How to setup and grow a mobile business with little money

By | December 26, 2012

Droid RAZR M The mobile and TV software industry is booming right now. With all of the new TV and mobile devices entering the market in the last few years, there has been a shortage of cool, interesting and useful apps across the many devices that are available. Currently the top two platforms, Android and iOS have the most applications developed for them. AppBrain shows that number of available Android applications at around 550,000 while 148apps.biz shows the number of iOS apps available at around 700,000. With the number of active websites sitting at near a billion according to Business Insider you can see there is still an opportunity to get in and succeed in the mobile market.

Getting started with Mobile development

This post will give you a high level overview of how to setup and grow a mobile business with very little money. I do plan to dive deeper into each section of this article eventually so be sure to bookmark and check back for future updates.

Establishing your Mobile Application Development Business core

Choose a company name

This is the hardest and most important decision you will need to make when you get started. Especially if you are not sure what niche you will serve in the mobile market since that decision influences everything. Do your best to decide on a name that reflects what your company will do and/or stand for.

Buy your domain and setup your website

Once the decision is made on what your company name will be, you should purchase the domain name of your company. This will allow you to setup a website to helping the promotion of your mobile apps through social media. I typically recommended going through Host Gator since their prices are reasonable and service reliable.

Establish your business entity

If you are serious about growing your business, you should establish it with the proper structure in the beginning. I setup mine as an LLC but you should research and/or speak to an tax/legal advisor before setting yours up. Also in most cases you will need to setup a DBA (Doing Business As) name registration with your local county.

Get an EIN number

In order to separate the expenses and build business credit, you can setup a separate EIN number for your business. This is like a separate social security number tied directly to your business that you can establish over time. You will also use this number when you sign up for the various app stores so they can send your end of year 1099 forms. Again, this is something you should talk over with your legal or tax counsel first. If you decide to get one, just head over to the IRS website to apply for an EIN number.

Open a bank account and a PayPal account

In order to receive the money you earn from the business, you need to setup both a bank account and a Paypal account.

Join BizSpark program by Microsoft

When you are first starting out, one of the most expensive aspects of your business is software and hardware used for development. The Microsoft BizSpark program offers free Microsoft software and technical assistance for business startups for the first 2 years. There may be a small cost of under one hundred dollars to sign up but it is well worth it. You will have access to licenses for all of the Microsoft software and help as you need it.

Choose your platform and market to develop apps for

Since this is an article about the low cost way of getting started, I’m not going to recommend that you run out and buy the latest device to get started. In reality unless you have not updated your mobile phone for the past two years, you should start with developing apps for that device. Another thing that matters is the type of languages you are comfortable developing in. Here is a breakdown of the information you need to get started if you have specific devices or mobile carriers.

iPhone or iPad development

There is only one place to go in order to become an iOS developer. Just head over to the Apple developer center and sign up for the right to distribute iOS apps. This is definitely the most expensive path to becoming a mobile developer since the cost of a Mac Book Pro and iPhone/iPad can be pretty steep. However if you already have an iPhone or iPad device, you can try to get started with a Mac Mini. However with the limited RAM be warned that the speed will be slower and the development time longer.

Android mobile and table device development

Android development is the cheapest route to get started since most people already have a PC they have access too. It you already have a Android device that is great. If you don’t, you can just pick up a Galaxy Tab 2, a Nook HD or an Kindle Fire HD for only $199 and get started for those markets. Here are the links to get started as a developer in the various markets:

Google Play – Primary Android Market supported by multiple devices.

Amazon – Amazon kindle Fire marketplace. Definitely recommended since people actually will pay for apps here versus other Android markets.

Nook – Barnes and Noble marketplace for the Nook (HD/HD+) devices.

Blackberry – Blackberry market that now supports Android on the Playbook and BB10 devices.

Samsung – Samsung marketplace for the Galaxy Tab and other Samsung mobile phone devices

Assets and resources

In order to build a great app, you will need photos, audio and video assets. Remember assets need to be royalty free and/or you may need a license for electronic resale distribution. Especially if the assets are to the core of your application value. Here are a few links to places where you can get assets cheaply to use in your applications:

Canstockphoto – Great resource for image and video assets since you can purchase extended licenses at a very reasonable price. Extended resale licenses allow you to package these assets for resale in the various markets as part of your application.

Sounddogs – Looking for audio assets to use in your apps? get them from Sounddogs!

Not a hardcore developer? This section is for you!

If your more into developing games for the devices and you are not trying to become a hardcore developer, then here are a couple of options for you:

GameSalad – This is definitely the place to start if you are not a developer and you want to create games. The interface is build for non developers and is more drag and drop and layout based. Also there are tons of tutorials and examples on how to build apps on YouTube, etc that will help you be a game up quickly. An example of this is my Pumpkin Samurai app.

Corona SDK – Corona s definitely not drag and drop. however it is definitely a cool tool for building mobile games even if you are not a hardcore developer. Lua is the framework used in this tool so there again is a ton of help on the Internet for building your games and/or applications.

So, what are you waiting for?

Hopefully this post was helpful for you so you can get started today. Please leave a comment if you have any questions. Happy coding!! :)