How To Increase Mobile App Growth Tenfold With One Simple Concept

Launching an app is a major undertaking, but the work certainly doesn’t stop the moment that it hits the market. Your mobile app growth plan is up against hundreds of thousands of competitors. Furthermore, there are 113,000 new apps released on Google Play alone every single month – your competition is constantly increasing.

Grabbing the attention of your customers can seem next to impossible, and even the best mobile app developers have struggled to increase their number of downloads.

This is why today, I want to share a game-changing concept that can increase your app growth 10X.

PreApps has been helping companies and individuals with successful mobile app marketing that delivers measurable results. In fact, we have helped more than 3,250 clients accrue half a billion downloads since we began.

While there is no secret recipe for mobile app success, there is a strategy that we suggest to our clients that has helped thousands of developers to grow their download numbers significantly.

This concept is one that top app business owners use and understand – and something a lot of beginners completely miss or get wrong. If you take this concept and incorporate it correctly into your app business, I have no doubt that it will completely transform your mobile app growth trajectory.

Trust me, I know. This concept transformed my business along with many of the million-dollar apps we’ve worked with.

So, let’s dive on in and start growing your business with this one key concept.

Why Isn’t Your App Business Growing?

Why do mobile apps fail?

Before we dig into this business-changing concept, I wanted to talk about one of the main mistakes that I see most developers making – which directly impacts the number of downloads for their app. That problem is poor time management.

I want to encourage you to stop and think about your business for a minute:

  • Where are you personally spending most of your time each day?
  • What problem are you trying to solve right now?
  • Which projects are eating up the majority of your hours?
  • Are those projects directly earning you money or helping you grow your app? 

The biggest mistake we see app business owners make is they think they can do it all and they try to figure everything out on their own. Now, this totally makes sense; as entrepreneurs, it’s our initial instinct. It’s how we’re wired.

I remember when I launched my first app, Drink TV over 8 years ago. I was trying to do it all. If there was a problem with development, I needed to fix it. If there was a problem with marketing, I needed to figure out how to fix it.

I remember feeling overwhelmed and frustrated all the time with the lack of progress and growth since it was all on me.

But, then a mentor shared something with me called the “Entrepreneurial Bottleneck”. It’s about how the only constraint of any company’s growth and potential is the business owner.

I was the bottleneck.

Think about it for a second, if you are an app business owner, the only constraint on growth is you. Ultimately, you are in charge and you are the decision-maker.

How you spend your time and resources dictates the success of your app.

I know some of you may not want to hear that, but it’s true. 

I believe you can have it all, but you just can’t do it all.

As business owners, what you need to do is use leverage to propel you forward in ways you can’t grow on your own.

If you’re the business owner or CEO and you’re spending your day-to-day working on tactical marketing or development initiatives – you are the bottleneck that’s stopping your growth.

As the business owner or CEO, you need to work on the business, not in the business.

Think about it, do you think Mark Zuckerberg is still writing code? No, he hasn’t written a line of code since the first few weeks of Facebook, when he brought on programmers that were even better than him!

Do you think the CEO of Uber is driving around picking up riders in his free time?  It sounds funny to think about, but I’m sure that many of you are doing just this. Instead, you need to work on the business, not in the business.

It’s natural for an entrepreneur’s brain to automatically think, “How am I going to get this done?”

But when you are spending the majority of the time in your business, you become the bottleneck stopping its growth.

Many owners are emotionally connected with their objective, whether that’s getting 10,000, 100,000, or a million downloads. Sometimes they can be so emotionally connected that they can’t quite see how to actually reach those goals – and they often blame themselves if they fail to attain them.

What most owners don’t get is that achieving the goal is going to require capabilities that are greater than what you currently have. It’s a hard thing to acknowledge because you want to do it all.

Sadly, this is why so many people start to procrastinate or simply give up on their apps because of their lack of traction.

So, how can we solve this?

What’s The Solution?

Here’s the solution: a concept that the top app business owners understand is to not focus all your attention and resources figuring out “how” to fix your app business. 

Instead of “How can I solve this problem with my app” they ask:

  • “Who is the best person to get this done?”
  • “Who can propel my app forward?”
  • “Who can solve this problem for me?

