9 Tips for your Startup

Where are you with your startup? Is business booming or are you yet to begin?

Wherever you are, there is always more you could know. From one startup to another these are some of the tips we’ve learned along the way.

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Here are some habits of successful entrepreneurs, like Richard Branson. If you’re curious to know what they do differently.

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1. Know to take feedback and criticism:

We know this company is your brilliant idea. You’re proud of it and have every right to be. Everyone, from time to time, will take some advice on how it can be improved. Family, friends and co-workers will likely have good ideas for you to improve. They aren’t telling you what you’re doing is wrong. Because if it was, you wouldn’t be where you are today. They are just trying to suggest what could make the business more successful. If you haven’t already, try validating your idea yourself!

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2. Future proof, map out what you want to achieve:

Where are you currently? What do you want to achieve with this company? These are the questions you’ll have to ask yourself, and create a path from A to B. Now it’s not as easy as that. Otherwise, everyone’s business would be successful. Create a company vision, mission or purpose. Something that makes your customers understand where you are coming from. If they know why you started your company, it might make they trust your product/service. Along the path you wish to achieve, imagine everything that could go wrong. Which can be very stressful. But, to help put your mind at ease, think about the other side of that. Design a solution for every possible problem. Try design thinking.

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3. Work with the right people:

Are the people you’re working with pushing you or letting you stagnate? Steve Jobs was considered aggressive and unkind. He pushed people to further their visions of what Apple could be. From that, they created a technology giant. Now, I don’t recommend being aggressive or unkind. Especially if you’re not as skilled at mentoring like Steve Jobs was. But if nobody challenges you, you may not feel as pushed as you might need. So go out and find the right people!

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4. Do what you are passionate about:

Starting a company is a stressful, time and money consuming venture. With that in mind, if you don’t love the service or product you are creating, why are you doing it? Belief in your idea will push you through times of turbulence. Without that, it may all become too much. So, do what you love and make a living out of it.

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5. Learn from your mistakes:

 

It might seem like common sense, but learning from your mistakes. Making sure to learn quickly is the best way to go. Even if what you are doing used to be successful. But has recently become a mistake, change with the industry. Just because cold calling used to work, doesn’t mean it will now.

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6. Maintain quality:

Keep doing what brought you success from day one. You didn’t get your first customers by selling them poor quality products or services. If you did your business may never have gotten off the ground! But today, you’re finding that you are in competition with bigger companies. And unfortunately, they have a better value proposition. Keep your quality and find a way to make your product necessary. Even if it means you need to find grants or support. Make the price part of the product. Back to the Apple example, the Apple price point is a reflection on its quality. Not only that but offers the image of owning an Apple product. Figure out how to keep and price, and make it almost a positive, you won’t lose customers on a quality product.

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7. Content is greater than pushy marketing:

The days of pushy, aggressive marketing are over. Good riddance! Say hello to inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the opposite of traditional marketing. Traditional marketing was getting to the potential customer. Inbound marketing is having them come to you. How do you get them to come to you? By creating content that gets their attention and support. Provide them with something that will make them want to return. Once you have their attention, then try to sell them the product. This creates a loyalty with the customer, as the product wasn’t pushed on them. They found you and your content through research.

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8. Do some research:

Do your research! If you don’t you could be selling to the wrong audience. Do your market research and create design tools, like personas for your audience as you need. Next create what you believe their customer journey, and where you fit in that. That way, you’re figuring out the way to get your product or service into their hands or homes. Doing so in the least intrusive way possible.

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9. Start:

You might be here because you haven’t started and you want to figure out what mistakes to avoid. But you have already made the biggest one. You just haven’t begun. Begin creating whatever it is you wish to sell or create and just do it! Whether it starts a line of code, a plan or a design. Just get on with it! You can’t succeed if you never begin. Start being productive today!

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Have you got your own startup company? What advice would you give yourself when you first started?

 

I hope these tips help you with your startup company, and if you need help developing an app. Please check out the Launchpad App Development quote page.

 

Maybe a good startup idea would be getting into the ever-growing Internet of Things?

Have a read of our blog, here.

 

The 7 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

We all have habits. Some are good, like positive thinking and healthy eating, while some are bad, like procrastinating and overspending. Habits are basically routines or activities we do continuously without realising it. They have an impact on our daily lives including how we work. Good habits have helped create success for Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson. Today we’ll be going through the 7 habits of successful entrepreneurs that you can adopt.

Related: The Top 6 Traits of Game-Changing Entrepreneurs

Habit 1. Get up and active

While work is important, it is also important to get away from your desk. There are many benefits to exercise that can help you work efficiently. It improves your brain, making  you more creative and stimulates your thinking.

Exercising doesn’t require much time or money and a gym membership isn’t required. You can just go outside for walk or jog in a park.

Lots of successful entrepreneurs do it and if you don’t have time, make time in the early morning or evening for it. For example, Richard Branson wakes up at 5 AM and either kite surfs, swims or plays tennis.

Habit 2: Set Goals

Successful entrepreneurs set short and longer term goals for themselves and also for their business. Examples include getting investors and reaching a certain amount of sales per year. Additionally, they set up effective goals that are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).

Entrepreneurs stick and keep their goals in mind while at work. This helps them prioritise and focus on tasks that are most important.

Before doing anything they ask themselves whether the task will achieve their main goals. To not get overwhelmed by their goals, entrepreneurs further break it down to small tasks. There’s lots of software, such as Trello and Asana, to help achieve this.

Habit 3: Plan and organise

Following on, successful entrepreneurs are continually involved with daily and long term planning, whether in the office or on the road.

They create to-do lists and daily schedules to ensure they get all their tasks done.  Planning creates a strategy on how entrepreneurs tackle their week. It makes them think before they start doing any executions.

There is an endless list of productivity apps and software available that can help with planning, such as Evernote. Successful entrepreneurs also do pre-planning at the end of their day to prepare for tomorrow.

Effective planning helps keep entrepreneurs on track towards achieving their long term goals. As the saying goes: failing to plan is planning to fail.

