Both large enterprises and small businesses are recognising the need for a mobile app. Applications are now being incorporated within business strategies, making their companies far more accessible to their consumers.

However, there are a number of tough questions that must be answered prior to a business developing and deploying a mobile app. Here are five things you should ask yourself before getting started…

1. Do we have a long-term strategy?

There is a growing demand for companies to differentiate through engaging with their clients on a number of different platforms. This is causing businesses to contemplate an app development program to extend its reach to current and potential customers.

The first thing you must consider is whether your business is ready to invest the time, money and energy needed to develop a long-term mobile strategy and application.

Before developing any application, you must consider not only the initial costs, but what it will take to maintain it over time. Strategic app planning can be the difference between a successful app and a single-release failure.

2. Is there a market for our mobile app?

If you’re building an app which will be deployed in a market that already exists, then it can be seen as a positive. You may face strong competition, however, it means you’ve got idea validation taken care of already.

The next step would be ensuring your app stands out, giving users a reason to download it instead of your competitors’ apps.

If you’re on the other side of the coin and are developing a mobile app in uncharted territory, you may have a tough time validating the need for the product.

It doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a need for the app, but it will take more time to build out use cases and identify your buyer persona.

3. What do our users want?

The most successful mobile apps are those that are very focused on helping users solve a specific problem they face. Your app should be no different. Ask yourself what kinds of problems you want to solve for your users and build your app to solve that problem.

Many mobile apps have failed because they have attempted to do too many things. A good user experience (UX) process will help you identify the core needs of your mobile app and make certain that those needs are addressed when the app is built.

4. Which device should we develop for?

According to Ericsson Mobility Report, in 2016 there were over 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide and in addition, global tablet ownership would reach 905 million by 2017.

Deciding which device to develop for completely depends on your business and your users. It’s key to find out which platform they typically use. If the majority of your customers access goods via Android devices, then you should certainly focus much of your attention on this particular platform.

However, recent data shows that Apple users are more likely to spend more than Android users. Tablet use also boasts more revenue than smartphones, which is something else you must take into consideration.

5. Ho will we monetise the mobile app?

Less than one percent of apps are profitable on the app store. Which means, 99 percent of apps are just not making enough money for their founders.

If it’s an enterprise application, solving internal problems and improving employee productivity, then there is still a money angle and a Return on Investment business case.

If it’s designed to increase revenue for the business, how is it going to do that? You must look at all angles, from in-app purchases to a subscription model.

Will there be in app advertising to monetise traffic through the app? Knowing this and building the app around the business goal will keep the client focused.