The reality is that you’re not supposed to do it all. Instead, your job is to create the goal and then you have to find the “Who’s”.

To improve mobile app growth, you have to find the right people with the right talents and capabilities to complete the necessary goal.

This concept was made popular by the legendary business coach Dan Sullivan. His philosophy states that focusing on the problem, which is the “How”, leads to frustration and fatigue.

But when you instead consider all of the “Who’s”, available to help you achieve your goal, it increases your energy and keeps you motivated.

Let me tell you a story of the first-ever billion-dollar app. Have you ever heard of Burbn? Most people haven’t.

BurBn - Early Name of Instagram App
BurBn – Early Name of Instagram App. Source: Quora

In 2010, a software engineer named Kevin had the idea for a photo-sharing, check-in app, called Burbn.

Following the current market trend of location check-in apps at the time and the success of apps like Foursquare, Burbn was originally designed as a competing location-based social network. The app lets users check-in at various locations, gather points for spending time with friends, and post pictures of their meet-ups.

At the time, Kevin successfully secured $500,000 in funding from two prestigious venture capital firms: Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

And when the app finally launched, it failed miserably.

The app was too clunky. It was not intuitive enough. It lacked usability and user engagement was incredibly low.

That’s pretty discouraging. He raised $500,000 and the app failed miserably.

But wait, didn’t I say that this was a billion-dollar app?

After this failure, Kevin didn’t ask, “How do I fix this” or “How do I get more downloads”?

Instead, he asked:  “Who can fix this?”

He understood he couldn’t do it all on his own and was limited by his capabilities.

For Kevin, his “who” was Mike Krieger, an experienced software engineer. Mike previously worked at Meebo, a popular instant messaging app at the time. With Mike’s help, they discovered what users liked and disliked about their app in order to improve it.

Through this analysis, they uncovered the #1 feature users enjoyed was sharing and editing pictures. Users particularly loved using the app’s simple, beautiful filters to enhance them.

After reflection and analysis, the app took a different course. The focus of version 2.0 was its photo-sharing capabilities. Burbn was stripped of all its extra features.

It was left with three core items: photo sharing, photo filters, and a like button.

Then, they re-launched the app under a new name: Instagram.

Shortly after, it became the first-ever billion-dollar app when it was acquired by Facebook.

If Kevin was still focusing on the “How” today instead of asking the right question, of “Who”, it’s likely Instagram would not exist today.

As a business owner, your job is to focus on your unique abilities such as the continual innovation of the app, executing on your vision, raising capital to expand, and managing others.

You already have everything you need to achieve your goals in mobile app growth for a bigger and better future. Part of that is the capability to figure out “who” the best people are for every activity that’s beyond your personal capabilities.

Hiring an app developer to help you fix all of the nitty-gritty details to improve the UX or bringing on an app marketing team can help you reach your download number results much faster than you ever could on your own.

As entrepreneurs, we get stuck when we focus on the operation. Instead, identify and find others to solve your problems.

I encourage you to remove yourself from the bottleneck of your business. Because you can’t thrive, when you’re trying to survive.

There are two main points I want you to consider when changing your mindset.

Point #1: Get Out of Your Own Way

You don’t need to do it all on your own and the good news is that you aren’t meant to. You must figure out the “what” to do, and “why” you need to do it, but not the “how”.

Everyone wastes so much time and energy trying to figure out the “how”. As in the strategy or tactic. Once you know the “what” and the “why” you can skip the “how”. The goal as a business owner is to delegate.

On average, it takes a total of nearly 270 hours to develop, test, design, and launch an app. If you are doing that all on your own, it means that you would need to spend over 11 days straight working on your app without taking a single break.

Can you see why it is so important to delegate?

Time spent on Designing, Developing and Testing the Mobile App and the Website
Time spent on Designing, Developing, and Testing the Mobile App and the Website. Source: Infinum

But even if you do hire on helpers, you may soon discover that there aren’t enough “whos” on your team to delegate to. Then, your goal has to be to find and expand the right team members and expand your capabilities.

Some of you might be reading this right now and thinking, “That’s great, but I don’t have the resources to hire a ton of employees right now.”

