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How to Write a Business Plan for a Mobile App Startup?
Head of Business Development, Co-Founder
Head of Business Development
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If you’re on the threshold of launching your mobile app startup, there are numerous things you need to be concerned with: workload, core concept, budget, product implementation area, employees… You need to rightly put all key elements of this puzzle together to provide a clear roadmap for your project — that is, to compile an app business plan.
We at Mind Studios know how to make a business plan for an app. Here, you'll find a complete guide to creating a business plan. Also, we’ve added our template to help all stakeholders and investors have a clear and most importantly, equal understanding of your startup idea. So if you don't know how to plan an app yet and where to start, let's find out more about it.
A business plan is a guide that turns your ideas into action
As a rule, you should start with visualizing the project and formulating its key ideas. They will later become the basis of your business plan.
Another vital component of developing your project is writing a product requirements document (PRD) for your app. It consists of three sections: business requirements, user requirements, and software system requirements . The business plan is, actually, a component of the PRD, namely the business requirements part.
All the preceding processes, such as developing a project vision, core ideas, and concepts, creating an app development plan, and drafting a PRD, allow all stakeholders to be on the same page as the startup's founder.
In this post, we’ll go through how to write a business plan for an app startup.
Still not sure if your startup needs a business plan? Numerous studies back up the value of having a well-thought-out business plan for companies on different stages of their business journeys.
According to one study that involved 3,000 company owners from diverse fields, those with business plans were almost twice as likely to succeed as those who didn’t. Furthermore, such strategic-planning companies were more effective in attracting investment or securing loans.
You can find more detailed information in the diagram below:
If your way is developing a mobile application
As of 2021, people have made 230 billion downloads of mobile applications, up by 63% than in 2016. Everyone appears to require mobile solutions these days, so your startup has a lot of room for imagination. You can choose from a wide range of mobile app types. To name a few, it could be a travel, event planner (here's an event app development guide), money management, social networking, or fitness app.
No matter which one you decide to create, a pre-written business plan can help you seamlessly go through the mobile app development process with its four fundamental stages : discovery, idea validation , design, and actually, development.
A goal without a plan is just a wish
There is a plethora of mobile applications these days. It means, though, that there are hundreds of almost identical apps in each category. Attracting users becomes a task of utmost importance.
Chad Mureta, an app tycoon, says that a developer’s profit directly depends on their knowledge of what’s interesting to the user; that is, to create a successful and profitable application, a developer should think like a user .
Creating a business plan based on thorough user analysis will help you explain your business idea to stakeholders. Also, you’ll see a path to a product-market fit. To make that happen, you should determine what your target audience wants, needs, likes/dislikes in competitors’ apps, and tends to expect from using your app.
Therefore, identifying your target audience preferences should be your priority, as it is one of the main drivers of your startup.
Understanding the market is the key to success
The author of the bestseller 4 Steps to Enlightenment. Strategies for creating successful startups , Steve Blank, suggests that very few people understand where their market is. The writer believes it is almost impossible to launch a thriving startup without analyzing the market it’s going to enter.
Before you start writing a business plan, it’s crucial to figure out not only the degree of public interest in your product but also the level of competition in the market you’re going to enter.
Thanks to the preparatory analysis of your rivals and potential app users, you’ll be able to flawlessly identify your product’s objectives, advantages, and unique value proposition (UVP). This will also help you form the basis of a proper business plan.
Review your business plan annually
Steve Blank claims that a business plan is static in contrast to a business model, which is dynamic. A business plan appears to be stable by definition: that’s a document created once and rarely revised after adoption.
But in our quick-to-change world, do you believe there’s anything that could remain static? Especially in terms of business? Investopedia , for example, shares an opposite to Steve Blank’s statement: A business plan should evolve in tandem with a company’s growth.
We at Mind Studios adhere to the last approach and recommend you go through your business plan for an app at least once every year . It will allow you to respond to changes in your users’ demands and assess what goals you have achieved and which ones you still need to accomplish.
Moreover, refreshing a business plan will enable you to keep your finger on the pulse of your startup’s current and upcoming financial needs and, therefore, help you develop efficient strategies to attract investments. Consider it a dynamic document that adapts to your startup’s development path.
Why should you make a business plan for apps?
In addition to helping you get your startup off the ground, a viable business plan acts as an indicator for investors to consider it as a potential asset.
Let’s summarize the main reasons why your mobile app startup needs a business plan:
Both startups and established businesses need business plans, the content of which will depend on the company’s primary goal.
To attract partners, startup owners tend to use a business model canvas — a more flexible model of the traditional business plan. It can seamlessly adapt to the iterative nature of tech startup development, yet providing core information about a project.
However, the business model canvas for an app does not guarantee 100% success; it can only be one of the components that will help your project attract investment. A comprehensive business plan with a detailed description of your company and mobile app, justification of funds use, and coverage of all legal concerns is what can instill trust in all stakeholders of your project.
Is there a difference between a business plan for a mobile app and other software?
There are obvious distinctions between mobile applications, websites, and other software solutions. They significantly contrast in marketing approach, monetization strategy, and feature sets. As a result, business plans for these solutions will differ as well.
A traditional software development business plan might be structured similarly to a business strategy for a mobile app company. However, any document that presents the firm and its product will be distinctive in content. It is reasonable since each project is unique, with its own goals and target audience.
What does a business plan for a mobile app look like?
Your mission is to create a reliable and stable mobile application for either enterprises, individuals, or non-profit organizations. In this case, a business plan will help you pave the road to make your project profitable.
Therefore, when writing a mobile app business plan for startups, you’ll need to estimate the cost of development and commissioning as well as the timing of the return on investment in your project. Only by doing this, will you get a clear picture of your app’s viability.
One of the essential factors in writing a good startup business plan for a mobile app is delivering maximum transparency at each part. Let’s highlight what you should include in your mobile app business plan to make it serve your business in the most effective way possible.
Let’s start with the executive summary . It is the first and most significant part of your mobile app business plan because it’s the first thing an investor will read. The executive summary should be clear and concise, with no detailed information about how your product works. Address the situation in the market, who your target customer is, and what unique problem your application can solve.
Make your proposal unique to distinguish your company from others. In other words, create a unique value proposition (UVP). Use your imagination: consider your executive summary as a movie teaser and your investor as a spectator. Would they like to see your movie?
Specify your goals . These objectives should rely on your business analysis. Investors will examine your aims to see if they satisfy their needs. You also have to determine the ultimate goal of your exit plan . Furthermore, you should establish a list of funding requirements and the proceeds that will be used to boost the attractiveness of your company. One of the essential factors in the startup business plan for your mobile app success is ensuring maximum transparency at each stage.
Make your document convincing . To do this, ensure your product’s concept and goals are crystal clear and do not vary throughout the paper. Provide the reader with accurate data and realistic expectations about your project. Of course, don’t forget to make sure that the name of the person who created the business plan and executive summary and the names of your team members are consistent throughout the documentation.
Introduce your company in this part, beginning with corporate information and ending with your mobile app concept. This part of your startup business plan will show investors the corporate values of your company, your mission, product vision, and the fundamental factors for your startup success.
This information is vitally important for investors. For example, a technology startup accelerator Y Combinator considers getting money as by far the easiest part whereas working on ideas — the most significant part for any startup in achieving success. In most cases, Y-Combinator-like organizations make compiling a thorough business plan a prerequisite before introducing newly-formed projects to investors.
Here you should describe your company’s:
This section should give the reader of your business plan detailed information about your startup: the official name of your company, the location of the headquarters, and its structure, namely the business entity type (LLC, corporation, etc.). Make sure to provide further details about your team, such as the number of workers, their names, job titles, and so forth.
Describe the purpose of your company and the fundamental principles that guide your business in the mission statement. After establishing your mission, outline the primary challenges and solutions your startup can offer.
Before making any business proposal, describe the history of your company, how your team formed, and how you came up with your idea. In addition, you can talk about the main stages of your company’s development and the experience that precedes the product launch.
Whether you are outsourcing app development process or you have an in-house team, it is often the most significant part of the executive summary because your app development team is the main engine of your project implementation. You should specify each person’s name, position, work experience, and responsibilities in the company. In addition, you can involve an advisory group that will help you make essential decisions. Consultants on your advisory team should have experience in the industry.
Information about the state of the market should be the main factor in your app idea realization. You should be aware of the present situation in your industry, have up-to-date information, and be able to generate a short-term forecast.
To conduct market analysis , you should take several steps:
- Examining existing business environment
- Defining your market research criteria
- Determining your total available market (TAM), service available market (SAM), and service obtainable market (SOM)
- Identifying your direct competitors
- Analyzing your target audience and figuring out the cost per acquisition (CPA) for your niche
No market research in the mobile app industry can be conducted without analyzing Google Play Store and Apple App Store with their ranks for top paid, top free, and top-grossing apps as well as user reviews.
Forecasting is an integral component of writing a business plan for an app development startup realization.
Forecasts from reputable research firms such as Nielsen and Forrester are of interest when creating any business plan, be it a business plan for an app development, a website, or a traditional software startup business plan. To provide reliable market forecasts, you can:
- Include data on the growth of companies with solutions similar to your mobile app
- Add information on the amount of money poured into similar startups (platforms like Crunchbase or Y Combinator can help with this)
- Enrich your business plan with some forecasts on your target customer behavior
Your goal is to assess whether there’s a real market for your product, whether there are enough customers in the market, and, accordingly, whether those customers are willing to pay money for using your product.
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method that allows you to present a structured description of your business situation. It can be a great way to evaluate your app startup concept from four perspectives. Namely, its:
- W eaknesses
- O pportunities
It’s natural when a business has weaknesses: knowing about them will serve as a powerful driver for finding solutions and will reduce any risks your company may need to face.
An app marketing strategy is a bridge that allows your product to fall into the hands of your customers. You have to convince investors that you have such a bridge. This is an important part of the mobile app strategy.
When drawing up a business plan, you have to define the marketing strategies you intend to use in application promotion. Here are a few examples, along with descriptions of how they work:
Create a landing page
Creating a landing page for your mobile app will help you reach a wider audience by informing users about new features and updates. Make sure your page contains the name of the application, a description of its functionality, promotional videos, and so on.
Launch a website and blog
Launching a website is a great way to promote your application. There, you may, for example, provide more information about your company, its goals and values, and an overview of your future mobile solution.
A website blog is also a helpful thing with your app advertising. You can share news on your upcoming product and publish SEO-optimized articles for better promotion.
Social media marketing
Consider social media marketing while developing a business strategy to promote your app. Describe how you intend to use this form of advertising at various phases of your mobile solution development: before launch while attracting your audience and retaining users.
Estimate your marketing budget
You may estimate the cost of marketing services based on the market analysis you outlined in the preceding section of your business plan. Understanding the marketing budget is essential to all parties: you, the app owner, investors, and other stakeholders.
Depending on the type of app startup, growing the user base approach differs, as does the business plan for entering different markets. For example, a massive advertising attack tends to make sense in markets where consumers understand your product or service and its usefulness.