Habit 4: Take risks

Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid risks when running their business. These risks might involve factors with the market, personal or even financial risk.

In fact, one of the first risks they took were resigning from their current job and creating a startup. For example, Steve Jobs and Steve Woz dropped out of college to start Apple and Elon Musk invested in two startups that nearly went bankrupt but ultimately succeeded.

While risk involves gut feeling and just doing it, calculated risk involves weighing up the pros and cons before execution. There are many benefits of risk-taking. For instance, gaining experience, finding out what doesn’t work and you’ll won’t live with regret.

Whether it’s launching a new product or the financial market, you have to risk it to get the rewards.

Habit 5: Continuously learn

Successful entrepreneurs are always learning and expanding their knowledge. They learn through activities like reading books, attending seminars and networking with others. For instance, Bill Gates is a big reader, reading about 50 books a year.

The benefits of continually learning is that you get new perspectives, knowledge and enhances creativity. There are lots of free and paid resources out there that can boost your brain.

If you like reading, books I highly recommend the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Thankyou’s biography: Chapter 1 (Definitely for new startups) by Daniel Flynn.

For online videos, TED talks are the way to go. Podcasts by big name entrepreneurs, like Gary Vaynerchuk are also great if always you’re on the go.

Habit 6: Enjoy what they do

Successful entrepreneurs don’t just work for the money, they love doing what they’re doing.

There are different reasons why entrepreneurs create their own startup. Some might enjoy being their own boss or the personal challenge of starting their business.

For others, it might be to make a positive impact, such as Thank you’s founder, Daniel Flynn, or follow their passions, such as Showpo founder, Jane Lu.  

Successful entrepreneurs love it so much that they become emotionally attached to it. They put everything into their startup, even giving up their free time to make sure it succeeds and strives.

Habit 7: Bounce back

While facing roadblocks and the potential of failing in our lives, it’s what we do that matters. Successful entrepreneurs are persistent and will rise above any obstacles.

They view their failure as a learning experience and the opportunity to improve. In fact, there have been lots of successful entrepreneurs who have used failure to turn their business around.

A well known example is Walt Disney. He was told that he wasn’t creative and his early ventures failed. His cartoon creations got stolen and rejected. However, he persevered and became successful with Walt Disney Company.

 

By adopting these 7 habits you’ll be on your way to grow personally and as an entrepreneur. It’s not too late to adopt these habits. You can start straight away!

 

What habits do you think successful entrepreneurs have?
Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

 

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Unique App Idea

Unless you’ve seen The Social Network – you might not know how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook. According to the movie, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss created the idea with their own social network, Harvard Connection.

When Harvard student and programmer Victor Gao resigned he referred them to Mark Zuckerberg. The twins hired Mark and gave him access to Harvard Connection’s network passwords, files and servers. This led to Mark starting work on his own social networking site, thefacebook.

Years later, the legal battle between Winklevosses and Zuckerberg ended in a settlement worth $65 million dollars. To avoid this scenario happening to you, we’re going to outline the 5 best ways to safeguard your app idea.

1. Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

A Non-Disclosure Agreement helps protects your ideas being shared by others outside of the agreement. This document is important when you’re dealing with anything tech related that requires development. An NDA should be readily available by a developer if requested. It is important to remember that the NDA only comes into effect after each party in the agreement signs the contract. Anything discussed before the NDA gets signed may not be covered in the agreement.

 

 

Have a confidential discussion about your app idea with us! 

 

2. Don’t say too much

Another way to keep your app idea safe is to avoid sharing too much information about your app to others. Magicians don’t reveal their secrets, so you should not reveal too much regardless of how excited you are. Also, be selective of those you choose to tell your app idea. When speaking to friends, colleagues or app developers at the initial call, just give a brief overview or a sales pitch of your app idea. However, investors might want more in-depth information on your idea. They don’t normally sign NDAs, so you can do is add a confidentiality disclaimer in important documents.

 

3. Trademark your app’s identity

Trademarks prevent others from using your app’s identity. This prevents consumers from downloading counterfeit apps. protects your brand. Anything that distinguishes yourself from others, such as logos, screenshotsand phrases, can be trademarked. Protecting your identity can help build brand and icon recognition, especially if your app becomes successfulSnapchat can be easily recognised  by its ghost icon and Evernote with its elephant head icon. Before applying, check if existing trademarks have been registered at IP Australia.

 

4. Retain documentation

It is important to keep all documents related to your app and from third parties safe. Documents you should keep safe include: agreements, contracts, business plans, trademarks and meeting minutes. These documents can be used as evidence and help you when any disputes arise or any legal situations happen during the app development process. To avoid overflowing your cabinets and drawers with documents, you can scan them to your computer and upload them to a cloud.

 

 

5. Hire a reputable app development company

Once you’re at the app development stage, it is crucial to find a trustworthy app developer. Your app idea will be kept safe and also developed efficiently. During the hunt for the right app developer, make sure to check out information such as their experience, portfolio, and client reviews. Additionally, a good app development agency will be genuinely interested in your idea, not just developing it. They’ll guide you throughout the development process, giving you advice and ideas based on their experience to make sure it succeeds in the market.

 

 

By following this guide you’ll be at peace and won’t need to worry about getting your app stolen.

For further legal advice on trademarks or NDAs, it is recommended that you visit a lawyer or legal firm with knowledge in this area.

If you have an app idea, contact us for a confidential and informative discussion!

 

Australian App Developers

Here’s a Quick Way to Validate Your Mobile App Idea in 2017

Don’t wait for someone else to validate your great app idea. Validate it yourself!

So you have an idea for an app. But it’s not just any app idea.

After browsing the App Stores, you realise there’s nothing like your app available. You’ve mentioned the idea in conversation and noticed that others think it would be an awesome app. You’ve defined what your app is all about and envisioned how it will revolutionise the world.

This is exactly what happened to Evan Spiegel in 2012.  He dropped out of Stanford University to focus on his idea for a photo-sharing app. Its main focus: communicating with the full range of human emotion—not just what appears to be perfect or pretty”.