I get it. I’ve been there when launching my apps. I didn’t want a big team. It’s expensive and daunting to have a huge team.

But the “who” isn’t always an employee. In many cases, it’s far cheaper and more effective for the “who” to be an agency.

By partnering with an agency, you can get 20+ experts working with you instead of a full-time employee at a fraction of the cost.

This is where we come in. PreApps can connect you to a team of experts to help with marketing  – and if you want us to manage it for you, you can apply to speak with one of our App Growth Specialists on a free strategy call to see how we can help.

Point #2: Work With The Best

Point #2 is All About Hiring an A-Team

Don’t settle – surround yourself only with A-Team players. So many of the app business owners that I talk to are working with amateurs. And it’s understandable – many app startups don’t have a lot of money to work with, so they will opt to work with the cheapest developers they can find.

The thing to understand here is that your mobile app growth will only be as successful as the team and experts you surround yourself with. Don’t just work with amateurs with limited experience because it’s easier or cheaper. This could jeopardize the success of your app.

In order to avoid the mistake of getting burned by app developers, you need to hire the experts. Hire the best people in the field you can find. They’re out there, you just need to location them. Once you have them, have them solve the problems for you. Don’t just delegate, actually have them own the problem.

I have found that entrepreneurs typically like to micro-manage. What’s important is to actually give others ownership of the problem for them to solve it, and let them do their work.

When Kevin, the co-founder, and CEO of Instagram had a problem with the app’s engagement he did not say, “how do I fix this?”. He said “who” can fix our user engagement. Who can solve this for me?

His “who” turned out to be Aza Raskin. What Raskin did was invent the endless scroll feature on Instagram. He made the simple edit of removing the button that you had to click to view more in your feed.

Back in the day, after a few scrolls in the feed, it would stop and you would have to click a button to view more.

We take it for granted now because it has become ubiquitous across all social platforms. Everything now has the infinite scroll feature.

As a result of this new feature, Instagram increased its engagement significantly.

Infinite Scrolling Feature in the Instagram App
Infinite Scrolling Feature in the Instagram App. Source: Medium

Mobile app success is dependent on understanding the main purpose and goal of your app and knowing why it’s important. Understanding this will help you find the best “Who’s” for the “How’s” of the goal. And then those “Who’s” can take it from there.

Your new automatic response to every new goal should be, “Who’s the best person to do this for me?”

And every goal will call for a particular number of “Who’s” that can do the necessary number of “How’s”.

Key Takeaways

  • One of the biggest mistakes that slow down mobile app growth is trying to do everything on your own.
  • Putting too much on your plate when developing, launching, and marketing your app can backfire – no one is an expert on everything.
  • The biggest constraint of any company’s growth and potential is the business owner.
  • The most successful app owners ask themselves “who can solve this problem” rather than “how can I solve this problem”
  • Finding the right “Who’s” can make all the difference in the growth potential of your app.
  • Get out of your own way by acknowledging your weaknesses and find someone who is better at it than you.
  • Work only with the best; there is no room to compromise when it comes to the success of your app.

Your Next Steps

When you’re of the mindset that you can achieve anything as long as you enroll the right people to help you do it, it lifts a huge mental burden off of your shoulders.

The market opportunity is there and it’s up to you to set the pace.

It comes down to clearing obstacles and getting the resources needed to grow and scale.

I believe you can achieve anything as long – as you enroll the right people to help you do it.

Here’s what I want you to do: the next time you’re spending your precious time and energy thinking about how you can do or fix something, I encourage you to instead think who can solve this for you.

Take a second and step away from being the bottleneck of your app and consider the “Who’s”, that will move you towards the goals that you envision.

Our team at PreApps has helped thousands of other app owners like you reach their goals by helping them do what they could not do on their own. We have a team of experts who can help you with all types of app-related services – you simply need to reach out and we will even offer you a free analysis to get you started.

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Sean Casto
Posted By

Sean Casto

I am the founder and CEO of PreApps.com, the leading mobile marketing and discovery platform. I have been a guest speaker at industry conventions for Microsoft and Samsung and lectured at Universities such as Northeastern and Harvard. I have acquired a deep understanding of the struggles developers face and a passion to serve the growing mobile app community.

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