Take, for instance, Uber , which has successfully launched extensive marketing campaigns. The company’s ads have spread globally with Uber localizing advertising for each region.
So, if you’re still working on a business strategy, think about how you’ll expand your user base in advance. This will tremendously assist you in future product growth.
Choose your product launch type
Be sure to indicate the product launch type in your business plan. There are two such types: hard and soft launch . The first one means delivering a finished product to your entire target audience. A soft launch is when you release an MVP or full version of your app, but for a limited audience.
To rightly set out this part of your business plan, you should clearly understand what kind of financing you need to move forward. Moreover, you need to express it as clearly as possible to be sure a potential investor will also understand what funding you need.
The financial model includes, as a rule, a three- to five-year forecast of all the main forecasted indicators, including profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheets, start tables, unit economics calculation as well as your app’s projected revenues and costs. Your financial document has to contain the following components to determine the actual cost and distribution of investments in the best way, with a clear explanation of each.
Startup costs/funding required
Inform your investors about estimated costs. We recommend placing reasonable estimates and leaving room for extra expenses since these numbers might fluctuate.
Designate all types of costs :
- One-time costs (e.g. relocation costs, costs for buying an office space, equipment, servers, software, licenses)
- Fixed costs: they remain unchanged regardless of whether you produce something or not (e.g. rent, insurance, lease payments, fixed salaries)
- Variable costs: costs that change according to the production volume (e.g. wages)
It is another section you need to add to your business plan. By illustrating your monetization model, you’ll demonstrate to your investors and other stakeholders that your project will be profitable and provide a return on investment with positive unit economics. It will also help you be sure that your startup will reach its break-even point.
The most common ways to monetize an application are :
- Charging for the application (if your business model describes a paid application, you need to convince the consumer why they have to pay and what they’re paying for)
- In-app purchases (this is a widespread mobile app business model in iOS and Android applications)
- Subscriptions (this model of monetization is quite popular and works until the user decides to cancel the subscription; in most cases, subscription apps have a free trial period)
One of our prominent projects in which we’ve helped set up a monetization strategy is Fitr. Training , a remote fitness coaching application. Our team analyzed the platform’s performance and discovered we could enhance the conversion rate.
We established a monetization model based on the collected data and customer feedback. Namely, our team launched an efficient subscription option. The results were remarkable: one out of every four coaches now uses the paid membership.
Mind Studios can also assist you in elaborating a potent monetization strategy.
Business plan example for a mobile app startup
We’d like to offer you a business plan template for a startup updated to 2023. Keep in mind that, although this mobile app business plan itself is structured according to all the rules, the calculations are entirely fictional.
Download the free PDF business plan template for a mobile app here .
Writing a business plan for a mobile app startup isn’t easy. As a rule, the most challenging part of developing a business plan for a mobile app idea is writing the first page. Many people in this situation rush to find and download a free copy of another company’s business plan. They mistakenly believe that someone else’s business strategy will help them achieve their goals. But it absolutely won’t!
A business plan cannot be a cloned document. It must be one-of-a-kind reflecting your passion and enthusiasm in bringing your idea into life . A successful business plan should demonstrate that your company is viable and financially attractive. The higher the viability, the higher the investment opportunity.
If you need to compile a well-thought-out business plan to attract investments and successfully launch your app, our expert team at Mind Studios is here to help .
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How to Write a Business Plan For Mobile App Startup
Tech Editor and Content Team Lead
Table of content
Idea, plan, and implementation. These are 3 cornerstones of any project’s success. In the constantly changing modern IT world, it’s impossible to forecast success with 100% confidence. However, if you pay enough attention to each of these cornerstones, your chances to reach the top grow.
However, some entrepreneurs skip the stage in which they should create an app business plan. These people often believe practice to be a better way to reach the expected results, hoping spontaneous decisions can build the road to the top manufacturers' list. Unfortunately, this type of approach leads nowhere.
We have carefully analyzed issues that our clients and partners have come to us with, measured the performance of their projects and analyzed how a tech startup business plan impacts the overall company’s success. Today, we will explain the importance of a business plan and guide you through the main steps of developing your own.
Why You Need a Business Plan for Your Mobile App
Mobile apps brought an unexpected revolution to the digital era. The number of unique and useful apps increases daily.
Just a year ago, the number of applications available on the App Store exceeded 2.2. million.
The mobile industry is forecasted to bring in almost $190 billion of revenue in 2020.
If you would like to join this beneficial industry, and already have a great app idea, it’s time to take the next step towards your goals and bring into being a great app business plan.
But first, let’s clarify why you actually need a brilliant business plan for an app .
Attracting great minds and great investments
Depending on the type of business model you want to use, you have to decide between startup co-founders or investors. In some cases, you need to attract both. An application business plan is your sole way to fulfill this task quickly and proceed with more significant steps towards your company’s growth.
Reducing the risks
Recent reports show that writing a business plan will bring you closer to your goals and ambitions. Entrepreneurs with extensive business plans are more likely to develop their company and increase their revenue than those who without a plan.
Planning is a simple way to secure loans and investments.
Keeping to the defined strategy
In a world full of interruptions, it’s hard not to miss the important things. Every day you, as a startup owner, will face new issues and obstacles. But a set of points on your blueprint will act as a quick reminder of why you started it and where it should take you.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin wasn’t involved in software development, but these words highlight the app business plan significance. By writing a plan, you are enhancing your knowledge about the market you plan to break into. This will clarify your goals, set your priorities and help you build more accurate forecasts. It’s your chance to reveal possible risks and find your own voice in the industry.
Managing and delegating effectively
Being a good manager is an art. A mobile app business plan is your tool for creating a masterpiece. It provides a vision of critical tasks, helping you delegate each of them to the responsible person.
An App Business Plan Template
Now that you know how meaningful a business plan is for any project is, let’s find out what it actually is. Typically, a business plan is a set of:
bullet points describing your vision.
some statistics providing real numbers about the industry you plan to enter.
tables with defined steps and strategies you would like to implement to reach your goals.
Is the product viable? Does it have the potential to bring new experiences to the user and measurable benefits to its founders? Those are 2 primary questions your app business plan should answer. Include the following components to make your triumph inevitable.
Section 1. Executive Summary
This is the introduction to your business plan. This is the first thing your potential investor will see when becoming acquainted with your idea. Make it clear and remarkable, and answer these questions in your summary:
What problem do you want to solve?
Even though the market is chock-full of different solutions, consumers always face some obstacles and complications. You need to find these problems and identify the one that you can solve. Analyze your target audience’s needs at the moment, why the existing solutions do not satisfy these needs, and what you can offer to solve this problem.
What is your solution?
First of all, make sure your project is capable of addressing this problem. Then, introduce your idea but do not dive into details. This is not the right moment to introduce the functionality to investors. It’s time to generally highlight what your app will do to make app users happy.
How will your app change the market?
Answering the first question, you have possibly come to the conclusion that similar solutions already exist. Provide proof that your app is better than other apps. Share facts, numbers, and forecasts; avoid using clichés and make your answer as profound as you can.
What goal are you pursuing?
The primary goal of any business is financial return. In this section, you need to explain what your goal looks like, provide your vision of the app’s future, state how many users you expect to download your app, and what profit it will bring. Visualize your short-term plans and enhance your answer using metrics.
Section 2. Make a Business Description of Your Company
Create an attractive overview to increase interest. This section is how you get closer to potential partners by presenting the following things:
Basic info about your organization
Either your company is an LLC or another entity, the potential investor should know this. The company’s structure defines the way processes will be organized in the future.
Location is essential. If your team works remotely, mention it, too. And don’t forget to emphasize the reasons you have decided on this location or opted for remote collaboration.
A few words about the history
People like storytelling. So explain the company’s history. How did you come up with the idea of founding your own business? What did you start with? Make your story short but catchy so you can win the reader’s attention.
The app startup business plan should include details about your team so you could get even closer to the reader. By adding a few words on the company’s specialists, you can turn a boring description into a virtual introductory meeting.
Tell the potential investor about your managers. Provide information about the engineering team. Specify names, positions, experience, and even hobbies. Writing your app business plan, make the readers feel like they know the people you talk about.
One more actionable tip is to provide details about your advisory team. These experts help you with decision making, and their names can make a difference in the local market.
Section 3. Market analysis
To launch an app startup, you should know everything you can about the industry you are entering. By understanding its past and present, you can impact its future. This stage moves a hypothesis to real statistical data.
How big is the market?
To answer this question, you must analyze the following factors:
Total Available Market, or market demand for your app.
Serviceable Available Market, or the number of users you are able to reach out to.
Serviceable Obtainable Market, or the segment of your first users.
How does the market change?
Compare and analyze the market size 5 years ago and now. What has changed? How many influencers have broken into the market? How many failed? The amount of money spent in the industry will make your own potential income clearer.
What is the customer persona?
The only way to develop a legendary app is to look at it through your customers’ eyes. This is why you need to understand the target audience and create a portrait of your customer. A customer persona is a detailed description of what users that install your app look like. Define gender, name, occupation, education, hobbies and daily challenges they face. This is a portrait of the real person your app will serve.
Section 4. Marketing strategy
A solid mobile app business plan should describe how your app will get to potential user smartphones. Let’s have a glance at our step-by-step guide on how to build a successful marketing strategy:
Identify the channels you can acquire customers from
Today, social media marketing is considered the most effective way to promote a product. But will it be enough for your app? Go back to the research phase and find out how many potential users you are able to meet on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Provide the readers with information on what channel may be most profitable.
An app landing page is an excellent way to reach out to your target audience, too. Develop an engaging mockup and provide the partners with information on how many customers will find out about your product from a landing page.
Decide on metrics
During the beginning stages, your success will be measured with the number of installations or conversion rates, not with financial revenue. So decide what metrics will be useful for your project’s evaluation.
Consider participation in referral programs
Referral programs could become your growth fuel. Decide on which companies to collaborate with and explain to the app business plan readers why this cooperation is expected to be fruitful.
Don’t forget to optimize your website and mobile application to improve SEO. And remember:
“Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” - Anthony Volodkin, Hype Machine founder
Section 5. Define Your Competitors
If you are not Elon Musk, you definitely have competitors. And if you have competitors, you should learn from them. Make sure your business offers unique functionality and has the ability to cater to users’ wishes like no other tool could. But at the same time, be aware that there will always be someone doing something similar.
Know your competitors. Study the market and increase your awareness of potential rivals, as well as their history and capabilities. Study their weaknesses and brainstorm how to turn these into your strengths.
Section 6. Choose a Monetization Strategy
As we reach the finish line of your app development business plan template building, we will talk about finances. Running a non-profit project is good, but when it comes to mobile apps, which have a market of billions of dollars of revenue annually, the monetization strategy deserves exceptional attention.
How can you turn your efforts into financial profit?
- Use advertising
You can simply advertise other products with your mobile app. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to monetize it. However, you should have an impressive number of active users to implement this strategy.
- Charge a fee for installation
There are so many free apps all over the web that users ignore the paid ones. Be ready to demonstrate unique features to convince users to install your app.