This might have sounded like a great concept back in 2012. But was that all it took for Evan to go ‘all-in’ on his app idea? What made him think his idea would stand out from apps like Facebook and Instagram? How did he know there were smartphone users looking for a photo-sharing app like his?

Before you start investing time and money to make your startup dreams come true, you need to spend the time upfront validating what your app idea could truly become. Idea validation helps you to not only save time and money, but also focus your efforts on building an app that people want to use and increases your chances of creating a successful app startup.

This is what Evan Spiegel did in 2012 before leaving college to focus on his app startup called Snapchat. Validating Snapchat back then may not have shown that it’d be worth $20 Billion and the third-most popular social network in less than five years, but it did allow Evan to move forward with confidence in the market demand and long-term viability of his innovative app idea.

That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you validate whether your app can generate revenue, attract users and allow you to join the wave of successful app entrepreneurs in 2017.

Even if you’re not too ‘tech savvy’ or just taking your first step towards entrepreneurship, this complete guide will take you from the initial concept of your app idea all the way to its successful launch.

 

App Developer Melbourne

 

Step 1 – Establish the basics of your business model

Identify your target users and find out if your idea is profitable.

Having a great app idea is definitely a cool ‘eureka’ moment to have, but without a workable business model, your idea is likely going to stay in that moment rather than becoming a successful reality.

Since your app is a startup that you want to generate constant, sustainable revenue from, there are a few things you need to clear right from the get-go:

  • The type of app you want to develop
  • Who your target user is
  • If your target user even wants your app
  • Whether to develop your app for iOS, Android or both
  • Keeping your app localised or going global

Once you can define this foundation of your app’s business model, you can then move forward with confidence to the actual development phase. This is way better than hastily moving forward with an app idea you think is amazing, only to find out that not many other people feel the same way.

 

Primary Research

The best way to identify your target audience is through market research. Understanding the motivations and behaviours of potential users helps you find out the market demand for your app. This will also help you determine that sort of app to develop.

A cost-effective way to discover what prospective users think is by creating user persona models. As part of our Rocketfuel Workshops with budding app entrepreneurs, we create user personas to better understand the needs of target users. We then place the created personas into scenarios to find out if certain app features are desirable or ineffective in certain situations.

 

Melbourne App Developers

An example user persona featuring the target user’s bio, personality, goals and frustrations. Source: Xtensio

 

Secondary Research

With an initial understanding of your prospective audience, you can refine your target users by conducting secondary research. A variety of published reports and collected data is available online.

Sources like IBISWorld provide up-to-date Market Research reports covering every industry in Australia. Analytic tools like App Annie or Sensor Tower lets you discover the keywords similar apps rank for. This allows you to find out if people are actually looking for an app like yours.

With all this gathered research data, you can now move forward to determine the best platform/s for your app.

 

iOS, Android or both?

As you establish the business model for your innovative mobile app idea, you’ll undoubtedly have to consider whether to develop the app for Apple iOS, Google’s Android operating system, or both.

If you’re looking to build for one platform first then here’s what you need to know: iOS apps are always more profitable and get greater exposure than Android apps. This is due to iPhone and iPad users spending more on apps and Apple streamlining its process for developing and launching iOS apps in the App Store.

 

App Development Australia

iOS worldwide app store revenue has been consistently higher than Google Play’s over the past three years. Source: Apple Insider

 

So if your main focus is increase revenue and efficiency in the development process, create an app for iOS.

 

To localise or not localise

When you localise an app, you are tailoring it to suit a certain country, region or continent, whether through language, design and/or marketing. During the initial idea stage, you may choose to target a small market within your home country that can expand over time – but herein lies the problem.

According to eMarketer, there are now over 2 billion smartphones users worldwide. That’s a potential market of 2 billion people. If you don’t localise your app to the societal and cultural traits of other world regions, you dramatically reduce your potential market penetration.

App Development

 

If you’re an Australian App Entrepreneur wanting to keep your app’s appeal domestic, consider this: With roughly 15 million smartphone users nationally, Australia contributes less than 1% of the overall app market share. Your app is already missing out on a vast majority of potential customers if you don’t localise it.

Plan to localise your app globally in places that lead the way in app use and consumption. With a solid localisation strategy as part of your app’s business model, now comes the prototyping phase.

 

Step 2 – Put your idea down on paper

Think about your app’s users and what features they need.

If you’ve got great app ideas you truly believe will be a success, write them down. Whether it’s app name options or wireframe sketches, jotting down your ideas will help you to think more creatively.

As you’re putting pen to paper, be sure to pay close attention to your users. Think about the audience you will be designing the app for and what their user experience will be in-app.

 

The Prototyping Tool

At Launchpad App Development, our user-centric approach to app prototyping is implemented to enhance the usability, convenience and satisfaction from a user’s interaction with our apps. But this process is undertaken once we’ve helped our clients crush assumptions and defined the best way to launch their app’s mobile presence.

So what sort of app prototyping can you do while validating your app idea? It’s important to find yourself a powerful and user-friendly prototyping tool that makes design iterations and experimenting easier. Ideally, the prototyping tool should include the following features:

  • It let’s you design wireframes and mockups simply and quickly
  • It lets you seamlessly share design iterations with your team and developers
  • It’s free to use, but provides an upgrade option if you need more features

During our discovery sessions with clients, my go-to prototyping tool is InVision. InVision is free to use and allows you to turn your App Idea into an interactive, clickable Mobile prototype.

 

There are so many user-friendly prototyping tools available that it would be in your best interest to try out a couple of them to find out which one is best for you and your workflow. Some other excellent prototyping tools I recommend are Fluid UI and Marvel as you can learn how to use them in an intuitive and fast manner. The upside of “test driving” a few of them is that you’ll end up with the best fit to visualise your app idea.

 

Step 3 – Find a great app developer

The qualities to look for in a great development partner.

There are certain qualities that make excellent technical partners truly stand out. Besides coding talent, they need people with mobile product experience. They should have Innovative UI/UX Designers and attentive Quality Assurance (QA) testers that work together to produce brilliant mobile apps. A great development partner provides you with experts across all these areas that work in parallel to iterate quickly and deploy efficiently.

