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How to Develop a Business Plan for Your App Idea

Chris Porteous
Chris Porteous

To give your new app the best chance at success, you should consider writing a business plan for it.

Clever entrepreneurs around the world have begun to formulate business plans for their app ideas precisely because it's the only surefire way to steer your app towards eventual commercial success. Without a reliable plan to count on when things get difficult, few entrepreneurs can expect their apps to succeed in today's competitive marketplace. After all, consumers have so many options at their disposal that only those highly-refined apps with excellent teams behind them draw their attention for long.

Here's an exploration of how to formulate a business plan for your app idea, what terrible mistakes to avoid in the process, and why this early formulation is so important towards your app’s eventual success. 

The need for a business plan 

You'll never be able to formulate an excellent business plan for your app until you understand why such a plan is essential in the first place. Most business owners formulate a business plan to ensure that their startup will eventually reach profitability and become a sustainable enterprise. Many app developers refuse to see the value of a business plan in their circumstances because they think apps are somehow different, or capable of succeeding without having an excellent gameplan to rely upon.

They couldn't be more wrong; most apps fail precisely because those entrepreneurs trying to bring them into existence don’t realize how difficult it is to succeed in this marketplace. Without a thorough and comprehensive business plan to help guide your decision-making process, your app's development will soon encounter countless challenges that stymie your ultimate success. Gartner has actually claimed that only 0.01 percent of all mobile apps will be considered financial successes, so realize the stakes before you dismiss the need for a business plan entirely. If you want to become one of those lucky few who enjoys success, you'll need to act carefully in the coming days. 

Now that you understand the importance of a business plan for your app, you can move onto actually beginning the formulation of such a plan. When crafting a business plan for your app, you should consider the primary basis for most regular business plans; why do you actually want to go into business doing this in the first place, and how do you intend to separate yourself from competitors in your field? You should be asking yourself how current apps fail to meet consumer demand, and how you intend to swoop in and capitalize on their failures by providing an unparalleled app experience replete with features most customers are looking for but presently lack access to. 

It's important to realize that one key role of a business plan is illustrating what problems you're going to face down the road so that you can prepare yourself amply ahead of time. You will need to address your competitors and your shortcomings, for instance, as this will both help you bolster your weaknesses while simultaneously proving to potential investors that you know what you're talking about. That last part is important because one important role for business plans is demonstrating to investors that your app is worth backing. 

Getting the money you need

Your business plan helps you get the money you need to begin or complete the development of your app by wooing potential investors over by demonstrating your business and technical savvy. You can only do this, however, if your business plan is lacking common mistakes that demonstrate to those seasoned investors that you're a newcomer not worth backing financially. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the common mistakes that jeopardize the success of many business plans.

Besides avoiding common errors in your proposal, you'll also want to demonstrate to investors that you not only recognize who your primary competitors are but also have a gameplan for dealing with them sooner rather than later. After identifying leading threats to your app’s success, demonstrate how you intend to turn those threats into opportunities by overcoming them commercially and tapping into their consumer bases. 

It’s imperative that you don’t assume that your investors, or anybody else reading your business plan, ahs the same level of technical expertise that you do. As the developer of an app, you probably possess IT experience and knowhow that’s far superior to that of the average person. It is thus essential to ensure that the language and format of your entire business plan and how you go about presenting it to others is easily digestible from the standpoint of somebody who lacks tech expertise but is interested in apps nonetheless. 

In order to do that, read up on presenting complex subjects to a non-technical audience. This can be extraordinarily difficult, but it's something you need to consider not only when developing an app but also when you want to start a business of almost any nature. Those who are incapable of recognizing the limitations of their audience will find it incredibly difficult to persuade that audience to see things from their perspective.

Nurturing your app into existence

Now that we've covered the basics of a business plan and why it's so essential, you can focus on the specifics of development one for an app in such a way that guarantees you can nurture it into existence. While your app may only be a loose idea right now, a little bit of planning and a committed execution of your business plan will help materialize it in the real world, where it can be put to work earning you a tidy profit.

Always ask yourself what solution you're providing to your audience, how that solution differs from those offered by competitor apps, and why you're uniquely capable of providing such a solution to the consumers you so desperately want to win over. If you regularly do this, you will have not only self-confidence but also the critical knowledge needed for success when it comes to the often arduous task of successfully developing a commercial app.

You should constantly be asking and answering the question of why and how it's profitable to provide a certain solution in the form of an app. If you're successful in doing this, you'll not only woo over potential investors but also attract other founders who may wish to join your cause. Few developers can churn out an excellent app without the help of others, so attracting these talented individuals who share your ideals is an important role of an app's business plan that is often undervalued. You can also use this opportunity to address other important topics like how you intend to recruit rank-and-file developers and establish a vibrant brand for your app.

In that regard, don't be afraid to do your homework on proper and successful recruitment techniques which will ensure your budding company has all the human talent it needs to succeed. In time, you'll come to revisit your business plan whenever your app hits a developmental hurdle, as it will contain those early principles and key advice, which will ensure your currently-theoretical app blossoms into a vibrant market success.

Don't think that you can make up the development of a successful app as you go. Put plenty of time, effort, and creative energy into the formulation of a comprehensive business plan for your app, and soon you'll be changing the lives of users everywhere. 

Image Credit: Chaosamran_Studio/Getty Images
Chris Porteous
Chris Porteous Member
I'm a serial entrepreneur and owner of three internet ventures, including My SEO Sucks. A contributor to ZeroHedge,, Forbes,, and dozens of other media outlets, I believe in SEO as a product. I developed a proprietary technology fueling the #1 rankings of My SEO Sucks clients. In guest speaking ventures across North American, I advocate for organic search traffic as the backbone of any comprehensive digital marketing strategy.