- Add a Paid Account option
Offering a free trial is an attractive option. After the trial period ends, allow an account upgrade. If your app demonstrates good performance and powerful functionality, it is very likely that users will be ready to pay for it.
Choose your strategy before you start your sample business plan. Potential partners and investors will not support your idea unless the monetization strategy is well-defined and clear. So be ready to answer questions about what financial profit you expect to make from this app.
Section 7. Startup Costs & Funding
Did you know that one of the key reasons startups fail is financial issues?
29% of companies simply run out of cash and 18% of companies have other types of cost issues. Now, when you are closer to your first technology startup business plan example than ever, consider the importance of costs and funding for your business.
Why is the financial component of planning so important?
It is vital for you to understand what type of funding you need to get your app up and running.
Your potential partners must know how much money you need.
Your startup financial model should reflect the forecast for the next 3-5 years. Add the following data to your plan:
Talk about required funding
You have a rough estimation of how much money you need. Try to foresee possible issues. A backup financial plan may be useful, too.
Specify payment frequency
Some costs should only be paid once. Other costs, like salaries or maintenance costs, are repeatable. A detailed financial plan is the final thing you need to provide in your application business plan.
Strive to create an excellent app business plan, keeping in mind the following tips:
Make it simple and clear.
Be professional and realistic.
Proofread, then proofread it again. Also, don't neglect grammar checkers like Grammarly . Such a tool will not only correct your spelling or grammar but also advise you on the style of your writing.
Isn’t it exciting? Now you know how to write a business plan for an app! Now you are one step closer to fruitful business relations and considerable funding to bring your idea to life. And now you are one great step ahead of your competitors.
We have seen dozens of business plans on our path. Now we can say for sure which plan is the right first step to great achievements in the future.
Want to know more about the project cost?
How to Write a Mobile App Business Plan + Free Template
Anthony St. Clair
10 min. read
Updated November 13, 2023
Free Download: Sample Mobile App Development Business Plan Template
When Apple released the first iPhone in 2008, it also launched its App Store—with about 500 apps. Nowadays, the number of apps on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store totals about 5 million. If apps were people, they’d outnumber the population of Los Angeles.
Sure, the “gold rush” days of app development are long behind us, but building apps remains a solid way to bring useful or entertaining services to market. An app can also be part of a narrow or broader business strategy.
But with so much competition, building a profitable, successful app takes more than just an idea and a team of mobile app developers. You need a business plan to help guide your vision and implementation. This article will cover the steps to create your mobile app business plan, along with some tips to run it successfully.
Need more guidance? Download our free mobile app development business plan for a full business plan outline that you can use to inspire your own plan.
- How to write a business plan for a mobile app
A business plan can be as short or extensive as you need it to be, and not a page more. In fact, you could launch a successful business based on even a one-page plan for your app development firm.
Writing a business plan for your mobile app business comes down to thinking through where you are with your app idea, what you want to accomplish, and how you think you will get there. A good business plan gives you both a starting point and a road map, but you can always review it and update it as you go.
At its heart, that’s all your app business plan needs to do.
Here are some of the key things your mobile app development business plan should include.
1. Determine what kind of app you will develop
Competition and opportunity co-exist throughout every app sector. If you’re still trying to decide where you might want to target your app development , strong contenders and trending app verticals include:
- Shopping (mobile-specific and general eCommerce)
- Health and Fitness
The sector you’re developing your app for influences the type of app you’ll want to build. For example, will you code for Apple iOS, Google Android, or both? Will you focus on a web or hybrid app? Is the app an extension of a website or other business channel?
You’ll need to have this information defined up front in order to conduct proper research and easily write your business plan .
2. Conduct market research and identify competitors
It’s one thing to have a good idea for an app. But the real question is, does the idea have a market that will be hungry to buy in?
As you develop your business plan, understanding your potential customer base is key.
For starters, evaluate similar apps and competitors in the vertical you are developing for—especially if there is already an app doing something that you want your app to do. As you conduct research and put together a market and competitive analysis, be sure to think through the following questions:
- Who are their customers?
- Are they the same ideal customer and target market ?
- What steps will your company take to engage the market and involve them in testing and promotion?
- What are the demographics (such as profession, age, or sex) and psychographics (such as opinions, hobbies, and lifestyle goals) of your target market?
If you don’t understand the market for your app, it will be difficult to get them to find, install, use, and tell the world about your app.
Researching the market and your competitors can also clue you into expected app features, pricing and revenue models, gaps in services, and pain points that customers feel aren’t being met.
Understanding these factors can also help your business plan address a potential threat to your app’s viability: abandonment. User retention can be challenging throughout the app market, with 25% of customers using an app one time and then ditching it. So, be sure that you take into account how to attract new customers as well as how you’ll keep them around.
3. Positioning and promotional strategies
Once you’ve proven the market demand for your app’s concept, you should start figuring out how to promote your app and position it in the marketplace. Your business plan doesn’t have to include a detailed marketing plan . But it can be the perfect place to set up a few essentials that can guide your app’s marketing throughout its development and release cycles.
At a minimum your plan should include foundational messaging for pitching, branding, mission, and your overall sales and marketing strategy for your app, such as:
Develop and refine your elevator pitch
How concisely can you get across what your app does, why it’s needed, and what will make people love it? Can you talk up those key points with anyone from potential investors to your ideal customer, developers, and engineers to your mom and your best friend?
Examine how you’ll build awareness, interest, and need for the app
Will early testers be part of your outreach? Will you work with social media influencers, traditional media, or celebrity endorsers? How will you articulate the problems your app solves or the joy it provides?
What are some of the branding and marketing tasks your startup will pursue?
For example, what is the company name? The app name? How will you engage your market on the social media platforms they like to spend time on? What original supporting content will attract the interest of your key audience?
In your business plan, it’s essential to understand your startup from the point of view of a founder and key player. But the marketing and promotional components of your business plan help you see your app from the point of view of an outsider, such as a customer or investor. The better you understand these other points of view, the better you can develop your messaging, build your app, and make it a success.
Free Mobile App Business Plan Template
Use this proven business plan example to successfully launch a competitive mobile app development business.
4. Startup costs, financials, and pricing
Figuring out the potential startup costs for your app is not a one-size-fits-all equation. Generally, these are some of the factors to consider as part of your financial plan .
Expect different development costs when developing for iOS, Android, or both. Your process will include defining a function, outlining what you need for your MVP, wire-framing, coding, testing, designing, and more.
Internal employees or outside contractors?
If you’re planning to build up a full-on firm with employees, benefits, and offices, you will be looking at a different cost structure than if you want to outsource to a contracted development company or work with a freelance team that’s not employed by your app startup. That team may need pros in charge of mobile and backend development, design, QA, customer support, design, marketing, managers, and more.
The resources you have and the resources you need
How long it’ll take to develop and release your app depends in part on the resources you have access to.
Successful apps monitor and improve. Did the app crash? Is it scaling sufficiently to handle increases in use and load? What usage metrics are you monitoring and analyzing? How will you need to update the app to deal with OS updates?
By understanding these and other potential costs, you can develop a budget in your business plan. For more in-depth financial considerations, you should develop forecasts to gauge costs, future cash flow , and how your app company might grow and change over time by hitting release and growth milestones.
5. Development milestones
The release of your app is a milestone that’s farther down the road. In the meantime, you’ll be developing milestones that reflect major accomplishments in the development process. Your business plan can reflect some of those milestones, such as:
- Production of key features and functions
- MVP completion
- Testing and refinement
- Acceptance of app in app stores
- Achievement of sales and adoption goals
- Implementation of new features and versions
Remember, app development takes time. Focus your initial milestones on pre-release goals. From there, you can set and work toward post-release milestones that can pave the way to future growth, releases, and profits.
- Mobile app development tips for startup growth
As you develop your mobile app’s business plan, here are a few other tips and considerations to keep in mind.
Native, hybrid, or web?
Creating apps tailored to each OS—Apple and Android—can cost the most to develop, but also can maximize your app’s performance. The better the performance, the most adoption and use you could see in your target audience.
At the same time, other apps work solely on the web, and others are developed as hybrids. Hybrid apps can help you manage team and development costs, but they typically can’t take full advantage of each OS.
As a rule of thumb, typically the more complicated or intense the app’s function, the better it tends to be to develop a native app. Lightweight functions may work fine in a web or hybrid environment.
Security and privacy
Privacy and security are at the forefront of customers’ minds as well as industry discussions around app business models. If you are developing for regulated industries—such as health care or financial services—there may also be legal privacy and security requirement to adhere to.
Decide on a platform: Apple, Android, or both?
If your target market is predominantly on one OS, that can guide your development decisions. Developing for both platforms requires more resources, but can give you the benefit of maximizing your ability to develop the app for each OS, and reach the most customers. Another option to consider is launching on one platform and adding another over time, depending on milestones in your business plan.
Offline vs online
A growing consideration in today’s app development firms is whether the apps can only function online, or if it can function offline too. Some level of offline function—and messaging that the app is offline—can make for better customer satisfaction, since users will have access to at least some features regardless of their internet connection.
For example, Google Maps can download route information so a user still has the mapping and some functions, even if they enter a remote location or go through an area where they don’t have a cellular or wifi signal.
Walking users through what they can and can’t do offline, and how functions can be completed or data can sync once online again—can also go a long way to winning trust and loyalty from your app’s users. You’ll also want to determine if the offline function is something you develop as part of the launch, or if you roll it out in a later version.
Revenue model: Free/freemium, subscription, in-app purchases, ads, or a combo?
Apps can drive revenue in many ways. A common strategy is a freemium model: Offer a free baseline app, but other features can be unlocked with purchase or subscription.
Subscription models (usually with a tie-based free trial period) have also become increasingly popular in companies, and they are finding broad acceptance in the market. An app can also drive revenue by being a mobile commerce tool, helping customers complete a transaction from the convenience of their phone instead of having to go to a browser, non-mobile device, or other fulfillment channels.
Some apps are only available for purchase, often as a way to showcase an app’s superior or unique place in the market. Once purchased, though, other revenue models can come into play. The popular game Minecraft is a prime example: Customers purchase the app, but the Minecraft Marketplace offers in-app purchases to further customize the game.
Test properly before launch
If your app doesn’t work at launch, it may never recover from that stumble.
As the app reaches development milestones, ongoing testing can help you find and resolve problems before you have to deal with them in the deployed product. Conducting extensive testing across various devices, users, and OS versions can help you catch problems before they harm your new app—and your startup’s viability and profitability.
- Download your free mobile app development business plan template
Our free mobile app development business plan can give you the template you need to start setting up your business plan—and your business. It’s just one of hundreds of free sample plans that have been time-tested by our team and by thousands of entrepreneurs all over the world.
The question is simple: What mobile app development business will you create? Whatever it is, your business plan can help you get there. Download your free plan now and get started.
See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan
Anthony St. Clair is a business copywriter, author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series, and a craft beer writer specializing in Oregon. Learn more at anthonystclair.com.
Table of Contents
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How to Use These Common Business Ratios
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How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan
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How to Write a Business Plan for a Subscription Box Service
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Use This Simple Business Plan Outline to Organize Your Plan
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Mobile App Business Plan
A business has three pillars: the idea, the plan, and the execution. Congratulations! You have the app idea already, now you have to step forward with a plan.
