Chapter 8

Getting on the HOV Lane

(Growth Strategies)

“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”

– Thomas Henry Huxley

So you’ve launched your first app and enjoyed moderate success. Or, you’ve created a few apps and are now looking to take your business to the next level.

How do you grow? How do you go from a one-man band to a full-fledged development studio?

By avoiding the traffic altogether.

By getting on the HOV lane.

Empty HOV Lane

Here, I define “traffic” as anything that slows down the app development process or the growth of your business. The “HOV lane” is whatever will help you get past the traffic easier or faster.

Add New Features

Why start all over again with a new app when you can grow (improve) an existing successful app? If your overall strategy is to create a flagship app, you must continuously improve and implement features to make your app the best on the market. For this to work, you absolutely have to be the best. As the business grows, your ongoing development costs will be a smaller fraction of your total expenses as your focus shifts to reaching and acquiring new users.

Extend Your Product Lines

If your overall strategy is to create a suite of apps, then the way to grow is to always have something in the development pipeline. The more quality apps you have, the more downloads you’ll have generating revenue. Having multiple apps allows you to spread the cost of doing business and risk among several apps.

Another benefit of having multiple apps is the ability to leverage your existing user base for cross-promotions. Since there’s less friction in promoting to an existing customer, extending your app offerings can be a great way to grow.

Take Over Ownership of an Existing App

Don’t want to spend months of development to create an app from scratch? Then purchase an existing one!

We’re talking about taking over the ownership of someone else’s app (along with the source code, its user base, and future revenue stream). The app stores are full of good apps that developers are not supporting anymore because the revenue has dried up and they’ve moved on to another app. Or, they’ve given up on a promising app that never went anywhere and the app is now dying a slow death in the app store.

What if all it takes to revive the dying app is another motivated developer (i.e., you) who can give it the attention it needs? This would be a great opportunity for you to approach that developer directly and see if they’re willing to let go of (sell you) an app that’s just languishing in the market anyway. If you’re not comfortable contacting the developer directly, there are even services out there now like Apptopia that broker/facilitate the sale of mobile apps.

Strategic Acquisition of a Rival Business

If you’re thinking bigger, the next level is to acquire an existing app development business.

Sometimes the best way to get rid of competition and grow at the same time is to buy them out. Of course, you’ve got to have the funds for this. And this may be out of reach for someone just starting out, but it’s still important to understand this as a possibility not just for you as a buyer (once you do have the funds), but for you as a seller.

What do I mean by that?

Well, I’m a firm believer in creating a company that’s built to sell. Even though your apps are your babies and you can’t imagine ever letting them go right now, you need to have an exit strategy ready in case life throws you an unexpected curve ball.

So, if you’ve developed a sound strategy for your business and have set up a system where the business can thrive without you, you will look very attractive to potential buyers who do have the funds to buy you out.


Partnership or Joint Venture

Creating a mutually beneficial partnership can put you on the fast track to growth. By combining your talents and resources with that of another developer or investor, you can accomplish more in less time. Just make sure that you communicate clear goals and strategies for the company and share a common vision for the business.

← Go to Chapter 7: Getting the Michelin Stars (Strategies for Rising to the Top)

→ Go to Chapter 9: Think Different. Think You

Return to beginning of book.