There’s an app for that, so the saying goes, but every now and then, no matter how hard you search, you find the perfect app for your needs simply isn’t available. In such circumstances you can either have a quiet word in the ear of your favorite developer or, better still, take matters into your own hands. Whether you choose to write the code yourself or hire a third-party developer, there are several steps you’ll need to take before you can bring your idea to fruition.

Find a problem

The best apps, like the best inventions, are those that solve problems. Whether you want to be able to check currency exchange rates, check the weather in another country or simply work on your zombie hunting skills, all the best apps exist to make life easier. In many cases, the same information can be found on a dedicated website, but the benefit comes in the ease of use and restricted functionality of an app that provides the functionality you need without any unwanted additional information.

If you want to come up with an idea for an app of your own, the first step is identifying the problem you want to solve. Try not to settle on one single idea – come up with a list of options so you can compare them and see which ones stand out.

Check the competition

Once you’ve settled on a shortlist of potential ideas, the next step is to check out the competition. Bear in mind that some apps are only available on one particular platform so check them all before you proceed. The market for mobile apps shows no sign of slowing down – the Apple app store is expected to be home to around 5 million products by 2020 – so you will have a better chance of succeeding if you look to develop something in a field where there is little or no competition.

You can also make yourself stand out by using a strong brand. Using a free logo maker you can explore a range of design options and experiment with different colors and fonts within those options. You’ll also be able to share your ideas with others and collect feedback before you have to commit to a final design.

Budget for updates

Regular updates to mobile operating systems means it likely you will be forced to update your app a couple of times a year, whether you want to or not. In addition to these functional updates, you may also want to add new features and other extras to your app, either based on customer feedback or developments within competing products. Doing so will not only help to keep your product competitive but will also show your customers that you care about their long-term satisfaction, making them far more likely to try out other products you introduce.

Choose a financial strategy

You can either make your app free and hope to have enough downloads to be able to make money from advertising, or you can charge a fixed fee for the product, or you can combine the two. Research shows that the freemium model in which an app is downloaded for free but users have the option of purchasing upgrades, is currently seen as the best option for developers.