But, somewhere with all the workload, the concept of the app, hiring the right people, budget, and development of the app, entrepreneurs overlook the need for planning.
Worry not, we are here to lighten your burden with our step-by-step guide for mobile app business plan writing.
- A mobile application business plan helps you define your marketing strategy, customer acquisition strategy, retention strategy, and strategies to achieve your business goals.
- Craft an impactful executive summary that outlines the type of your app business, marketing approach, financial outlook, and team expertise to attract potential investors and partners.
- Conduct thorough market research to understand market trends, consumer preferences, and the needs of your target market.
- To ensure efficient daily operations, provide in-depth operational plans that incorporate staffing, additional services, and customer service.
- Create realistic financial projections for sales revenue, expenses, and profit forecasts while considering contingencies & emergencies.
Let’s get started with our guide, without any further ado:
How to Create a Mobile App Business Plan: A Complete Guide
1. executive summary.
An executive summary is a quick overview of the whole business plan. From mission & vision to financial projections, it includes everything in between.
Generally, entrepreneurs write this section at the end after having the full knowledge of the entire business plan.
Begin your executive summary with a brief introduction of your business, and include other elements like:
- Market Opportunity
- Vision & mission statement
- Target market
- Unique value proposition
- Details of your services
- Management team
- Financial Outlook
- Call to action
For instance, here is an example of an app business USP’s section:
USP for PrivyConnect – Social Media App: “Connect with Total Privacy”
Our social media app is dedicated to ensuring your online interactions remain private and secure. Unlike many other platforms, we don’t share your data or personal information with third parties.
We use robust encryption to protect your messages and content, and you have full control over who can see your posts. With us, you can truly connect with your friends and family in a safe and trusted environment. Your privacy is our priority.
Note: your readers might not read the whole business plan, but they will go through the executive summary. Therefore, make sure you write it engagingly to grab their interest.
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2. Company Overview
In this section, present your business in detail. It should provide the details of your business & app name, the location of your office, the structure of your business, and other such information.
Now it is time you introduce what type of business you own, for example, your app type will be one from below:
- Social media app
- Messaging app
- E-commerce app
- Entertainment app
- Health and fitness app
- News or magazine app
- Navigation app
- Finance app
After that, mention the company history if you have any. Add the name and other qualifications & achievements of business owners. Mention the vision & mission statement of your app business along with your future goals.
In short, this section should provide an in-depth understanding of your business and business owners.
3. Industry Analysis
In the industry analysis section of your mobile app business plan, you have to provide the details about the mobile app industry. It will help you understand the market and gain a better insight into your business positioning.
Here are certain questions to ask while performing industry analysis:
- What is the current size of the app industry in terms of both revenue and users?
- What are the current trends of mobile app businesses?
- Which apps are leading the industry?
- Which mobile app concept is famous in public?
Conduction this industry analysis will educate you about the market and help you prepare marketing strategies according to the market trends.
In short, industry analysis will help to know a clear picture of the market, helping you in making informed decisions.
4. Competitive Analysis
Competitive analysis will help you identify the unique selling propositions (USP). Also, this way you will get to know your competitors.
Start by specifying who are your competitors – then compare it with both direct and indirect customers.
Now, let’s focus on your direct competitors, those similar to your mobile app. Provide an overview of each competitor, including their size and where they’re based.
Here are some questions to ask for competitive analysis:
- Who are your primary competitors?
- Who do they serve?
- What are their USPs?
- What is their pricing strategy?
- What do they need to work on according to their customers?
A more effective way to this analysis is to conduct it from the customers’ viewpoint. You might even ask your competitors’ customers what they like and dislike about their apps to better understand customers’ perspectives.
Here is an example of competitors and competitive advantage of the app:
SocialShield: SocialShield is a notable competitor in the privacy-focused social media segment. It emphasizes strong user data protection and secure communications. Their user base has been steadily growing, particularly among privacy-conscious users.
GuardChat: GuardChat offers encrypted messaging and content sharing. It has a user-friendly interface and strong encryption features. While their user base is smaller compared to established platforms, they have garnered a dedicated following.
PriviNet: PriviNet has made a name for itself by offering comprehensive privacy controls and anonymous user interactions. They have built a niche community of users who value privacy and user-controlled sharing settings.
Competitive Advantages of PrivyConnect
PrivyConnect’s comprehensive privacy controls and encryption set it apart as a top contender.
The app’s transparent communication and commitment to environmental responsibility contribute to its appeal.
PrivyConnect’s active community-building efforts and user engagement foster loyalty.
The app’s plans to expand into secure content sharing and social community growth align with industry trends.
This way you can get to know the USP of a mobile app development company. Once you get the USP, flaunt it in the entire business plan.
5. Market Analysis
In the market analysis section, do the market research and dive right into the market where you will be providing your app services. Begin the section by providing the details of your target customers.
Your target customers will depend on the type of app you own and the services you provide.
After a thorough discussion of the target market, discuss the market trends. Mention what your target customers prefer and what new are they looking for. For example, people might be looking for:
- Integration of AR/VR
- Sustainable and eco-friendly apps
- Privacy and data protection
At the end of the market analysis, do mention the regulatory environment mobile apps need to follow in the particular location.
6. Sales and Marketing Plan
Writing the sales and marketing section means jotting down the marketing strategy you will use to acquire new users and retain the existing ones.
Now it is time to mention the marketing strategies for your app, there are three phases of the launch:
- App-store optimization: Before launching the app, search for the keywords to include in your title, description, and other content.
- Build a landing page: You can create a website or build a landing page to make your brand presence prominent on the web too.
- Pre-launch promotion: Launch a teaser for your app before the release date itself. Give some special offers to the ones who will sign up even before the launch.
- Deploy it on major app stores: Launch your app on all the major app stores to reach a wider audience. Make sure it is working smoothly and is free of bugs.
- Social media marketing: There were going to be 147.2 billion annual app downloads in 2023 itself. Imagine the competition, so be sure to make your visibility strong through social media platforms.
- Content marketing: Create blog posts, videos, or infographics related to your app’s niche. Share valuable content on your website and social media to engage users.
- User reviews and feedback: Encourage users to leave positive reviews and ratings on app stores. Actively respond to user feedback and address issues (if any) ASAP.
- User engagement strategies: You can enable push notifications or in-app notifications to interact with your users. You can also ask them to invite friends in exchange for a referral bonus.
- Collaboration or influencer marketing: You can collaborate with some other mobile app companies and do cross-marketing. Influencer marketing is also a great choice.
Once you have noted down how you will acquire customers, then mention below things too:
- Customer acquisition cost
- Your monthly paid advertisement budget
- Number of followers you have on social media
- If there are any in-app purchases
7. Management Team
Knowing who is behind your app business will increase the appeal of your business plan.
The management team tells you about the people in charge of the app business. It should explain each manager’s experience, what they’re good at, and what their jobs are.
Here is an example of the management team:
Management team of PrivyConnect
Founder and CEO – Sarah Anderson Sarah is the visionary leader behind PrivyConnect. With a background in cybersecurity and a passion for online privacy, she founded the company to provide users with a secure and private social media experience. Sarah is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction and ensuring its commitment to user privacy and data protection.
CTO – David Ramirez David brings a wealth of technical expertise to PrivyConnect. He has a strong background in mobile app development and security protocols. David oversees the technical development of the app, ensuring that it employs state-of-the-art encryption and privacy measures.
CMO – Emily Davis Emily is the marketing guru behind PrivyConnect’s success. With a knack for digital marketing and user engagement, she is responsible for building the app’s user base and promoting its unique selling propositions. Emily focuses on user-centric marketing strategies and community engagement.
COO – Michael Chen Michael is the operations expert at PrivyConnect. With years of experience in streamlining business operations, he ensures the app runs smoothly and efficiently. He also oversees partnerships and collaborations to enhance the app’s offerings.
8. Operations Plan
As earlier sections mentioned everything about your company goals, here it is time to mention how you will reach them. These goals are differentiated into two sections:
They’re the heart and soul of your mobile app’s daily life, from coding and upgrades to the nitty-gritty of customer support. These are the everyday heroes that keep your app running smoothly.
It’s all about milestones: the moments that make you pop the champagne. Picture celebrating your 10,000th app install, hitting that milestone sales figure you’ve dreamt of, or expanding your team.
9. Financial Plan
Your financial plan needs to have a 5-year financial forecast. For the first year, break it down into monthly or quarterly details, and then summarize it annually. This forecast should cover your income statement, balance sheet, Use of Funds, and cash flow.
An income statement, often known as a Profit and Loss statement or P&L, displays your earnings and then deducts your expenses to know the profitability of your business. Make practical assumptions based on your competition.
Balance sheets display your assets and liabilities. Although they can contain a lot of details, like equity, goodwill, other intangible assets, etc.
Uses of Funds
When you are seeking funding, this statement becomes necessary to show where you will use the funds. Here is an example of the Uses of Funds chart with the help of Upmetrics:
Cash flow statement
Your cash flow statement helps you see how much money you need to start or grow your business and avoid running out of money.
Surprisingly, you can make a profit but still face financial problems that could lead to bankruptcy. Therefore, you will need proper cash flow planning to avoid such circumstances.
Why Do You Need a Business Plan for Your Mobile App
For entrepreneurs who jump into business directly without writing a business plan is like delaying their success. Here are some reasons why you need a mobile app business plan:
Writing a business plan helps you work out and make clear your business strategy. Do you want customers to pay upfront? Or there are in-app purchases? Writing this down from the start helps your team understand where you’re headed.
Finances are important
Sometimes, it takes months or even a year to cover customer acquisition costs. So, you need a plan with a solid financial forecast. A good plan lets you play with different situations, so you know how much money you need for both the long and short term.
Acquiring and retaining customers
Acquiring and retaining customers is one of the sole purposes of a business. In the business plan, you have to mention in detail about your strategies to have a clear roadmap.
Knowing Your Market
A business plan lets you identify your ideal customer profile. Knowing your customers is crucial, and having a deep understanding of your customers helps you make the correct updates to your product in the future.
Download a Mobile App business plan template
Ready to kick-start your business plan writing process? And not sure where to start? Here you go, download our free mobile app business plan pdf , and start writing.
This intuitive, modern, and investment-ready template is designed specifically for mobile app businesses. It includes step-by-step instructions & examples to help in creating your own mobile app business plan.
The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan
Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.
Finally! You know how to write a mobile app business plan. Thus, you are one step closer to starting or expanding your business.
No doubt, writing a business plan is a challenging task, but it is a lot smoother with a top business planning tool . Therefore, take a deep breath and get started with your plan. All the best!
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Business Plan Presentation Tips
Frequently asked questions, do i need to include information about competitors in the business plan.
Yes, in the section of competitive analysis: you need to mention your competitors and their USPs. This will help you to understand the market and know your strong points.
How often should I update my mobile app business plan?
An app business plan is a living document, you can change or update it whenever you want. Ideally, go through your plan and make changes according to the current situations atleast once a month.
