Five Steps to Build a Profitable Mobile App Startup

/ March 4, 2019 | 4 Mins Read

Five Steps to Build a Profitable Mobile App Startup

Wondering how to generate ROI from your startup and make it successful? Here is the answer...

No doubt that entrepreneurship wave is getting bigger and better like never before. Everyone has a disrupting idea in their mind and everyone wants to escape their monotonous 9 to 5 grind. The journey of converting that great idea into a functional mobile application and then pulling more than invested money out is one heck of a task.

I am part of this industry since last 7 years and I have seen that the majority of startup projects are going after mobile app development. The graph shows the rapid rise of mobile app downloads in the year 2017-18 and in 2022, it is projected that app downloads will surpass 258 billion!

mobile app downloads

Of course, why would anyone let go of the perks and information which are handy? Thus, taking these facts into consideration, startups are diving into the world of Mobile application.

Wait right there!

Before you ask your mobile app developers to start coding, there are few more numbers to crunch.

According to statista, 42% of the startups fail because there is no market need for that product/app and 29% of the startups run out of cash because they haven't figured out on ROI.

In this article, you will discover the steps to minimize the risk and to ensure your startup is profitable.

1. Profitable Business Model

Developing an application as a hobby and developing a profit oozing business on the application are two altogether different things.

Many startup owners rush to develop an app as soon as they have a concept ready.

That can be your biggest mistake.

Before you go for the actual app development process, ask these questions to yourself:

  • Is there any app that has similar features as your business idea has?
  • If so, what features they provide and how do they make money?
  • What other features you are going to include in your app that help users for engagement?

In-depth market research will help you understand end user’s pain points and solving them can help to thrive your startup.

Furthermore, there are millions of apps already in the app stores and one of them may have the same idea implemented as you are supposed to build. Make sure you don’t provide the same user experience as they have.

By looking at recent trends and keywords in your industry, you will have an idea about how many people are searching for an app like you are going to build. So you would understand if people will like your product or not. Launching the right product in the right market makes a big difference.

2. Idea and Execution - Fill the Gap

“A good idea is worthless without impeccable execution and commitment to iterate.” -Zach Klien, Co-Founder of Vimeo

A big idea in mind is priceless to us but for the world out there, a real-time functioning product is what matters the most. Many startups that I have worked with, only focus on selling their idea. They want to raise the fund and pitch the investors with just a well-processed thought in mind. Sometimes this takes the focus away from building the actual product.

In the beginning, it helps a lot, I agree but not at the cost of the product. You will need a great team, a near-to-perfect business plan and market opportunity for your product to get customers paying. Remember, customers are the marketers of your business and sometimes it can also help you to pitch your investors.

3. Creating MVP (Don't forget Wireframes!)

After the idea, more thought process is required on How to Begin? And From where to start?

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) can help you to know if your startup is delivering unique value to the world. MVP is one of the best tried & tested way to validate your idea. It checks if the assumptions, on which we are building the product is correct or not. In the MVP, one has to include “must-have” features which are the crux of the product. Cutting the Nice-To-Have features won't hurt the product and the audience.

When we talk about the flow & feature set of the product, experts suggest that prototyping and wireframing are the godsend ways before the MVP. Wireframe gives the actual vision of how the product will look like and which button will go where in the screens. If done in the right way, with the right tools, flaws are caught in the very beginning and save a huge cost.

4. Effective App Monetization

Considering (and I hope) your app is live and hitting the quality number of downloads, it’s time to make money out of it. You might want to consider building a feature or two extra like a cherry on the top and you are good to go.

Here are some steps that can help you monetise your app-

Free vs Paid Apps

Undoubtedly, you will consider making an app paid as it would give more revenue per download.

It looks great to have some profits at the initial stage but it would be annoying for your users.

Users who come to your app for the first time would like to explore more about your app first. It wouldn’t be a good idea to ask for money at this stage when you are looking for more loyal users and branding of your app.

Make your app free to download and let customers enjoy the app browsing and some features.

Of course, you won’t get loyal customers for the free app. They are not paying anything to download the app but it will help you to increase the number of downloads.

You can always find another way to generate revenue. To earn extra, you can assign some features as premium and ask for a subscription.

5. Advertising on app

This can turn the table for free apps to earn some rewards.

Make an advertising space for advertisers. If your startup app gets thousands of users and gains some recognition, you can ask for pay cheque from advertiser based on those statistics. This strategy seems most profitable for free apps if it has a good database of users.


You need to understand that it’s a process. Yes, long, steady and tiring process. Implementing all the steps ensures that we are not missing out any obvious points and we are maximizing the probability of the success of the product. One thing which is important here is a consistent growth rate.

Make sure the team checks on mobile app performance on regular basis and improvise if needed. Keep updated your app with new features that can be helpful to users.

Now you are armed with the information about generating ROI from your startup and make it successful.

Do you have any story to share of your mobile app startup? Share with us in comments.

Pete McCain is a technology startup enthusiast, associated with AppVelocity - a mobile app development company in Canada. He is keen to share his startup and technology knowledge. When he is not filled with work, he would like to roam around with his two teens.

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