So, you finally had that great idea. You know, the one that will change the way people live for the better, and will make you that fortune you’ve dreamt about longer than you care to admit? All you need to do now is turn that great idea into a great app.
‘Rags to riches’ fantasy aside, the fact of the matter is that even if you do have a great idea for a new mobile app, you will need to enlist the expert services of an established app developer or development agency, that is unless you have the skills to make the app yourself.
But which agency is the right one for you? A large, well-established agency or a smaller boutique agency? Whilst both options will be able to build you an app, the processes around how they build it and the quality of the finished product may end up being vastly different.
And even if you live in a tech hub like Melbourne or Brisbane, and do find yourself feeling spoiled for choice with the sheer amount of Brisbane-based app developers available to you, deciding who to hire can still be deceptively tricky. To help settle your nerves and set you on the right path with regards to fully realising your million dollar idea, here are some simple but helpful considerations to make when choosing an app developer to work with.
Know yourself first
While it’s natural to buzz with excitement when you have a great idea for a mobile app, it’s important to really unpack and flesh out that idea before you race out the door looking for an agency. The reason for this is simple: in the beginning, a great idea is just that. Nothing more. It’s only when you start to consider how this great idea will work logistically during the design phase of your development project, just so you can see whether the idea holds weight both theoretically and practically.
From knowing which market you plan to enter, to engaging with your competitors, to determining whether the app will be available for iPhone or Android or both, the stronger your grasp on the app’s concept and performance goals, the greater its chances of flourishing on the market. It’s no use thinking a great idea will work itself; doing so will cost you extra time and money as the development agency you hire will be left to extrapolate from your lack of information and join the dots themselves, which can honestly culminate in your end result looking rather different to what you envisioned. It can be rightfully disheartening when your creative vision or even the mission behind your development project does not align with the final product. And to be fair, any agency that is willing to take on an underdeveloped idea is probably worth avoiding anyway.
Then, get to know them
Once you’ve really fine-tuned your idea and are still convinced of its value, then it’s time to start researching agencies. And again, be sure to dive deep into your research. You should look into all the information available on the websites of all your shortlisted developers. Try to get a good understanding of basically everything, from knowing the boring-but-crucial aspects like their pricing structure, to studying past case studies and connecting with past clients, to understanding their research process (particularly their UX research and other development processes surrounding usability). It all matters, and it will all make a difference when you finally decide which agency to go with.
At this point, too, you’ll probably start to notice some glaring differences between the big agencies and the smaller, more boutique agencies, particularly when it comes to things like price. Unsurprisingly, bigger agencies are often more expensive, but they often have a level of manpower that smaller agencies seek to make up for in other ways (i.e. improved communications, staff that are dedicated to your project, specialist experience in a select market niche, etc.). If your shortlisted boutique agency is able to provide a level of insights into a particular market or a type of app that coincides with your idea, then you should absolutely be considering that smaller agency as a foremost contender, as your project can only benefit from these expert insights. And as inconsequential as it might sound, something like adding faces to the names of your development team may be the defining factor in who you hire. But more on this below.
Weigh up all pros and cons
Let’s face it, size matters. And no, we don’t mean bigger is better. Well, not always and not for every project. But once you’ve researched both your idea and the agencies you might like to work with, it’s time to weigh up whether you want to work with a big agency or a small one. And while all agencies will—no matter the size—have similarities, their size and systems will play a big role in their differences.
Big agencies are almost always well-established, having amassed years of experience (along with the awards and recognition to prove as much). And for this reason (as hinted at above) you will most likely pay more for their services. It’s also more likely that they will assign a bigger team to your project, purely because they have the resources to do so. But as we stressed above, bigger is not always better.
The flip-side to having more creative and technological muscle to throw around is that other aspects of your relationship with the agency can suffer. This is where a smaller agency can really shine. With less internal bureaucracy and a more proactive and adaptable approach, a project will often run much quicker and smoother as there are less moving parts in the machine, so to speak. Also, given that the teams in a smaller agency are closer-knit, it’s highly likely you will be able to enjoy a more inclusive and intimate relationship with the team who are building your app. And sometimes it’s hard to put a price on that kind of connection.
In the end, whether you choose the right developer for your needs or not will depend on your due diligence. Even if you believe the world needs to know about your app right this moment, you still need to take the time to make sure the people you hire are equipped to make your app the best it can be. If you rush the process you run the risk of releasing an app that doesn’t live up to your expectations. Or doesn’t fulfil the needs of your target user, for that matter.
So, take your time developing your idea and then researching the people you want to hire. You’ll find, in the long run, that being patient will save you both time and money. Just don’t confuse patience with procrastination, or you might find that someone else has had that same great idea!