Can I use a mobile app business plan to secure funding for my app project?
One of the main purposes of writing a business plan is to secure funding or get a loan. So, of course, you can present a solid mobile app business plan in front of lenders to secure funding.
How much does it cost to create a mobile app business plan?
Writing a mobile app business plan might cost from a few hundred to thousands of dollars depending on the complexity of the app, the number of integrations, UI/UX, etc.
About the Author
Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more
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Mobile App Business Plan Template
Written by Dave Lavinsky
Mobile App Business Plan
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their app development company. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a mobile app business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
Download our Ultimate Mobile App Business Plan Template here >
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan provides a snapshot of your mobile app as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
Source of Funding for Mobile App Companies
With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a mobile app are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, angel investors and venture capitalists. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.
The second most common form of funding for a mobile app is angel investors . Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan.
Venture capitalists will also fund a mobile app and will take equity in return for their funding, VC funding generally comes after you’ve received initial proof of concept or traction with your app.
Finish Your Business Plan Today!
How to write a business plan for a mobile app development company.
Your business plan should include 10 sections as follows:
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of app business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a mobile app that you would like to grow, or do you already have several successful app businesses?
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the mobile app industry. Discuss the type of mobile app you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company analysis, you will detail the type of mobile app you are operating.
For example, you might operate one of the following types:
- Business app : this type of mobile app generally helps increase productivity and/or decrease costs.
- Entertainment app : this type of mobile app includes news, social networking, music, video, etc.
- Lifestyle app : this type of mobile app includes things like fitness, shopping, dating, etc.
- Education app : this type of app must have the primary objective of advancing a user’s knowledge and overall breadth in a particular subject.
- Utility app : this type of app includes things like scanners, trackers, health-related apps, cell service providers, etc.
- Travel app : this type of app aids in planning and booking trips.
- Other app : there are a limitless number of areas in which a successful app could be created
In addition to explaining the type of mobile app you operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to questions such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include sales goals you’ve reached, new store openings, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the mobile app industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends. For example, if there was a trend towards quiz apps, it would be helpful to ensure your plan incorporates gamification into your app.
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section:
- How big is the app industry (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your mobile app? You can calculate this figure by multiplying the size of your target customer market by the amount they might spend per year on your app.
The customer analysis section must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments: business operations managers, college students, sports enthusiasts, soccer moms, techies, teens, baby boomers, etc.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of mobile app you operate. Clearly, baby boomers would want different pricing and product options, and would respond to different marketing promotions than teens.
Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the business types (if B2B), ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.
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Direct competitors are other app businesses in your niche.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to achieve similar results to what your app offers.
With regards to direct competition, you want to detail the other app development companies with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be mobile app businesses offering the same type of service or activity that yours does.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of customers do they serve?
- What products do they offer?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Will you provide superior features?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For an app business, your marketing plan should include the following:
Product : in the product section, you should reiterate the type of mobile app that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific features of your app.
Price : Document how you will price your app and if there will be different pricing levels (e.g., free, entry, premium) and what those levels will be.
Place : Place refers to your distribution method. Document how customers can download your app (e.g., from your website, the Apple Store, Google Play, etc.).
Promotions : the final part of your mobile app marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your app(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Social media advertising
- Advertising in magazines, newspapers and/or trade journals
- Reaching out to local bloggers and websites
- Pay per click advertising
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your mobile app such as writing code, building upgrades, fixing bugs, providing customer service, etc.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect your 10,000th app install, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or launch a new location.
To demonstrate your mobile app’s ability to succeed as a business, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in app development business. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in mobile apps and/or successfully running small businesses.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.
Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
Balance Sheets : While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. For instance, if you spend $100,000 on building out your mobile app, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $100.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a mobile app:
- Cost of equipment like computers, data warehousing, etc.
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff and independent contractors
- Business insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your store design blueprint or location lease.
Putting together a business plan for your mobile app is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the app business, your competition and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful mobile app.
Mobile App Business Plan FAQs
What is the easiest way to complete my mobile app business plan.
Growthink's Ultimate Mobile App Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Mobile App Business Plan.
Where Can I Download a Free Mobile App Business Plan PDF?
You can download our mobile app business plan PDF template here . This is a template you can use in PDF format to create a business plan for an app.
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Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates
- What is a Mobile App Business Plan and how to ...
What is a Mobile App Business Plan and how to write
What is a mobile app business plan.
Why you need a Mobile App Business Plan
- It helps you make informed decisions about features, target audience, marketing strategies, and monetization models, ensuring you align your actions with your general business goals.
- It assists in resource planning, including budgeting, staffing, and timeline management, enabling you to allocate them effectively.
- It helps identify potential risks and challenges early on, allowing you to devise strategies to mitigate them and improve the overall success of your mobile app.
- It establishes criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of processes, allowing you to make adjustments and improvements as necessary.
- At last, a well-crafted business plan demonstrates your seriousness and commitment to investors, increasing the chances of securing funding for your app.
Business Plan for a Mobile App and other software: 3 difference
Feature set, marketing approach, monetization strategy.
What does a Business Plan for a Mobile App look like
- The executive summary provides an overview of the mobile app concept, target market, competitive advantage, and financial projections.
- The company description describes the background of the company or startup, including its mission, vision, and core values.
- The market analysis presents a detailed investigation of the target audience, including customer demographics, trends, market size, and competition.
- The overview of the mobile app thoroughly describes its features, functionality, and unique selling points.
- The marketing and sales strategy outlines the distribution channels, advertising, and promotional activities.
- Development and design detail the technical aspects of the mobile app development, including the tech stack, platforms, and development timeline.
- Operations and management describe the organizational structure, key personnel, and management team responsible for developing and maintaining.
- Financial projections present financial forecasts, including revenue projections, cost estimates, and profitability analysis.
- Funding requirements specify the investments needed for developing and launching the mobile app and potential funding sources such as investors or loans.
- Risk analysis identifies potential challenges associated with developing and launching the mobile software and contingency plans to mitigate those risks.
- The implementation plan outlines the procedure for executing the development and launch of the mobile app, including milestones and timelines.
- The appendix may include additional supporting documents such as market research data, technical specifications, and legal considerations.
How to write a Business Plan for a Mobile App
1. present your company, 2. describe your mobile app, 3. justify your marketing strategy, 4. determine the parameters and terms of development, 5. plan financial performance.
- Determine the costs associated with app development, including salaries of the development team, design and development tools, software licenses, and any third-party services or APIs required.
- Estimate the ongoing operating expenses like hosting, server maintenance, customer support, and marketing expenses.
- Identify the potential revenue streams for your app, such as in-app purchases, subscriptions, advertisements, or partnerships. Analyze the market potential and competition to determine realistic revenue projections.
- Decide on the pricing model for your app, whether it will be a one-time purchase, freemium with in-app purchases, or a subscription-based model. Consider the perceived value of your app, user preferences, and market trends while setting the pricing.
- Choose a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy to promote your app and acquire users. Estimate the marketing budget required for user acquisition campaigns, digital advertising, app store optimization, and other promotional activities.
- Create financial projections, including cash flow statements, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets, for at least the first few years of your app’s operation. Consider different scenarios and sensitivity analyses to assess the financial feasibility and potential risks.
6. Set business growth criteria
- Define the target number of app installations or registered users you aim to achieve within a specific timeframe. This metric indicates the growth of your user base and market reach.
- Establish revenue-related goals, such as the projected increase in monthly or annual revenue. That may include targets for total revenue, average revenue per user, or income from specific monetization channels.
- Determine the desired market share you want to capture in your target market. It can be measured by the percentage of app downloads or user engagement compared to your competitors.
- Set metrics to track user retention and engagement, such as the percentage of active users, user session duration, or repeat app usage. These metrics indicate the app’s ability to retain and engage users over time.
- Consider incorporating customer satisfaction metrics like user ratings, reviews, or Net Promoter Score. Aim for a target satisfaction level that reflects a positive user experience and indicates high app quality.
- If you plan to expand your app’s reach into new markets or geographic regions, define the KPIs for successful market entry, such as the number of new niches entered or the market penetration rate.
7. Write an Executive Summary
- Begin with a brief entrance to your mobile app project, including its name, purpose, and target audience. Clearly state the problem your app solves and the value it offers to users.
- Provide an overview of the market opportunity, including market size, growth potential, and relevant industry trends or insights. Highlight the demand for your mobile app and how it addresses a specific need or gap in the market.
- Clearly define your mobile app’s unique selling proposition (USP) or competitive advantage. Explain what sets your app apart from competitors and why users should choose your app over others.
- Describe your app’s revenue model and monetization strategy. Explain how you plan to generate revenue through in-app purchases, subscriptions, advertisements, or other means. Include any projected financial figures or growth forecasts.
- Briefly outline your marketing strategy and how to attract and acquire users. Highlight any marketing channels, partnerships, or promotional activities to help you effectively reach your target audience.
- Summarize your team’s expertise and relevant experience, emphasizing key roles and their contributions to the mobile app’s success. Mention any strategic partnerships, advisors, or external resources that support your app’s development and growth.
- Include a summary of the financial projections, such as revenue forecasts, projected expenses, and expected profitability. Highlight key economic indicators and milestones.
- If you are seeking funding or investment, clearly state the amount required, its purpose, and how the funds will be utilized to support the app’s development, marketing, and growth.
Business Plan for Mobile App: how Academy SMART can help you
Mobile app business plan: frequently asked questions, how long does it take to write a business plan for an app, what is an executive summary of a mobile app business plan.
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Mobile App Business Plan Template
Business Plan Outline
- Mobile App Business Plan Home
- 1. Executive Summary
- 2. Company Overview
- 3. Industry Analysis
- 4. Customer Analysis
- 5. Competitive Analysis
- 6. Marketing Plan
- 7. Operations Plan
- 8. Management Team
- 9. Financial Plan
Start Your Mobile App Plan Here
Mobile App Business Plan
You’ve come to the right place to create your mobile app business plan.
We have helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their mobile app businesses.
Mobile App Business Plan Example
Below are links to each of the key elements of a mobile app business plan template:
- Executive Summary – In the Executive Summary, you will provide a general overview of your business plan including your target market, business model, and how you plan to make your business successful.
- Company Overview – The Company Overview section will provide a company description, history of the company, location, and milestones achieved.
- Industry Analysis – From your market research, you will provide an industry analysis. This will include a discussion of the current mobile app industry landscape, trends, and issues facing your industry.
- Customer Analysis – The Customer Analysis section will describe your target market. This includes information on demographics, psychographics, and behaviors.
- Competitive Analysis – In the Competitive Analysis section, you will discuss your competition. This includes a discussion of your direct and indirect competitors, their market share, and how you plan to compete against them.
- Marketing Plan – The Marketing Plan section will describe your marketing strategy. This includes information on your marketing mix, pricing strategy, and promotional activities.
- Operations Plan – The Operations Plan section of your mobile app business plan will describe your business operations. This includes information on your manufacturing process, quality control, delivery, and distribution.
- Management Team – The Management Team section will provide information on the management members of your team. This includes their experience, education, and skills.