 

How to Find that Perfect Partner

When you’re in the process of choosing an app development company, what you’re really choosing is a partner that will collaborate with you to transform your innovative idea into a successful app. To find that ideal app development partner, look for these characteristics:

  1. A beautiful portfolio – Their work should feature attractive apps that provide user-friendly and intuitive mobile experiences. This is a sign of their mobile UX and UI design
  2. Genuine interest in your app – They should have collaborated with lots of entrepreneurs and different app startups. As a result, they’ll be able to provide supplementary creative input from all their development experience.
  3. Not the cheapest – Your main focus should not be to save money – it should be to design and develop a brilliant app. The best partner will cost more than the cheapest developer, but this will ensure that you are giving your app the best chance of startup success once launched so that you achieve the best possible ROI.
  4. A detailed product strategy process – Their initial discovery session should be to capture the essence of what your app will do and understand the outcomes you want to achieve. From there, they should start strategically planning the key drivers to generating revenue and making your app a success.
  5. Open to collaboration – Trust forms so much faster when working side by side with your development partner. That’s why a great partner will always be willing to co-innovate with clients to promote brainstorming, problem-solving and constant communication throughout the app development process.

When you’ve found that perfect partner that understands your app vision, provides a product strategy to make it better, and can help you throughout the whole development process, you’re ready to transform your app from an innovative idea into a successful reality!

 

Before you validate your app idea…

It’s one thing to have an innovative idea for an app, but it’s another thing entirely to turn it into a popular, moneymaking reality that people download from the App Store.

If you have a brilliant idea, it could very well be the foundation for the next big app startup. By following these steps, you will give yourself the best opportunity to find out your app idea’s potential.

Ready to build a successful app startup?

Book a free 1-hour discovery session with one of our Launchpad specialists to define the next steps for your concept.

 

Australian App Developers

 

7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

There has been a rise in female entrepreneurs (also known as fempreneurs) not only in Australia but also around the world. Similarly to the success of app entrepreneurs, which we looked at previously, startup success starts with having the big idea coupled with the determination towards turning their vision into a reality. Today we’ll be focusing on 7 female entrepreneurs who took their passion and disrupted the industry with their business idea.

 

Related: 7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

 

1. Justine Flynn – Thankyou

Justine Flynn is the co-founder of Thankyou, a social enterprise in Australia, where proceeds of its product sales are donated to help developing countries. Created in 2008, the idea came about when the founders saw an opportunity of the high bottled water consumption in Australia to tackle the water crisis. Thankyou has expanded their product lines to beauty, food and baby care, which are stocked in 5,000 outlets in Australia. They’ve raised over $3 million for projects, giving over 100,000 people access to water and food across 17 countries.

 

 

 

2. Whitney Wolfe – Bumble

Whitney Wolfe is the founder of social and dating app, Bumble, which is similar to Tinder (co-founded by Whitney) but with a twist. In the app, females make the first move and are the only ones who can start conversations with males. Additionally, matches disappear if the other user doesn’t reply within 24 hours. The app was created to challenge the dating rule of males starting the conversation. Since launch in December 2014, Bumble has more than 10 million users, more than 50 billion swipes and has been named dating app of the year at the US Dating Awards.

 

 

 

3. Jodie Fox – Shoes of Prey

Jodie Fox is one of the co-founders of Shoes of Prey, an online retail shop startup. It started in 2009 in Sydney and offers fully customisable shoes. Customers are able to choose details like shape, colour, and material. Jodie got the idea after being unable to find shoes that matched her preferences. She then wanted to give the same experiences to others. Shoes of Prey have received more than $20 million in funding and won multiple awards at the Telstra Business Awards.

 

 

 

4. Marcela Sapone – Hello Alfred

Marcela Sapone co-founded an on-demand app called Hello Alfred,  which is the Uber of butler services. Users are assigned a butler that completes household chores and tasks they want to be done through the platform. The app idea came when Marcela was unable to do chores because of late work hours in Harvard Business School. Since launching in Boston in 2013, Hello Alfred has raised more than $11 million in funding, won TechCrunch’s Disrupt Startup Competition. Marcela was also listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

 

 

 

5. Genevieve George – OneShift

Genevieve George is the founder of OneShift, an online job marketplace for casual, permanent or shift work. The platform functions differently to other job marketplaces. Users create a profile and are matched with jobs based on the information they provide. The startup idea came from previous experiences of applying for jobs and working at a cafe. Genevieve wanted to make it easier for small businesses to hire and people to apply for jobs. Since 2012, OneShift raised $4.7 million in funding. They’ve also won multiple awards, such as the 2013 E-business, innovation and enterprise award. Genevieve also made the top 50 emerging leaders of 2015 list.

 

 

6. Jane Lu – Showpo

Jane Lu is the CEO and founder of the online fashion startup, Showpo. The store ships female clothing at affordable prices to 45 countries around the world. The idea came as a result of Jane wanting a career change and being unable to find stores that offered affordable on-trend clothing with fast shipping. Since starting in a garage in 2010, Showpo is now worth $10 million and awards, such as Smart Company’s Top Retailer of the Year and BRW Fast Starters. In addition, Jane has won multiple entrepreneurial awards like Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and SmartCompany’s Hot 30 under 30.

 

 

 

7. Lisa Falzone – Revel Systems

Lisa Falzone is the CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, a point of sale system that operates on iPad. The POS system enables a more efficient and smooth transaction process for customers and small businesses. The idea came when Lisa went out to restaurants selling an app, noticing that they used outdated, bulky and inefficient POS systems. Since launch in 2010, Revel Systems have raised $127.3 million in funding. They’ve also won the Tabby Award for Best Retail System. Lisa also won numerous entrepreneurial awards, such as EY Entrepreneurial Women, Forbes’ 40 under 40 and Business Insider’s’ 30 Most Important Women Under 30.  

 

 

Do you know any other kick ass female entrepreneurs?
Let us know on social media!

