As the world goes mobile, mobile startups continue to sprout up. Some seek their fortune across a billion users. Others hope to offer new and innovative services to thousands of businesses.
Now for the hard part: succeeding.
Most mobile start-ups fail. The majority of app developers earn less than $500 a month. Given the odds, it takes a special person to consider launching a mobile startup. Specialness isn’t enough, however. Success takes effort. You’re in luck. By examining what others have already done, we know that the very factors which help promote success can all be learned. Here are the seven habits of highly successful mobile startups:
- Know your paying customer.
You great idea is not enough. Is your app or mobile service both better and cheaper than the incumbents? Who is going to pay you? Is it a one-time sale or recurring? What are the costs of acquiring new customers? The successful mobile startup knows their customers, their market, and whom they are reliant upon.
Back in 2007, at the dawn of the smartphone age, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen noted that market size was the most important factor in the success of a startup. Not the product, and not team skill. Those are secondary. When a market is big enough, it’s forgiving. Meaning, startups have time to get their product and to position exactly right. This isn’t so in a small market. As Andreessen stated, “The product doesn’t need to be great; it just has to work.”
- Listen to your users.
You’ve got customers! Awesome. Are you listening to them after the sale? Are you listening in on support calls? What are their complaints? What are the additional pain points you might help solve? Communicating with and listening to your customers is vital. CleverTap has tools to help you connect with your customers. You can even send personalized messages to your thousands of users.
- Iterate, iterate, iterate.
Uber may be the most successful mobile startup over the past five years. The idea behind Uber, linking anyone with a car to anyone who currently needs a ride, is obvious. Now. But their current success is due to continuous innovation. What started as an app linking a few designated drivers with users who knew in advance they would need a ride, quickly turned into a service where nearly anyone could become a taxi, and everyone understood they could request a ride at any time, from anywhere, with a few quick swipes. Uber has also continued to improve its payment process, rating process, its mapping and notifications functions. More than a great idea is necessary.
- Commit to learning.
A successful mobile startup is committed to continuous learning. In fact, don’t just commit to learning. Make sure to hire people with a proven propensity for learning new skills. With iTunes U, Khan Academy, and even Udacity, it’s now affordable for everyone to learn new skills, without excuses.
- Keep costs low.
Even if you are fortunate enough to receive significant backing, it’s important to stay lean. Staying lean allows you to move fast, pivot, and grow. Thanks to today’s tech, there’s simply no reason for a mobile startup not to keep costs low. Social media supports marketing and branding. App stores reach millions. Productivity applications like Google Apps, code repositories, messaging apps, Slack, and other digital tools are affordable, scalable, and often customizable. Spending money where it’s unnecessary is a waste.
- Be hands-on, even with remote teams.
CleverTap teams are based in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York, and Mumbai. If you hire the best people, they can work from anywhere — this is part of the promise of the mobile age. But you must remain hands-on. When you start your company, commit to using collaborative tools, such as Slack, online calendaring, and Skype to ensure your team is always working together, cognizant of deadlines, knows expectations and is sharing best practices.
- Get inspired.
To build a business from scratch, to keep it alive and thriving, that takes smarts, hard work, timing — and also an inspiration. Stay inspired. Listen to a TED talk. Meet with your client — outside of the typical office setting. Make time for a weekend hike. It just may open you to new ideas, new inputs.
The world is going digital and mobile. You’ve got a head start. Now keep ahead of the curve.
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