- Financial Plan – In the Financial Plan section, you will provide the financial model and financial statements for your business. This includes your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.
Next Section: Executive Summary >
Mobile App Business Plan FAQs
What is a mobile app business plan.
A mobile app business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your mobile app business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.
You can easily complete your mobile app business plan using our Mobile App Business Plan Template here .
What Are the Main Types of Mobile App Companies?
There are many types of mobile app companies across a variety of categories. There are mobile app companies that focus solely on mobile games. Others are exercise or wellness focused. Some mobile apps provide guidance on specific topics, some offer music streaming, and other apps provide help or assistance on a variety of topics. Many companies have developed company-specific mobile apps to allow users to become more connected with their products or offerings. For instance, most major brands, restaurants and financial services companies have company-specific mobile applications.
What Are the Main Sources of Revenue and Expenses for a Mobile App Business?
The primary source of revenue for mobile app companies are subscription paid by the users on an annual or monthly basis. Advertising (selling ad space to other companies on their app) is another significant revenue sources.
The key expenses for mobile app companies are the costs to advertise and generate users. These expenses are often in the form of targeted social media advertising or online targeted marketing. Some major mobile app companies pay to have their mobile apps advertised on television commercials or music streaming platforms. Another major expense for app companies are office space, employee salaries and technology licensing fees.
How Do You Get Funding for Your Mobile App Business Plan?
Mobile app businesses are most likely to receive funding from angel investors and friends and family. Personal savings and credit cards are also often used. Venture capitalists will fund a business plan for an app once it achieves enough traction (e.g., enough users or generating enough revenue).
What are the Steps To Start a Mobile App Business?
Starting a mobile app business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.
1. Develop A Mobile App Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed business plan for an app that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.
2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your mobile app business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your mobile app business is in compliance with local laws.
3. Register Your Mobile App Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your mobile app business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.
4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your mobile app business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.
5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.
6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.
7. Acquire Necessary Mobile App Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your mobile app business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation.
8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your mobile app business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.
Learn more about how to start a successful mobile app business:
- How to Start a Mobile App Business
- How to Start a Mobile App Development Business
Where Can I Get a Mobile App Business Plan PDF?
You can download our free mobile app business plan template PDF here . This is a sample mobile app business plan template you can use in PDF format.
- Android Development
How to Create a Convincing Business Plan for Your Mobile Apps?
Steps To Create a Business Plan For Your Mobile App
1. detailed summary, 2. company introduction, 3. all about the industry, 4. marketing strategy, 5. operational strategy, 6. financial plan, why make a mobile app business plan, magnetizing investments, reducing the risks, helps you keep everything in perspective, wrapping up.
Having an app idea is simple. But planning the business needs is quite tedious and crucial!
If you choose to develop an application without doing the research, then while characterizing the audience, and planning use cases and features that will interest that audience, you risk developing a product you assume individuals will need, but in reality they don’t.
Therefore, having a business plan for a mobile app is crucial. A business plan not only helps in the initial planning and discovery phase of a project, but also acts as a reminder of all the critical aspects that should be taken care of during the mobile app development.
So without further ado, lets move on to our main discussion “How to build Business Plan for a Mobile App Startup” or “How to Write Business Plan for Mobile Application Idea?”
You have to start somewhere! Thus, a short overview of your detailed mobile app business plan is something you must pay special attention to, since this is going to be the first thing that the potential investors will encounter.
Things that make this section ideal are – convey more while writing less , refrain from mentioning the working of the product, and so on . Instead, focus more on market scenario, targeted users, and make sure you implement the below mentioned steps –
Focus on problems addressed
‘Problems’ are something that always prevails. Meaning, there is always room for improvement and innovation. What you are supposed to do here is analyze the problems users are facing with the existing solutions and find out –
- The needs and demands of the users at the moment
- Problems users are facing with the products similar to yours
- why these solutions fail to satisfy – what are they lacking that you can provide in a better and different way.
State your proposed solution
Try not to divert from the path of the problem while explaining its solution, i.e., do not go into the functioning and features of your app, rather stay focused on the problem and the ways in which your app addresses them.
Unique Value Proposition
This is where you can boast of the things that differentiate you from other organizations and solution providers, something about your app that is unique in itself. Not just better but definitely different. For example, the USP for Domino’s Pizza is “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or else it’s free.”
End objective of your app
After everything’s said and done, it all comes down to this – The goals you plan to achieve with your app.
You MUST state the vision of your app’s future, i.e., how many downloads you are initially expecting on your application, how much profit you are expecting, and much more. It is best to visualize your short-term plans and then improve your answer through metrics.
The next step while making a detailed and convincing business plan is to prepare your company’s information. Since the future is unpredictable, the things you have mentioned in the above section may not be as appealing to the investors as you may conjecture.
Firms like Y Combinator, TechStars, to name a few, are known to select startups for funding based on the team and the founders. So, you see how crucial this section just became for you. Moreover, it would add as a plus point if you could provide information about the MVP or a prototype you have developed.
The things you should cover here are –
Provide an overview
There are some questions that you need to address in this section to help investors understand your organization and develop trust in it.
- Type of entity – Are you an LLC or privately owned organization?
- Location – Where is it housed?
- Duration – When was the organization established?
- What is the team size of your company?
- Do you operate off-shore as well or not?
- What are the problems your company is currently going through?
- What is the ultimate goal of the company?
- What is your vision?
Take it from the top
Like a novel, you must tell the story of your organization while briefly touching on all the preliminary motivations, business app ideas, problems, etc. that you encountered at the time of its inception.
List everything about the history of your company that is worth knowing, since it could be a lot damaging if any crucial information is withheld from the investors and is revealed later. It can include the locations you have operated in, early hires, major pivots, product launches, and such.
Remember each and every person in your company is an important cog in your organization’s machinery. This is why you are required to mention the names of all the members of management with all the relevant information related to them, i.e., qualification, professional experience, expertise, KRAs while mentioning the organizational hierarchy.
Almost every mobile app development company is backed by an advisory team. The panel consists of industry experts with years of experience under the belt. More often than not, they are the makers of some successful apps. Creating a list of such advisors can immensely improve your brand image and credibility, boosting the chances of getting funds.
Essentially, your end product is going to target a particular industry. Hence, it is obvious for you as an entrepreneur to know every grain of major information, from market history to current trends related to your targeted industry.
The most basic thing that you must know and also showcase in your app startup business plan is the size of the market. This includes – total available market (market demand for the app), serviceable available market (number of users you can target say in 3 to 5 years), and serviceable obtainable market (the segment of your initial users in 6 to 12 months).
If you are wondering how to do so then, you can always refer to the credible data provided by some trusted third-party platforms, namely, Sensor Tower , App Annie , and Statista .
Keep updated with market projections
You need to understand the market’s past and present to gain insight into future predictions. The best thing to do here is to compare and analyze the market size of the past 5 years, mention the number of new entrants in the industry, the number of total fundings, and so on.
Competitive analysis is an indispensable element of any business on this planet. Regardless of the organization type, industry, size, etc. – all religiously perform this step.
Various models around this have been devised to gain the attention of angel investors. Out of the many, the one we recommend is the 2 x 2 matrix model, in which variables portray these four aspects: challengers, leaders, niche players, and visionaries. In order to highlight the execution and vision of the app as it progresses, these four elements are displayed via an x-y axis scale.
Self-assessment through SWOT
SWOT analysis representing four components – Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats is used for self-assessment by all organizations. It enables you to give a structured description of your company’s situation in an efficient way in your business plan for app development .
Acting as a bridge between your app and the end-users, a solid mobile app marketing strategy wields the most power. Your role is to devise such a marketing strategy that acts as a ‘deal-sealer’ between your firm and the investors. This will show the investors that you have the medium to make your app reach the users’ smartphones from an app store.
These are some points that you can include in your marketing strategy-
Describe the user persona first
Creating user personas is very beneficial . This is something you would be able to identify while you are doing your research on the market. In case there is more than one user personas, you must mention them in your app development business plan . The more in-depth it is, the more promising your business plan seems to the angel investors.
The said information is to be included in the user personas – Age, Gender, Occupation, Location, Income group, and Marital status. Other information that is classified as psychographic data includes attitudes towards money (price-sensitivity or value shoppers), the context of app usage, personal/professional aims, hobbies, preferred sites and apps, tech-savviness, and so on.
Customer acquisition strategy
Once you have identified the user personas of your app, you can determine your customer acquisition strategy. One thing you have to be absolutely sure about is your CAC (customer acquisition cost). You will be able to estimate the right cost once you have established which channels and campaigns you will employ in marketing your mobile app business strategy highlighting your app’s USP (unique selling proposition).
Here are some channels that you can try to achieve great results –
- Incentivized user downloads
- Search engine marketing
- Organic installs
- Social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram) ads
- App store optimization
- Content marketing
- Push and in-app notifications
- Retargeting campaigns
- Mobile site redirection
- Mobile app wall ads
- Email marketing
- Event marketing
Product driven growth
Change in product driven growth is one of the most common elements of pivoting a startup . If your business model needs a large mainstream user base, then it is of utmost prominence for you to build a referral program in your mobile app business model to leverage network effects. A well-known and effective mobile app business plan example is Uber. For instance, Uber offers a coupon on the users’ next ride as a reward for referring to others and the referred person also enjoys coupons on the first ride.
Make a landing page
A landing page can really help you in numerous ways. One of which is that it can help you expand your horizons in terms of target users. It keeps the readers informed and updated about innovations and further updates of your app. One thing to keep in mind whilst doing this is to make sure it contains the name of your app, its description, promotional videos, etc.
Define your key metrics
There are several metrics on the basis of which you can measure your business growth and popularity of your mobile app. This is something that you must include in the web or mobile app business plan . You have to be careful while picking the right metrics suitable for your business model. An example – if your app is a social media application, then your ideal key metrics should be the daily active users instead of the number of downloads.
Stating the strategy regarding your daily operation imparts an impression of awareness and readiness on your part to the investors, something which always works in the favor. This also includes your strategy for customer relations.
You must describe and map out how you are going to handle customer services and maintain quality assurance. It also includes how you are going to perform the app development process and manage it. Other things to cover in this section are-
You can mention information such as how your users are going to behave from the start to the end, i.e., when they first hear of your app and start using it.
This outlines all the data related to the employees. It concerns how and when you will hire the employees, how salaries will be expensed, how will you set the hierarchy in the organization and so much more.
It is the stage where you could literally say “Let’s talk numbers”. What the investors would want to see in this section are the answers to the questions – how will you make money? What will be the cost to run the business? What will be the financial plan for mobile application? And how much funds do you need?
Devise an app monetization strategy
Just like for marketing, you need to have an efficacious mobile app monetization strategy , something that we have also covered in detail in our article named “ How to choose the right pricing strategy for your mobile app project ”.
According to CB insights , 19% of the startups fail because they get out-competed. In the graph below, you would find that 29% of the startups get shut down as they run out of cash.
You can avoid this fate by analyzing the costs you may need. Similarly, it is crucial for you to mention to the investors all the details related to the costs and expenses you would be needing and for what.
