millions of dollars.

You have an IDEA and you DREAM.

You dream about it so much, you visualize things, you want to see your app to be used by everyone.

You share your idea with your friend. They nod their head even though they don’t agree with you. You Google to find out the app user population of your country, and conclude how difficult will it be to get 1% of the App market.

How will you cover 1% of the App market?

  •  It’s very important to understand how apps work?
  •  What features you want to add?
  •  How should the app look like?
  •  Most importantly, How to choose app partner?

Let me start with myself Sandeep. I used to work in a security systems and home automation domain as Business development guy. I was fascinated by the way mobiles interact with external hardware. Never missed any IoT events in Bangalore.

I Googled for top IoT companies in Bangalore. Sent my CV, got interview, started working in Cumulations Technologies. Feels good to work with experienced team who love working on challenging IoT & wearable projects. I learned lot of things which i didn’t knew before.

Sharing my experience:

People send enquiry saying they need the app similar to OLA, UBER, ZOMATO etc…

These are the enquiries which usually ignored by most mobile development company because of less informative.

One guy requested for chatting app, i was interested in that inquiry because he was experienced guy working in MNC with a very good budget.

I asked: please send a detailed requirement Doc which we can refer.

He said: I need app exactly same as WhatsApp with the additional feature of e-commerce. He said he will send a mail regarding the requirement.

I received a mail,

“Good talking to you,

for chatting app, you can refer to WhatsApp.

For e-commerce app, you can refer to Flipkart.

I want both to be in a single app”

I replied:

“why do you want to add chatting and e- commerce in the same app”

We need more details.

He replied,

I want to develop the app which is different from other apps, hence it is.

“It’s good to have innovative ideas, but preparation is must to execute”

The conversation didn’t go further as the requirements are not realistic. It feels more like a movie without story. The client might have a very good idea, good budget but they fail to convince developer to work on his/her dream project.

Developing e-commerce app itself is a challenging task, integrating more things just makes it complicated. Hence it needs more clear information than a one liner enquiry.

      What preparation needed from CLIENT side?

  • Should make a detailed requirement Doc file which they can share with the App developing firm.
  • Detailed requirement doesn’t mean it should be written, you can explain through wireframes (planning app navigation structure and functionality). Designing wireframes gives clarity of the requirement. Best practice adopted by experienced org.
  • Always better to have NDA signed before sharing the App requirement details.

If you believe, app have high level requirement, then always do it in phase by phase. Ask the company to add basic features on first phase, add more features in second phase. This will help you ignore unnecessary features and map the budget carefully.

      Who will cover 1% of the market?

Few start-ups follow the very good strategy in app development.

They spend more time in designing app, which gives them the clear vision of future. Then they search for a good company for developing an app.

They keep features to minimal for the start, as it helps them to reduce cost and timeline to build one. The app will be simple but elegant designed, a good UI with best backend team helps app to run smooth.

When you ask app developer to design, they design according to their wish. hence a start-up has to put some effort in designing. Share your thoughts and ask developers for any innovative input.

What if you don’t have a technical person in your team?

Hire a tech person or make a business partner who is good in tech.

“Best start-up practice, have one business developer, one tech person and one with good money. Helps you to overcome most of the problems”

Note: App development don’t come for less cost, it depends on your requirement, Add-on feature and company you are working with.

        Whom should you contact?

        Let me categorize Mobile App development companies into three division:

         1. Start-ups

2. Mid level

3. Large Organizations

Start-up: (Client might need to give lots of inputs to build a successful/unsuccessful app)

  • Less experience in app development.
  • They work for fewer budgets as they need to survive in the market.
  • Might not be able to execute big projects, usually, take extra timeline.
  • Might not be able to understand requirement clearly.
  • Even if your idea is not good, they might appreciate it, just to get a project.
  • You can expect fixed budget business model.
  • Few start-ups have the very good team, even better than large org.

Mid-level companies: (share your requirement clearly)

  • Will have good experience and have very good team. They are more interested in building quality apps which help them showcase their portfolio. Hence they choose project wisely.
  • They will ask for more details, to understand about you and your team.
  • One line enquiry doesn’t work here. The client has to send detailed requirement. Sending wireframes helps get timeline and quote soon.
  • Will work on the fixed budget if requirements are the freeze. If not then go for an hourly rate.
  • If you have an existing website, you can ask for a proposal to add all those features to the app.
  • They guide you, they design project phase by phase, selecting features, completing the project on a timeline.
  • Budget purely depends on app requirement. As effort goes high, Budget goes high. You can expect quality app.

Large Organization: (they will choose you)

  • Expertise level is high.
  • Not for start-ups with fewer budgets as the cost might go 3X to 5X compared to mid level companies.
  • One line enquiries works here. But conditions applied. (One line enquiries will work, if you are from well know organization, if budget is not an issue, if you have a reference from a insider of the firm, asking for proposal for existing website)
  • They charge more because, efforts are more as they develop everything by themselves. (Example 1: If you enquiry saying, Need an app for my existing e-commerce website.The team will gather all the details associated with you and your website, They decide to partner or not. If they decide to go with you, they will share a proposal which includes planning app from idea stage to execution)
  • They always have NDA signed before sending the proposal.
  • In some cases, Proposal will be shared only after the agreement signed between both the parties (regarding budget, timeline, and more)
  • Start (Idea – team – design wireframes – app design – app development – backend – testing – Launch – support)execute.

App flow

1. Detailed requirement gathering – Over exchange of documents and discussions over call – 1 week.

2. Wire framing– Pencil paper sketch of how the screens would look and the screen flow. This makes the requirements very clear and transform the idea into how would users consume the app. This is also called UX phase – 1 week

3. Design– Transforming wireframes into actual screens with colors, icons. Basically make it exactly how you would want to look for users. Lot of these decisions depend on brand perspective, User base demographics, sector of the app etc – 1 to 2 weeks.

4. Once the designs are finalised– Development as a whole will be divided into 3-4 milestones with each one lasting for about 2 weeks. At the end of each milestone app will be sent to client to use and test. Before sending it to client, it would be validated by our internal QA team to ensure quality.

5. After development– Release it to beta users. This solely depends on your strategy. If you would go to Appstore right away, Company would upload the same to Appstore/Playstore and get it approved – 1 week.

Few tech terms you need to Know:

User Interface:

    App designs

Look and feel of the app.


An image or set of images which displays the functional elements of a App, typically used for planning app navigation structure and functionality.

App development:

    Adding functionality to the app design. Ex: when you click on a product, it reverts to product info page. Adding those functionality is called as app development.

Backend Development

    A back-end developer creates the logical back-end and core computational logic API. The developer create components and features that are indirectly accessed by a user through a mobile app. In other words, Backend server is like a brain which stores all the information.


   Helps in communication between backend server and mobile app.

Admin Panel (Dashboard)

   A person who has specific controls for a website/app. In e-commerce apps, Admin panel helps to add or remove products, cost, offers and much more.