In this ongoing blog series, we’re here to ask the important questions. What’s the meaning life? Is there life on other planets? What makes a great mobile app business plan? For the sake of time, we’ll stick with the last one. We’ve already discussed the importance of knowing your audience. You have to know who’s going to love you, but every great love story needs a villain. That’s why this week it’s about the competition.

Before your mobile app enters the marketplace, you need to know what you’re up against. You need to know what’s working and what isn’t. You can follow in the footsteps of the greats, tweaking your own idea and adding features that can make it even greater.

There’s no room for jealousy. If there’s a need for your app, it’ll find its users. There’s also no room for stubbornness. You can’t be so attached to your original idea that you’re afraid to let it evolve.

Most apps are inspired by already existing ideas, but they take that idea in another, better direction.  Think of MySpace and Facebook. What at first seemed like a knockoff, quickly knocked out the competition. It’s all about adding innovation.

Now keep in mind, emulation is not a lack of innovation. Knowing your competition will allow you to make the changes that will set it apart. So what you do is look at the competition and ask yourself: Why are people buying this thing? What need did it fill? What made it so special? But more importantly, what could make it even more special?

Audience is still critical here as well. Who is your competition’s audience and how can you win them over? Maybe you have a similar app but can find a way to tweak it to market it toward adults instead of kids. That small change in an existing app could be enough to line your pockets.

Of course, you have to be careful here. Part of checking out the competition is also out finding if the market is already oversaturated with similar products. In a previous post, we discussed this exact scenario happening to a client who brought their idea to Rootstrap. Shotgun was a great idea, a ride-sharing service app, carpooling at the push of a button. Unfortunately for that Product Owner, Uber and Lyft were on the rise and there was little chance that his new app would take enough of the market to make it profitable. You can get that full story at “The Story of Shotgun: How Rootstrap Kept a Ride-Sharing App From Wasting Money on a Dead-End Road.”

So remember, know thine enemy, use his weaknesses against him, but better yet use his strengths to your advantage. Now go forth and develop!

Photo Credit:

CEO and Co-founder of Neon Roots

Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Neon Roots, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.