Since the devil is in the details, here is what you should include – one time costs, recurring costs (rent, inventory, etc.), fixed costs (rent, utilities, etc.) variable costs (i.e, the salary of employees) and a lot more.
It is here at this stage that you are going to ask for the fundings and reveal all the information related to it. Address these questions in this section –
- How much money do you require?
- What percentage of equity are you proposing to give in return?
- Is this going to be a convertible note or a preferred stock?
- For what duration this money will suffice before you need to propose for another funding round?
Now that we have discussed in detail about the steps to create a business plan, it is now time to sit down and ponder on the “why” of creating a business plan for your mobile application.
According to Statistics, in 2023, mobile apps are projected to generate more than 935 billion U.S. dollars in revenues through paid downloads and in-app advertising.
Another report by Statista states that by 2023, it is estimated that the annual number of app downloads worldwide will amount to 299 billion .
Now you can see the importance of mobile apps and the importance of making a business plan for your mobile app.
The most obvious reason why mobile app startups make a business plan for developing an app, as you might have surmised as well, is to bring in more and more investments. This is to attract investors and even start-up co-founders – the choice is yours to make, and sometimes you need to have the support of both.
An efficacious business plan will help your vision be represented in a crystal-clear way while displaying the scope of your mobile app concept and business app ideas as well.
Un-planned actions pertain to risks, and risks in business are synonymous to cost-inefficiency and loss.
When you devise a business plan, you actually map out the whole journey of your business, something that can provide you great insights into the many unanticipated and probable risks.
When making big decisions, it is common to forget and leave out certain important aspects that can make or break the foundation of your business at a much later stage. However, when you have a blueprint including a set of points acting as a reminder of those crucial aspects, it becomes easy for you to remember them. Mobile app development business plan is that blueprint.
Regardless of what category your mobile application belongs to, the business plan for each one is essentially similar, for the most part. A business plan is static in contrast to a business proposal for an app , which is dynamic. This is because it is a document created only once and is not rewritten after the purpose is fulfilled.
We hope that this article has provided you with detailed and good insights on business plan for your mobile app. If you need any assistance on mobile app development services, then you can opt for Appinventiv, a top mobile app development company in USA for quality results.
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Guide to writing a business plan for a mobile app business
✓ Last checked and updated on 7 August 2023
Mobile app business plans
Thinking of developing a mobile app? Done properly, app development requires a significant investment of time, money and resources. And therefore some careful consideration before you proceed.
Writing a business plan for a mobile app business, in advance of any development, can really help to clarify your vision as well as identify the steps you need to take to maximise the return on your investment.
We’ve written about how to make an app . But in order to make sure your app pays for itself and provides an income , you really need to make sure you have an app business plan in place.
How to write a business plan for an app:
Make sure you’ve taken the right factors into account
What problem are you aiming to solve with your app?
It’s vital to understand what your competitors are already doing – and how your app will improve on this
Think about your app’s USP and how it benefits your users
No matter how good your mobile app business idea, good financial management will ultimately be key to its success
You will need to give some considerable thought to how you plan to market your app
1. Decide what to consider when writing a mobile app business plan
Mobile apps are continuing to grow in popularity year on year – in fact, mobile apps are projected to hit $188.9 billion in revenue by 2020 – up from just $88billion in 2016 ( Statista ).
It doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable to wonder what the future holds for mobile apps – and whether the market is already saturated.
And yet technology is constantly changing (think about the rise of voice-based apps such as Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri for instance) along with consumer habits and expectations.
So there is no doubt that the demand is still there for apps that can genuinely be shown to be more innovative and more engaging than their competitors.
Whatever your business, writing a business plan takes time. But it’s an iterative process can and one that can be hugely helpful in clarifying exactly what you want to achieve in the development of your own app.
So what are some of the key points you might want to consider when putting together a business plan for your mobile app?
To get you started, here is a app business template:
App business plan template
- Executive summary
- Company overview and business goals
- Industry analysis
- Customer analysis
- Competitive analysis and market research
- Marketing strategy plan
- Operational plan
- Management team (if you have one!)
- Financial plan and forecast
2. Define what kind of app do you want to develop
It is tempting to rush into the development of an app simply because other businesses similar to yours already have one.
But it’s worth giving some genuine thought to the ‘problem’ that you aim to solve with the creation of an app.
Businesses build apps for all sorts of reasons, such as branding, improving customer engagement, direct marketing etc.
But as online publishing platform Medium says “Ultimately an effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile friendly website.”
3. Research your market
Once you have identified why the marketplace needs you to develop the app, it is vital to understand what your competitors are already doing – and how your app will improve on this.
When conducting market research , you should look at both primary and secondary data and consider key information such as include the size of your market as well as a thorough understanding of pricing.
A SWOT analysis can be useful for understanding your business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
LivePlan explains “Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your company—things that you have some control over and can change. Examples include who is on your team, your patents and intellectual property, and your location.
“Opportunities and threats are external—things that are going on outside your company, in the larger market. You can take advantage of opportunities and protect against threats, but you can’t change them. Examples include competitors, prices of raw materials, and customer shopping trends.”
Building on this, there is also a value in conducting a PEST analysis to look at macro economic factors that may influence your business. These are opportunities and threats due to Political, Economic, Social, and Technological forces.
Pestle Analysis explains these four areas in more detail:
- Political Here government regulations and legal factors are assessed in terms of their ability to affect the business environment and trade markets. The main issues addressed in this section include political stability, tax guidelines, trade regulations, safety regulations, and employment laws.
- Economic Through this factor, businesses examine the economic issues that are bound to have an impact on the company. This would include factors like inflation, interest rates, economic growth, the unemployment rate and policies, and the business cycle followed in the country.
- Social With the social factor, a business can analyze the socio-economic environment of its market via elements like customer demographics, cultural limitations, lifestyle attitude, and education. With these, a business can understand how consumer needs are shaped and what brings them to the market for a purchase.
- Technological How technology can either positively or negatively impact the introduction of a product or service into a marketplace is assessed here. These factors include technological advancements, lifecycle of technologies, the role of the Internet, and the spending on technology research by the government.
4. Define your app’s unique selling point (USP)
So what problem does your app actually solve? What makes it different from all the other apps out there? Any why will someone download your app rather than another, similar one?
Identifying your app’s unique selling point (USP) is a useful exercise in really understanding what you plan to do that’s different to everyone else.
It can also help you develop an ‘ elevator pitch ’ – a 20 second, one or two line summary that comprehensively explains your product. And which could, as the phrase suggests, be articulated to a potential investor between the floors of a buildings – should you be lucky enough to find yourself in a lift with someone on the lookout for your product!
5. Understand your budget and how your app will make money
No matter how good your mobile app business idea, good financial management will ultimately be key to its success.
How, for instance, are you going to make money from your app? You might decide on a freemium model, where basic features are free but full functionality is hidden behind a paywall. You might prefer in-app advertising. Or your app might be for solely for in-app purchases.
It is reassuring to know that it is possible to develop a mobile app on a tiny budget – but that budget still needs careful management.
Alongside all the usual business plan financial headings, you should also consider costs that are specific to app development.
These can include customer acquisition cost, which Appster elaborates as cost per app install or CPI, suggesting “If you want to go one level deeper and be more exact, find out the cost per activation, keeping in mind that there will be a percentage of users who might install the app, and then uninstall it without engaging with the app.”
6. Decide how you plan to market your app
Developing an app is one thing but getting it to arguably saturated marketplace, with good take up is quite another.
You will therefore need to give some considerable thought to how you plan to market your app once it is built (and possibly even before you have launched it).
And so taking the time to put together a marketing plan for your mobile app business can pay dividends after launch.
Looking for a hand with writing a business plan for your mobile app business?
If you would like a steer developing a business plan for your mobile app business, then the team at Creative.onl would love to help.
We are a friendly bunch with expertise across all of the following areas:
- Digital strategy
- UX design
- App development
- Web development
- Responsive web design
- Graphic design
- Video animation
- Marketing support
And we would love to help you with any aspect of your digital marketing strategy.
Whatever you are looking for, get in touch with Creative.onl to talk through the creative process.
App business plan FAQ
A mobile app business plan is exactly what is sounds like: a business plan, created specifically for a business based on launching a mobile app. Any startup business should have a business plan, and mobile app businesses are no exception.
Follow our 6-step process, and include the following 9 sections: • Executive summary • Company overview and business goals • Industry analysis • Customer analysis • Competitive analysis and market research • Marketing strategy plan • Operational plan • Management team (if you have one!) • Financial plan and forecast
If you feel that you have the expertise then you can go ahead and write your own app business plan yourself, without spending a penny: totally free. Or if you’d like some professional help, you can commission an app launch specialist like Creative.onl to write one for you: this might cost anything from £500 to £5000, depending on the level of support needed.
Every business is unique, whether it’s a mobile app business or otherwise. So this means that every mobile app business plan is also one-of-a-kind of tailored specifically to the business in question. But having said that, most app business plans follow the rough format we detailed, with emphasis added or removed from each section.
Send us an email to [email protected] and let us know what you need, we should be able to provide you with a PDF template.
Why create a business plan for a mobile app?
A business plan is the backbone of any enterprise. Many people like to describe it as a map that assists you in getting from point A (idea) to point B (success) without accidentally venturing into point C (financial failure). You can also think of it as a set of guidelines used to devise comprehensive app development strategies and manage the budget in a responsible and effective way.
A business plan helps steer the enterprise in the right direction
With a comprehensive mobile app business plan, you’ll be able to use facts and exact calculations to determine the overall direction of the business :
- Gain useful insights about the competition and the current state of the market
- Make informed decisions regarding marketing and communication
- Outline a thorough financial strategy
- Evaluate performance and decide what’s the best way to allocate your resources
It will also help you to better manage your team :
- Keep everyone in sync and focused on the same target
- Establish clear goals and KPIs, as well as set priorities
And finally, having a business plan is crucial if you want to win over investors and stakeholders.
And it’s not just our opinion — there’s actually some research that confirms the value of writing a business plan. Recently, Palo Alto Software surveyed 2,900 entrepreneurs and discovered that people who create business plans are almost twice as likely to succeed as those who don’t. To measure “success”, Palo Alto used three metrics: business growth, secured investment capital, and secured loans. Find out more information about the study.
This study clearly shows that a business plan isn’t just a formality
What does a mobile app business plan look like?
A typical mobile app business plan is comprised of 8 sections:
- Executive summary
- Products & services
- Company overview
- Market analysis
- Competitive analysis
- Marketing strategy
- Financial strategy
The whole document usually runs 20 to 40 pages including appendices, but this number largely depends on the scale of your project and your goals. A mobile app business plan for a massive product with international presence may well run into hundreds of pages, while an average startup is unlikely to go over 50 pages.
When writing a mobile app business plan, you should always consider the target audience . Keep everything informative but concise — otherwise, you run the risk of losing the reader’s attention. This is especially important if you’re writing a business plan to raise some funds: investors don’t like to waste their time. However, it’s crucial not to sacrifice any important information for the sake of hitting a hypothetical 40-page goal.
