How to avoid mistakes building your first app

When it comes to app development, you might not know where to start.  

What kind of company do you need to look for?  

How do you begin the process?  

What pitfalls do you need to avoid?

Far too often we hear stories of companies who have built their first app using an agency, only to find that it isn’t right for their business, it doesn’t have the capacity to grow with them and it took forever to build, with costs getting out of control.

The danger of feeling “locked in” to a spiral of endlessly spending money to get the technology you need, can apply to getting a new website, a new CRM system and indeed, a new app.

It’s easier than you may think to fall into this trap; without a clearly defined goal, measurement of success and a deadline, the costs can easily escalate when going down a traditional agency route, if you’re not careful.

“I spent £200k building my first app and it all went wrong”

This cost is far, far from anything we would recommend when considering your first app. You'll likely have your own budget in mind, and we will always be honest with our suggestions and costings.

In some cases, we don’t even recommend an app, which seems counterintuitive for an app building company, but our key interest is finding the “right” solution for our clients, not us.

One of the main benefits of using an independent app building agency like Cariboo Digital, over a larger agency, is the costs are entirely transparent. We work with our clients to set out expectations and costs, no-one likes a nasty surprise in the middle of a build project!

Time is of the essence

If you’ve come to identify a problem area in your business that you think an app might resolve, the last thing you’re going to want is to find yourselves 6-12 months later, with no progress.  

App development, like any technology, can take time, and it will if the feedback and investment in time is lacking from either you, the client, or your provider. Again, by setting benchmarks and expectations we can avoid delays, frustration and upset.  

We work with our clients, once the solution has been considered, to set out a timeframe of approximately 4-6 weeks. For instance, Phase 1 might take one week, Phase 2 might take two to three weeks and Phase 3 could take two weeks. Our aim is to deliver something of value, solving a problem within 30 business days, though many products will require further development beyond that to become a solution that really drives the business. Each of these phases and development stages can have a timeframe applied and have a transparent cost involved, which means you only pay for what you’re committed to, with no hidden costs.

Through this process we’re able to offer speed to market, thanks to our close working relationship with our clients and their users. The quicker we can get feedback, the quicker we can progress, and by using low code platforms we can cut out a high degree of the development time.  

Flexible approach

When the process of identifying the problem to discover a solution begins, flexibility is essential. We require our clients to be open-minded to the solution we propose, but we all need to be flexible should an idea crop up, we certainly don’t want to be fixed on a journey when we’re just at the start.  

It’s about building the right thing, finding the right opportunities. A fixed approach simply won’t yield the same level of success in our experience as a flexible one, having worked with larger agencies.


Ideas can come from the strangest of places, only by collaborating and communicating can we ensure that you get the most effective and efficient app for your business.  

We work closely with our clients, it’s something we have found to be crucial in the key to success. The process is about exploring opportunities to discover a solution to the problem at hand.  

The great thing about this way of working, is that whether you’re a one-man band, or multi-branch business, you don’t need to figure out the problem, or a solution, alone. If you’ve sought expert help to build an app, chances are you don’t have this expertise in-house, which means we need to share ideas rather than requiring you to create a brief on a subject that does not come naturally to you.

Value the opportunity

You can build an app cheap, or fast, but that doesn’t necessarily achieve what you need. Yes, at Cariboo, our business proposition is inexpensive, but we’re moving at a pace that allows you to deliver something useful, in a timeframe that works.

If you’re thinking a problem in your business could be solved by an app, do get in touch, we’d be happy to have an introductory call to simply discuss the options which might be available.

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