7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen” – Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance

Do you have an app idea that has the potential to be the next big thing? All you need is the big idea coupled with the passion and drive towards making it successful. This means getting it developed and published in the app market. Here are 7 Australian app entrepreneurs who have turned their app idea into a success.

Related: 7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

 

1. Jess Wilson – Creator of the “Tinder for Clothes”

jess-wilson-stashd2Stashd is a fashion discovery app created by Jess Wilson. The idea came from the lack of retailers’ engagement she experienced when shopping online. The fashion discovery app lets users view clothing and accessories from global fashion stores. Then they either stash (swiping right and storing it) or trash (swiping left and deleting it). Stashed is used in over 80 countries with over 4,200 brands partnering with the app and over 500,000 fashion items accessible. It has even partnered with Tencent, a popular shopping app in China.

 

 

 

2. Chris Strode – Ensuring the numbers add up for businesses

 

chris-strode

Chris Strode is the creator and founder of Invoice2Go, which is a business app where users can create, send and manage invoices from their smartphone. Chris could not find accounting software that were easy to use, which sparked the app idea. From starting out as a side business, Invoice2Go is now worth over $100 million, has raised $50 million in funding and expanded overseas. It has been the number one business app in the app store and is used by more than 200,000 small businesses around the world.  

 

 

 

 

3. Melanie Perkins –  Turning the world into a graphic designer overnight

 

melanie-perkins-canva2

Melanie Perkins created Canva at the age of 19 in her home. The app makes it easier for users to perform advanced graphic design tasks on their Apple devices. Her app idea came as a result of the complexities of graphic design software. Canta is worth $458 million and has gained over $40 million in funding, with celebrities like Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson on the list. Since launch, the app has won numerous awards and achieved worldwide success with over 10 million users across 179 countries.

 

 

 

4. Luke Anear – Improving safety, thousands of workplaces at a time

 

luke-anear-safety-culture

iAuditor is an app created by Luke Anear that allows businesses to create checklists and audits on Occupational Health and Safety in businesses.The app idea came about while Luke worked in the worker’s compensation industry. He witnessed accidents in the workplace and wanted to prevent any more from happening with this app. Since launch, the app has gained $33.88 million in funding and gained international success. The app is used across 80 countries and they have expanded their offices overseas.

 

 

 

 

 

5. George Freney – Saving shoppers time and petrol every day

 

george-freney-booodl

Booodl is a store discovery engine app created by George Freney that shows users which stores and locations stock products they are looking for. The app idea began when George kept forgetting to buy a USB cable and could not find one at nearby stores. Since launching, more than 15,000 retailers have partnered with Booodl. They’ve won multiple awards, such as the 2015 Aus App design awards, and recently achieved a $2.85 million investment deal with a major shopping centre in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Andrew Low – Enhancing the supply ordering process

 

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Andrew Low is the co-founder of Ordermentum. Thea app helps businesses in the hospitality industry order supplies efficiently through a cloud platform. With vast experience in Finance and Fast Consumer Goods, Andrew created the app after trying to find a way businesses can order and pay for supplies more efficiently. Since launch, more than 3,000 businesses have signed up to Ordermentum, with more signing up each day. They have recently received $2.5 million in funding and plans of powerhouse investors coming on board.  

 

 

 

 

 

7. Peter Marchiori – Making job applications and hiring a breeze

 

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Peter Marchiori created Found Careers. The app is, essentially, the Tinder for jobs. Basically, users create their profile and tick jobs they want to apply for. Users can also chat directly to employers, making communicate easier. The app idea was the result of the founders facing difficulties of finding employees in their previous business.  It has over 25,000 downloads and over 2,000 jobs posted. Found recently gained $1.5 million in funding and voted as the #1 useful job platform in Australia.  

 

 

 

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7 Government Grants to Boost your Startup in 2017

With two weeks left of 2016, you might have some new year resolutions for your startup. One of your list priorities most likely would be to enhance your operations. Whether it’s finding investors or creating a mobile app, receiving government grants might be a high priority.

With the various grants offered by the Australian Government and the latest Innovation Agenda launching, 2017 will be a great opportunity for you to apply for some grants. In this post, we’ll be identifying grants that will help kick start your startup in the new year.

 

1. Entrepreneur’s Programme

 

The Entrepreneur’s Programme is an initiative that helps entrepreneurs and startups support and develop their innovative ideas or concepts. Through this initiative, entrepreneurs get access to networks and support from advisors and facilitators in the relevant industries.
Applications for this grant have no due date are on-going. You’ll need to apply for the elements separately on the official government program website.

The Benefits:

This program helps your startup achieve business grow through assistance with the following aspects:

  • Product/Service commercialisation (Accelerating Commercialisation):  This element of the program will give your startup the boost to launch your idea into the market. You’ll get a strategy of commercialising your products with an experienced adviser. The element will also help you offer partnering opportunities and access to a network of experts. If you go ahead and undertake a commercialisation project you can gain a grant of 50 percent expenditure of up to $1 million.
  • Business Analysis (Business Management): An experienced advisor analyst will go through business strategies, direction and provide recommendations to improve your startup’s abilities. You’ll receive a tailored plan which will help your startup increase competitiveness and growth. With this element you can also apply for a Business Growth grant of up to $20,000 after meeting with a service provider to fund your improvement projects.
  • Business gap analysis (Innovation Connections): You’ll be able to identify knowledge gaps that are restricting your startup from achieving growth from expert innovation facilitators. These facilitators will also help you identify opportunities to get your ideas research new ideas and provide other business service packages. There’s also an innovation grant available if you decide to undertake a product research project of up to $50,000.

 

2. Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF)

 

Launching sometime in 2017, the Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF) is a new initiative by the Australian Government that allows startups and  entrepreneurs crowd from the public of up to $5 million each year. To get your funding you’ll need to submit a CSEF document that contains information about your business and purpose, through an intermediary with a Financial Services License.

The Benefits

This is great for startups who have a ground breaking idea or product but need lots of funding to get it implemented.

The CSEF is still in development but if you want to keep up to date with the latest news you can subscribe for updates on the Australian Government site.

