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How to Start an App Business in Dubai

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Starting an app business seems to be a lucrative venture, especially for millennials who are all about newest ideas, solving modern problems and striking the right balance between solutions’ time and cost. As for Dubai, because it’s the technical hotspot of the overall MENA region and is picking up fast growth, appreneurs actually investing in app development right now will always have a competitive advantage over others. 

If you too are planning to get into mobile app development in Dubai, here is a quick guide to simplify the subject for you.  

Generating the Idea

All great things start with a great idea. This holds 100% true if you are about to create an app and enter the world of diverse technical solutions.

To generate a world-changing idea, you need to look around yourself and see if:

  1. You can solve a pressing issue with a unique solution
  2. You can solve a pressing issue with an existing solution but in a cost-effective manner
  3. You can provide a booking service via the app 
  4. You can start an ecommerce platform and sell niche products 
  5. You can create a marketplace and provide a platform for others to buy and sell  

But only getting an epic idea doesn’t do all. You have to validate it with thorough market research validating competitor analysis, pricing strategies, monetization models and so on. 

After you have evaluated your idea and validated the demand for your new app, it is recommended you create a business plan stating the no. of downloads you are predicting in the first year, the cost of app development, app marketing channels and annual revenue. 

Hiring the right developer

Once you have the right idea, and some market research to validate it and a business plan document to back the process, it’s time to hire a developer who’d turn your idea into a successful digital reality. During this screening and shortlisting process, we suggest readers to:

  1. Check the time zone and location of the developer to match the business hours. 
  2. Prefer hiring a company or team over a freelancer because of the full stack of services. 
  3. Discuss innovative strategies like blockchain, AR/VR simulations, AI and ML, IoT-enabled integrations. 
  4. Assess company’s portfolio based on its magnitude, user experience, quality of design, diversity of clients and technical expertise. 
  5. Review the social proof available in form of website testimonials, social media reviews and engagement on community platforms like Quora and Reddit. 
  6. Discuss the payment structures for the app development project. We suggest appreneurs to choose a company that allows down payment and installments. 
  7. Consider the app development timelines and the milestones. The quicker the better, without compromising the quality. 

App Development Process 

If you are a non-techie, here is a quick 5-step app development process that will help you communicate your needs to the developer:

  1. App design: this stage starts after scoping and research. The designer creates wireframes and prototypes and maps the overall UI and UX of the app. 
  2. App development: this includes back-end, front-end and API integration. This is the stage where developers actually code programs for the features of the app. 
  3. App testing: after complete technical development, testers and QA personnel assess the app for performance, speed, viruses, app security and user acceptance. 
  4. App release: after fixing the issues, it’s time to release the app on stores. For that, clients usually buy developer’s account on respective app stores and submit their apps for approval. Apps take 48 hours to 3 months to get approved. 
  5. App maintenance and support: after getting the app to users’ hands, you have to maintain its performance, send in updates and fix errors time to time. 

Monetizing The App

Money is the biggest region because a lot of mobile app development company and startups invest in mobile app development. Recent statistics from Statista suggest that 96% apps are free and only 4% apps on stores are paid. 

For free apps, appreneurs usually opt for sponsored advertisements to make money. Other than sponsored ads, you can choose to earn affiliate percentages or sell digital products within the app. 

Marketing Your App 

App marketing can be divided into three stages:

1. Pre-launch app marketing

When your app is close to getting launched on app stores, it is ideal you have already created some hype and generated discussions around the functions of your app. more importantly, you can submit your app to different platforms to get it tested by real users for performance, speed and user experience. 

For pre-launch marketing, it is ideal to create a website and create content that answers people’s questions about the upcoming product. 

2. App launch strategies 

You can choose to hard or soft launch your mobile application. For hard launch, you’ll need marketing budget and do a large-scale awareness session that gets your product in the hands of target users. 

For soft launching, all you need to do is create some social media presence and tell people your product is out and that you welcome feedback about its performance. 

3. App store optimization 

After launching the app, it’s time to get it visible on the app stores. You need to target the right keywords, provide accurate information in description and titles and send it high-resolution screenshots of the app to attract users to download your app. This process starts when you are about to submit your app for approval and goes on monthly basis. 

If you already have a website for your app, it’s ideal you direct traffic from web to the app store listing. 

Wrapping Up…

This guide has almost everything a beginner appreneur or a startup would need for putting their right foot forward for app development. While hiring, make sure to balance the price, quality of services, timeline and payment structures. Then closely monitor your app development milestones and report issues to your team via a project management in real-time. Once your app is ready and battle-tested, generate discussions around it and keep promoting it on social media, website and community groups.