Advancements in mobile technology have "appreneurs" -- or application entrepreneurs -- rushing to put games, productivity tools and other useful products on the virtual shelves of app stores. Apple's 2013 app sales hit $10 billion -- more than half that amount potentially spent with Google Play as well, based on market projections -- making app development opportunities seem like a modern-day gold rush. If you're ready to take your piece of the pie with an app idea of your own, there are a few ways to increase its profit potential.
Sell the Idea
The most direct and least demanding money-making option in your bag is simply selling the idea at a flat fee. In many cases, the sale relinquishes your ownership of the final app, but it also means you won't need the computer programming experience, time or money to develop it. Sites like SellAnApp or Applits are specifically geared toward app development, but other options -- like Sellidea.com -- welcome any type of innovative product pitch. Essentially, you'll post a working title and brief description of the idea, then sit back and wait for investors to buy it.
Find an Investor
If you want see the idea through to production -- and maintain full control of the app and its revenue -- you'll need startup money. Pitch an investment offer to friends and family or post it to a site that pairs inventors with venture capitalists, such as Go4Funding, Gust or MicroVentures. Conduct research so you have a good grasp on your product, expected development costs, the app's marketability and your potential competition. You'll also need to explain how you'll generate income -- such as from app store payments or monthly subscriptions. Above all, hone your pitch before even attempting to contact potential investors.
When a large company requires a developer's assistance for app creation, it typically extends a revenue-sharing offer. This means the developer receives a percentage of the app's profits in exchange for discounted or altogether eliminated development fees. A developer may consider a similar joint venture if your app idea is promising. Keep in mind, however, that this type of financial agreement imposes a majority of the risk on the developer, who spends long hours creating code with no guarantees that it will one day pay off. Don't be discouraged if your offer is refused.
Do It Yourself
Like most costly undertakings, do-it-yourself app development will save you money now so you make more later. In some cases, you don't even need programming experience. DIY app creation saves the expense of a professional developer's fees and eliminates any delays from sharing the developer -- and the developer's time -- with other clients and projects. With an app builder, such as Infinite Monkey, App Makr or Game Salad, you have access to widgets and other simple tools that help you implement a variety of features -- including multimedia newsfeeds, in-app purchases, interactive gaming, social sharing and push notifications.
Based in Tampa, Fla., Danielle Fernandez been writing, editing and illustrating all things technology, lifestyle and education since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Working Mother magazine, and a variety of technical publications, including BICSI's "Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual." Fernandez holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of South Florida.