 

3. Small Business Grants Program – City of Melbourne

 

To support creativity and innovation, the City of Melbourne offers grants to startups that have a market ready product or service.

There are four grant categories: Startup, Business Expansion, Export and Business Support, however you can only apply for one category per round.

Your application will be assessed on Innovation and Creativity (23%), Business readiness (25%), Financial viability (20%), How it benefits the City of Melbourne (20%), Ethical and other considerations (5%).

The Benefits:

You can receive up to $30,000 to boost your startup and help you with business expansion. In addition there are also $10,000 grants to help export your products overseas and expand in new markets.

To be eligible, your startup needs to be located in the Melbourne CBD area or planning to move there in the future. Your team can only have up to 20 staff members, have an ABN, proposals and other documents.

Applications will open in June 2017, so now will be a good time to plan your application early.

 

4. Landing Pads

 

Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to travel and work in coworking spaces for 90 days overseas in areas known for innovation. Currently there two areas in operation; San Francisco and Tel Aviv, with plans of Landing Pads in Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.

To apply you’ll need to fill in the application form online, which asks for personal details and answer pre-requisite questions about your startup, e.g. your key objectives, how you differentiate from others.

The Benefits:

Applying for Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to gain market knowledge, improve your  products designs and network with other startups overseas. Additionally, you get access to training, coaching and investor networking opportunities.

You’ll be fully supported from Austrade when overseas and after returning home. Here, Austrade will further provide assistance by introducing you to other service providers, corporate and government agencies.

Applications are ongoing and offered each time Landing Pads are available. You can reapply if you are not successful the first time around.

 

5. Grow your business – Victoria

 

Grow Your Business is similar to the Entrepreneur’s Programme but only available to startups in Victoria. The program gives your startup funding for attending planning and management services on offer. There are different program categories, consisting of development plans, strategic review, mentoring, group and network programs.

Each category has different criteria, which you can find here.

Applications are ongoing and are done online.

The Benefits:

These grants will help you cover costs for a certain amount of the project, which varies depending on category.

The Business Development Plan and Mentoring covers up to 50% of total projects of up to $7,500. The Business Strategic Review covers up to 75%, up to $4,000 and Group and Network projects covering up to 75% of a cost up to $15,000.

Your operations and strategies will be analysed and reviewed. You’ll get reports on your business and areas of improvements so that you can maintain long-term growth. Finally, this program helps you enhance your management and business skills maximise your competitiveness overseas.

 

6. Research & Development Tax Incentive

 

The Research & Development Tax Incentive will help your startup relieve costs with the help of a tax offset. The grant provides startups 45 cents back from every dollar spent on R&D but only if they earn under $20 million in a year. The minimum spending of R&D is $20,000 and you’ll need to provide supporting documents. As long as you’re actively trying to find solutions to problems  with products, you can apply even if you’re not in the tech industry.

Applications are done online and the deadline is 10 months after the end of a company’s year.

The Benefits:

This will most benefit new startups or those without sales as you’ll receive 45% back from Research & Development expenditure, such as wages for personnel working on projects. Additionally, R&D will enable you to enhance your products and achieve solutions. This grant will be a big help in the idea validation and product research stage of your startup.

7. Export Market Development Grant

 

This Grant gives reimbursements for exporting marketing activities and creating new markets. There are a whole range of categories you can claim, from marketing consultants, overseas trade shows  and free samples. This grant is mainly for startups who actively promote their products or services overseas.

Applications are done online but currently closed and expected to reopen sometime next year.

The Benefits:

You can get back up to 50 percent of expenses as long as they are at least $15,000. As a result, the Export Market Development Grant enables you to spend more money on promotional activities. Your startup will be able to explore more markets overseas and also reduce the financial risk of international business activity.

 

emmas-journeyAn example of how grants can help boost your startup

Takeaways

With these 7 government grants, you can be well on your way towards reaching your goal of boosting your startup in the new year. A final word of advice, as you start preparing your applications for each grant remember to incorporate what the Government is looking for in startups. For instance, in the Landing Pads program, the Government is looking for startups that have vision, market relevance, scalability, differentiation and traction.

 

Have you applied for any government grants in 2016? Which grants will you apply for in 2017? Let us know on our Facebook page.

 

7 Apps Entrepreneurs Need on their Next Business Trip

As an entrepreneur, you might be required to travel to different locations to meet with customers or clients. In the past, we had to rely on physical maps, travel guides and notepads which might take up space in our luggage. Luckily for us, we can now access all those tools on our smartphone.

There are a variety of travel apps in the Google Play and Apple App stores that can make your bags lighter and make your trip more efficient. We’ve done the groundwork and compiled a list of seven mobile apps that you should have on your mobile devices the next time you’re traveling domestically or internationally.

 

1. Uber

If you’re not hiring a car, Uber is the app for all your transportation needs. As one of the most popular on-demand ridesharing apps, you can save time waiting for taxis or public transport and also could save money. With its intuitive UI design, you’ll be able to request your Uber at the touch of a button and track the driver as they arrive at your pickup location.

Compared to a taxi, you’ll pay a fixed fare and will be able to know how much it costs before travelling. Payment is all done through your credit card via the app so you won’t have to use cash. You can choose to ride economically, luxuriously or carpool with other passengers. With Uber you can save money and ride to your next meeting with style.

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Uber gets you where you need to be at a lower cost

2. Tripit

Tripit is a very useful that allows you to input and access travel plans on your smartphone with ease. It’s one of my personal favourites that I always use when going on trips. You can add essential information, such as flight itinerary, hotel reservations and contact information all on your smartphone or tablet.

Tripit is very easy to use and setup. All you need to do is forward your travel confirmation emails to a specified Tripit email and it will create a master itinerary for you. Your plans and itineraries are shareable to others, which means your family, friends, managers and co-workers will know where you are. Tripit boosts your efficiency, allowing you to stay ahead of your travel plans.

