Every startup has to balance their business and marketing approach between what’s coming and what’s still around. PCs and laptops may not be dead yet, but any startup with a solid mobile app risks falling behind the curve. But if you’re a brand new company, which comes first from a marketing perspective, or rather, which should get most of the focus, the app or the website? Of course, you can’t get by without a website (yet), but what considerations are most important in app development for startups?
So maybe you should focus on the website for now? Depends on your industry. Suppose you’re marketing your products or services to predominantly stationary consumers and working from laptops and desktops. In that case, a professional, easy-to-use website is probably job number one. It’s not like you can get by without one anyway, and again, PCs and laptops aren’t dead yet. But with mobile devices handling more and more of the tasks that formerly necessitated large, stationary pieces of equipment, PCs may not be long for this world, and the acceleration of new technology development and adoption won’t leave you much time to catch up if your target market shifts in a mobile direction. Even those good old Mom and Pop shops will eventually want to cater to an increasingly mobile client base. They – and by extension, you – don’t want to be Blu-ray when your competitors are Netflix (even that reference is a bit dated, but you get the picture).
So let’s say you’re ready to pull the trigger and create your app: How do you put your dev team together? Is this app going to be the first of a large ecosystem of apps that all interrelate to each other? What is the target market for your app, and are you hoping to expand that market? What are your competitors doing, and will you be perceived as an innovator or an also-ran? What are your security requirements, and will bringing in contractors make compliance easier or more difficult? While in-house developers might seem to be the most secure option for ongoing development, outsourcing to experienced app developers who know what pitfalls to anticipate and have a broad awareness of the market can save you a lot of heartache in both the short and long run and might even save you some money. And never underestimate the advantages of having people on board who haven’t yet drunk the company Kool-Aid.
Choosing between focusing on the website (what we might call The Old Way) and focusing on a nifty new mobile app (what we might call The New Way if it weren’t a few years old) is ultimately not much of a choice: You have to take care of both, but if you want to start a company that will be around for at least a decade or so, making sure your customers have your products and services at their fingertips is an absolute necessity.