Things to keep in mind when creating a business plan
Before we dive straight into writing a mobile app business plan, let us give you some tips that will help you along the way.
Before opening that Google Document, ask yourself one question: what are you trying to achieve? The answer to that question defines your priorities. For example, if you’re going to use your mobile app business plan to raise some funds, you want to focus on the reasons you need that money and the exact ways you’re going to spend it.
Readability is highly important. This means that the information you present may be complex, but navigating it should be as simple to do as possible. The document should have a coherent structure, with one part logically flowing into another, and clear formatting with headings, subheadings, and enough white space. You can also supplement the numbers you provide with graphs to highlight the most important outtakes.
Pay attention not only to what the document says, but also to what it looks like: with headings, subheadings, and diagrams you create a better document structure
All financial forecasts in your mobile app business plan should be realistic — too much optimism will likely damage your image and cause distrust, not to mention that inflated expectations can ruin the enterprise itself. With that said, all the reports should clearly indicate that there are good prospects for the business and that investors stand to gain good profit if they support the project. If the reports paint a bleak picture, maybe it would be a good idea to test another concept.
Creating a 30-page formal document is a daunting task, and there’s not a single reason why you should face it in solitude. In fact, it’ll be much better if you don’t! As you go, ask other people (preferably experienced) to review it from time to time — this way, you’ll be sure that your plan is logical and makes sense.
How to create a business plan for an app
OK, so we’ve established that a typical startup business plan consists of 8 sections, each equally important as the others. But what exactly do you put in these sections? Let’s find out.
Write an executive summary
An executive summary is a rundown of the whole document. It describes the current situation in the market, establishes the target audience, as well as puts forward the product’s concept, business goals, and financial projections. Put simply, it answers three big questions:
A good-written executive summary can act as a standalone document. In fact, many investors make their initial decisions after reading this part only, so getting it right is crucial if you want to win over important stakeholders.
The secret is in keeping everything clear and concise: you want to convey the message that your app idea has huge potential without overwhelming the reader with 5-page long sheets and abstract ideas. Ideally, the executive summary shouldn’t run longer than 2–3 pages.
The four key components of an executive summary
Prepare the company overview
In this section of your mobile app business plan, you tell the reader more about your company . Include the following information:
- Mission. It’s brief explanation why a company exists (take Google, for example: “Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”)
- Vision. It’s a declaration of the company’s potential impact on the world.
- Corporate values
- History and past achievements (if any)
- Competitive advantages
You should also provide detailed information about the team : the number of people you employ, as well as their qualifications and previous experiences.
We recommend dedicating a separate subsection to your top management and key team members to tell about their background and achievements. This will help convince investors that apart from a great app idea , you also have great people behind it.
Make sure to cover the issue of ownership . Does each partner own an equal portion of the business? If not, how exactly is ownership divided?
Potential investors will definitely want to know this information.
Describe your products & services
This is where you really get into detail about your business idea. First, provide some information about the problem you want to solve. To do this, answer 3 fundamental questions:
You need to convince stakeholders that your product solves an important problem. Answering these 3 questions will help
You need to convince the reader that this issue actually bears any importance. You can cite some research or statistics, but try not to oversaturate this section with numbers.
Then, you move on to the actual solution and tell how exactly you plan to tackle the problem. This is where you describe your product or service. Give a brief description of the processes involved, but again, stray from flooding the section with too many technical details.
Finally, give a brief examination of your competitors and highlight how exactly your product is going to surpass the already existing options.
Conduct an audience analysis
In the audience analysis part, you evaluate the current state of the field and give justified reasons why you believe your product has any place in the competitive environment. This section includes queries into the target market , customer behavior, current trends, and several important metrics: cost per acquisition (CPA), total available market (TAM), service available market (SAM), and service obtainable market (SOM).
Try to be as specific as possible when talking about the target audience. Consider building customer personas — generalized representations of the people who are going to be interested in your product. To create a persona, conduct several in-depth interviews and organize the obtained information into the following blocks:
- Demographic information — age, gender, income, place of living
- Psychographic information — goals, challenges, motivation, personality type
- Professional activities — qualifications, current job, past job experiences
- Interests and personal tastes
- Needs — why would they need your product?
This is an example of what a customer persona sheet may look like
Carry out a competitive analysis
We’ve already touched on the subject of competition in the executive summary and the products & services section. This time, however, you dive in much deeper and provide a detailed analysis of your direct and indirect competitors, answering the following questions: What are their strengths & weaknesses? What marketing strategies do they use? What is their pricing?
Once you’ve described the competitive landscape, it’s time to show why your product is going to be superior. One way to do this is by conducting a SWOT analysis.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It actually doesn’t get any more complicated than this: the section names speak for themselves.
In Strengths , you state the advantages that separate you from the competition.
In Weaknesses , you focus on the things your product lacks and resource limitations.
In Opportunities , you describe the prospects for your business, as well as the external factors that can have a positive influence on the enterprise (rising demand, changing attitudes, etc.).
And finally, in Threats , you cite any external factors that can have a negative influence on the enterprise (bad media coverage, changing regulations, and so on).
Conducting a SWOT analysis is important for proper positioning
Outline your marketing strategy
This is where you describe three important things. First, you need to cover the channels you’re going to use to reach your target segments — for example, social media, target ads, or physical ads. Then, you specify the amount of money you plan to spend on marketing activities, and finally, the KPIs you’re going to use to evaluate efficiency.
Describe your financial strategy
We’ve reached the core of any mobile app business plan. A startup needs a financial strategy much like a ship needs an engine or a mast, and this section is where all the crucial number crunching is happening — akin to an engine room. Let’s look at what you need to include in this part of the plan:
- A revenue model, also known as a monetization strategy
- A monthly sales and revenue forecast for the first 12 months and annual projections for the next 3–5 years
- An income statement, which outlines annual net profits or losses
- A cash flow statement, which shows how much money the company operates with in total
- A balance sheet, which lists assets, liabilities, and equity in your company
- Funds needed (how much money you need to gain in investments)
- Use of funds (how exactly you’re going to use gained investments)
You need an exit strategy if you plan to sell your company some time in the future. Having this subsection is crucial if you want to draw the attention of venture capitalists and angel investors. The most common exit strategies are acquisition, initial public offering (IPO), and management buyout.
Make sure you understand all these terms correctly and can confidently use them when pitching — investors are more likely to trust an entrepreneur who knows their financial matters.
A typical balance sheet lists a hefty number of assets, liabilities, and stockholders’ equity. Complicated, but important!
Compile an appendix
This isn’t a mandatory section — you can omit it altogether, if you want. However, it might be a good place for charts, tables, legal notes, licenses, permits, detailed studies, illustrations of your product, and all other miscellaneous pieces of information that can seem a little out of place if you include them in any of the primary sections of your mobile app business plan.
How to fund your app startup
We’ve compared the main sources of funding in the table below.
And now a bit more about every source of funding.
Bootstrapping is just a fancy word for using your own money. Unsurprisingly, this is the best way to fund a startup: there are no loans, no interest rates, no bonds, and no contractual obligations. If the idea fails, you’ve got no one to answer to (well, apart from your wallet) — and if it takes off, you get to keep more of the returns.
The second most desirable source of funding. A personal network is your friends and family — or, in other words, people you have a close emotional connection with. Persuading them to fund your mobile app development project will be much easier than pitching the idea to complete strangers. And in case the startup fails, they will likely give you enough time to recuperate and pay them back.
Crowdfunding means turning directly to end-users to get funding for the project, usually via the Internet. This method is very popular among smaller, niche-specific enterprises, but it doesn’t mean that large-scale ventures have nothing to gain from it — some businesses (including app development companies) manage to raise millions of dollars on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms. Pros: you get to build a customer base super early. Cons: failure to deliver the promised product usually leads to court, unless you have exceptionally good PR.
Angel investors are wealthy individuals who use their own money to support business ideas they find promising. They usually invest in budding projects in the seeding stage, when the risks are at their all-time high — hence the name. But here’s the catch: in return, they get a share in the business, or at least a convertible bond. This means that if the idea takes off, they’ll gain a certain level of control over your company and become entitled to a share of your income.
Startup contests at IT events
The tech industry is packed with conferences that can define the future of your app startup. Many of these events host startup contests with formidable prize funds reaching millions of dollars (or euros, depending on the country). Winning a contest like this is a quick way to get a solid influx of money early on — but, of course, there are no guarantees, and the competition is fierce.
Bank loans are your last resort. We recommend using this option only if every other one has failed. Why? Tons of paperwork, strict deadlines, and unfavorable interest rates make it poorly suited for fledgling startups — and don’t forget that failure to return the money on time may lead to severe consequences. It’s much safer to take a loan once you have an established company, but definitely not when you’re just starting out.
Deciding how your product is going to make money is one of the most important steps to take when developing a mobile app . There are multiple monetization strategies available, each of them suitable for specific types of businesses. Let’s look at some of the most popular ones.
The app and its basic functionality are free to use, but users can pay to access more advanced features or nice-to-have bonuses. The most famous examples of this business model are probably games like Clash of Clans or Fortnite — you can play all you want for free, but if you want to progress faster and look cooler, you can buy skins and in-game currency. Very lucrative if applied properly, but is mainly limited to the entertainment segment.
The app and its basic functionality are free to use, but users can pay to access more advanced features or nice-to-have bonuses. The most famous examples of this model are probably games like Clash of Clans or Fortnite — you can play all you want for free, but if you want to progress faster and look cooler, you can buy skins and in-game currency. Very lucrative if applied properly, but is mainly limited to the entertainment segment.
Users can download the app for free, but to enjoy the full range of its features they’ll have to buy a subscription. Usually, this business model includes multiple options : for example, you can subscribe for a month, 6 months, or a year. To increase conversion, developers often offer trial periods that allow customers to fully experience all the advantages of the product before choosing to commit.
This strategy is also known as the freemium business model
Talentum , an app we developed a couple years ago, used a subscription-based revenue model. Users could order food from their favorite chefs without any paywalls, but there was always an option to upgrade their accounts and unlock the full range of features.
Talentum, the app that connects customers with top-notch freelance chefs
A fitness app we developed uses a similar system, but on the vendor side: coaches can buy higher-level subscriptions to take on more customers.
The most popular business model , which is also easy to combine with others. In this model, you use the app to run ads for compensation. There are several formats you can choose from, with some of them being more intrusive (like interstitial ads), and some less (like native or banner ads).
Many developers use this strategy together with a subscription-based model: the free version of the app is monetized using ads, while buying a subscription removes this annoyance and grants other benefits.
Keep in mind that the more intrusive the ad, the less users are going to like it
Very handy for marketplaces of all sorts: if a vendor uses your app to sell their goods, you charge a commission for every sale they make at a fixed percentage. Alternatively, you can opt for charging fixed flat fees, but the first option is more widespread. The more vendors you attract to the platform, the heftier your revenue will be.
What is a business plan for a mobile app?
A mobile app business plan is a set of guidelines used to devise comprehensive app development strategies and manage the budget in a responsible and effective way.
How long does it take to create a business plan for an app?
Creating a mobile app business plan may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month.
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