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Tripit helps you stay ahead of your itinerary

3. Evernote

With its recognisable app icon, Evernote is one of the most popular productivity apps for entrepreneurs that is available for free for Android, Apple and Windows phones. The app allows you to take notes, create to-do lists, add meeting minutes, set reminders and capture your thoughts while you travel.

You won’t need to worry about losing your notes because they’re stored on a cloud server and accessible on multiple devices. Evernote comes in three different plans; Free, Plus and Premium, which varies in pricing, features, and data uploads. One of the standout features, which is only available in the premium tier, is the ability to scan and digitise business cards into your phone.

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Evernote keeps your notes organised and improves your productivity

4. Google Maps

If you’re trekking into an unfamiliar location you’ll need an app that can help you get to your destination. Here’s where Google Maps comes into play. With this app, you won’t need a map or directory ever again. The app lets you easily find your way from point A to B in a matter of seconds. It also delivers real-time information on traffic, public transport and even identifies points of interests.

Finally, you can use it offline by downloading maps to your phone in case you don’t have wifi or mobile data available. Like Google Translate, this app is preloaded onto android phones and available on the iTunes store. With this app, you’ll never get lost again.

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 Google Maps helps you get from A to B efficiently

5. Tunnelbear VPN

It’s a good idea to use a Virtual Personal Network (VPN) if you rely on public wifi for social media, email, and web browsing.  Essentially, a VPN helps encrypt the internet data on the connection you’re using, allowing you to use the internet privately and more securely. Another of my personal favourites is Tunnelbear, which I use every time I travel overseas. It’s free, easy to use and visually appealing. The free plan limits your usage to 500 MB each month but you can gain more data by tweeting the company on Twitter or subscribing to their paid plans for unlimited data. 

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 Tunnelbear helps you browse privately overseas

6. Skype

Whenever you’re away from the office, you might want to communicate with your colleagues, customers or even family. If you don’t want to be billed for long distance overseas calls and only at your location for a few days, you’ll need to download Skype. The app allows you to make calls, video calls and chat through instant messenger with other users on your smartphone or tablet.

Skype also offers cheap rates if you use Skype to call landlines and mobile numbers. You can make a free account or opt in for the paid option called “Skype for Business”, where you can hold online meetings and create accounts for all employees.

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 Skype lets you stay in contact with your family, friends and colleagues wherever you are

7. Google Translate

Nǐ míng bái wǒ shuō de ma? If you didn’t understand what that meant, then it’s a good idea to use the translating app, Google Translate. Using the app will help you translate the Chinese phrase at the start to “Do you understand what I’m saying?”. It’s easy to get start translating foreign words. Just type or say what you want to be translated and it will do the work for you. 

One of its innovative features is that you can also translate words using your device’s camera. This can help if you’re not sure what words mean on street signs or posters.  This app will help when communicating with foreign clients to ensure there isn’t any miscommunication.

This app is already preloaded onto Android devices and is available to download on the iTunes store

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Google Translate helps you to communicate with locals overseas

 

There you have it, the 7 apps that entrepreneurs should have on their next business trip. With these apps you’ll be prepared for any journey.

Bon Voyage!

Do you use any of these apps? Are there any other apps you’d recommend?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

 

Key Lessons from Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak

Last weekend, Margaret Court Arena was filled with the atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. The event wasn’t Nick Kyrgios’ latest dummy spit on the tennis court, but a ‘must-see’ event of a different kind. “An Evening with Woz” was an informal, insightful and inspiring presentation from Steve “Woz” Wozniak – the co-founder of Apple and the inventor of the personal computer.

Along with other technology entrepreneurs, myself and our Product Director Marc sat at the edge of our seats in awe as Woz shared his stories and experiences of founding Apple. Overall, we learnt a lot at the event and in this post we’ll be sharing some key takeaways from the night.

 

Who is Woz?

Born in August 11, 1950, Woz is an electronics engineer and programmer who dropped out of college and co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976. Before Apple he worked at Hewlett-Packard (HP) as a calculator designer in 1971. During that period he developed his first computer, the Apple 1 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now with an estimated net worth of $100 million, Woz continues to be an influencer and hero in the world of computers and technology. Starting out with humble beginnings,  Apple now has an estimated net worth of $586 billion.

 

Key Takeaways

 

1. Love what you do

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Throughout the event Woz spoke about how he loved what he did and was passionate about technology and computers. He discovered his passion at age 12 when his parents gave him a transistor radio kit. He was able to assemble it without a book or manual. His love for electronics enabled him to create technology like a tic tac toe game and a device for phones that let you call worldwide for free. This was one of the main reasons why Apple and Woz became successful when starting out.

There are lots of benefits when you love what you do:

 

  • Boosts your mood

As the philosopher Confucius once said: if you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life. There are many advantages when you’re happier at work. For instance, it will boost your creativity, productivity and motivation. This is also beneficial if you’re in a higher organisational position, such as a manager, supervisor or CEO. Your positive mood will influence your employees and result in a positive workplace.

 

  • You’ll work harder

Loving what you do will increase your overall work ethic. You’ll work harder, even putting in more time and effort. Woz pulled all-nighters to create the floppy disk to further sell the Apple II, Apple’s second computer, at an electronics show in Las Vegas. He was able to finish a few hours before the event. Another benefit is that you’ll also go beyond what is expected, taking initiative and doing other tasks in your extra time. In his college years, Woz would pull all-nighters helping other students with their coding projects for other students for 5 cents, after a day’s work at HP.

 

  • Increases perseverance

There will be times in life where you’ll experience setbacks and barriers that prevent you from reaching your goals. Having persistence is one of the traits that will help you push through those times. When you love what you do, hurdles and problems turn into opportunities, such as continuous improvement. For example, Woz continually persevered through problems with his inventions by taking apart his creations to identify why functions didn’t work and made improvements.

 

2. Marketing and branding is vital

 

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Apple’s iconic silhouette ad

Apple are well known for their captivating storytelling marketing and innovative advertising. Examples of their notable work include the infamous Super Bowl ad for the first Macintosh in 1984 and their Silhouette iPod television ad. In fact, their marketing and branding strategies were one of the main contributors towards the success of Apple.

This was also discussed at the event, where Woz emphasised the importance of marketing and how it is one of the main ways you can differentiate yourself from competitors.

One of the methods that Apple has used is through a positioning strategy, which focuses on you standing out from your competitors. You can differentiate yourself through a product or service offering, quality, innovation, price or brand. This strategy is based on building a reputation and creating an imprint of your company at the back of the mind of consumers. For example, you might associate a low cost airlines with Jetstar or Airasia.

In the case of Apple, they primarily focused on their brand, which became their biggest asset. Apple’s brand mainly focused on the customer’s needs, simplicity and breaking the status quo, which was a philosophy instilled by Apple’s first investor and mentor, Mike Markkula. This is also influenced by the origins of the company brand name, where it was created due to positive associations, which Woz touched on at the event.

 

3.  Dream big and follow it

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Back in the 90s, computers were gigantic, expensive and only used by the government. No one envisioned that computers could be used for personal use in homes. However, Woz thought differently and it sparked a vision of personal computers being used in homes.

His vision boosted his persistence and he was able to successfully pitch his idea to Hewlett Packard after multiple attempts. Coupled with passion, having a vision made him stand strong and helped Apple become a success. Through Woz’s experience, we can learn that when you have a dream or a vision, follow it no matter what anyone else says or thinks.

 

BONUS: Don’t forget to have fun!

Steve Wozniak loved to having fun at college and while working on his inventions. That was part of his view on life and work. He created a formula on being happy, where “happiness equals smiles minus frowns”. Woz regularly pranked his friends, colleagues and school teachers. It’s important take time off work and do things you enjoy.

There are many benefits when balancing work and fun. For instance, it can help increase your productivity, prevents you from burning out, improves your mood and also makes you healthier. Woz’s pranking years not only entertained but also reminded us that to have fun outside of work.

 

So there you have it, the key lessons we learnt from one of Apple’s founders. Were you at the event as well? Let us know in the comments section or through our Facebook and Twitter page.

Keen to learn more? Check out our latest blogs for more insightful knowledge.

 

6 Step Guide to Designing Your Very First Mobile App

Did you wake up with a creative idea for the perfect mobile app? One that nobody else has thought of, and that you are certain will be the next Uber or Airbnb?

The only problem is, you are unsure on how to even begin designing and building an app! Never fear! We at Launchpad App Development have developed a brief guide on the 6 key steps that will bring your mobile app from idea to smartphone screens everywhere.

1. Define your goal.

It all starts with an idea. Having a “Great Idea” is the starting point to every successful project. Having a vision of what you want to accomplish at the start is an important benchmark that will confirm whether the development process is heading in the right direction.

 

Before you go straight into it, you must clearly define your app concept. This includes outlining:

  • Your app’s mission and purpose: what is the app going to do
  • Its core appeal
  • The problem is it going to solve, or what part of life is it going to improve

 

Defining a clear goal for the app is also going to help explain your idea to a developer and help move the development process along a lot faster.

2. Research your idea.

While you may believe you have a revolutionary idea, you may get your hopes up a little too quickly.

 

The main purpose of research:

  • Find out if there are other apps that do the same thing on the app stores.
  • Look for design inspiration for your app.
  • Determine the technical requirements for your app.
  • How you can market and monetise your app?
  • Decide whether you want to develop your app on iOS, Android or both.

 

Nonetheless you should not get discouraged by those who play in the same arena. It is essential that you focus on your own app project and your user acquisition. Learn from the core features and mistakes of competing apps, and drop all other assumptions about them.

3. Getting your app out there.

Think about developing a strategy on how you will get your app out onto the market. This shouldn’t be an exact map to take, but you should consider your possible pathways when getting your app noticed by your target market.

To do this, you must determine your niche. Research into how you can reach out to your target user and how you should reach them to make them see the value and use of the app.

Another important consideration is figuring out how your app is going to generate revenue. Will you charge your users to download it? Or will you offer the app for free but with ads? This monetisation model requires a large user base, so consider that as well.

There are various ways to monetise an app and it is up to you to decide on the channel you want to use.

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4. Sketching your app idea onto paper.

By developing sketches you are laying the foundation for your future user interface. In this step you visually conceptualise the main features and the approximate layout of your app.

Having the first rough sketch of your app helps everyone on your team understand the mission. Use these sketches as a point of reference for the next phase of the project.

 

When sketching your app, keep in mind these 4 questions:

  • What will my Visual Brand Name and Design look like?
  • How will each screen look?
  • What are the size and shapes of various elements?
  • What are the actions users can take from each screen?

 

5. Creating a basic Wireframe and Storyboard for your App.

Wireframing is the process of creating a prototype or mockup of your app. There are a number of prototyping tools online. The most common are, Adobe Experience Design, Lucidchart and InVision.

These programs allow you to not only drag and drop all your representative graphics and placeholders into place, but also add button functionality so that you can click through your app in review mode. However, if you don’t want to pay for a subscription to these programs, you can always hand sketch your wireframes onto paper.

While you are working on your wireframes you should also build a storyboard for your app. The idea is to build a roadmap that will help you understand the flow between each screen and how the user can navigate through your app.

Wireframing

6. Find your self an App Developer you can trust!

When looking for an app development company, you’re really looking for a partner. To make sure you find the right partner for your app, we suggest asking every company a series of exploratory questions:

  • How do they learn to develop new innovations in mobile technology?
  • How do they collect and leverage the data from their previous apps and experiences? What have they learned from working with previous clients?
  • Do they offer the ability to collaborate (pairing their team with yours to develop, design, and test)?
  • Do they follow agile development methodologies (quick iterations, test driven development, constant communication)?

When it comes to agile development, our process at Launchpad is built to encourage innovative planning, adaptive development, rapid delivery, and constant improvement.

From budding entrepreneurs to emerging business, this framework allows us to approach every app with the right mix of technical constraint and creative expression to develop market-leading mobile apps.

So what are you waiting for? To find out how you can launch your very own mobile app, take the first step towards transforming your innovative idea into a successful app!

 

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