Struck by a flash of brilliance about how a new piece of software could help solve a major pain point in your industry?
Or, are you simply looking for a digital tool that you can customize to help streamline your team’s day-to-day workflow?
Whichever the scenario, the same fact is probably standing in your way — you can’t build it yourself.
For those who don’t have the time or desire to learn how to build out an app themselves, there are people out there who specialize in this very thing.
Specifically, we’re talking about app-building professionals who excel at helping business folks translate their ideas into lightweight mobile or web applications that are affordable, scalable, and easy to maintain.
Why should you start with a simple app, even if your goals are substantial, and who can you work with to help you get there?
We’ve got answers to both of these questions in this article.
What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
First, let’s put some parameters around that “lightweight app” concept that we just introduced.
In the tech world, a stripped-back, first draft of an app is known as a minimum viable product (MVP).
With an MVP, the core functionality of the app is all there, but the fancy features and design elements are withheld for future versions.
Why? Because the point of creating an MVP is to test your idea as quickly and affordably as possible on your ideal audience.
With an MVP version of an app, you can validate that your audience likes the core idea, ask them for feedback on which additional features they’d like to see, and therefore allocate your budget wisely as you build out each new version of the app.
Why You Should Start With an MVP When Building a Mobile App
Considering the popularity of phrases like “anything worth doing is worth doing right” — is releasing a rough draft of your business app really the best approach to take? In most cases, yes, it truly is. Here are the main reasons why.
Make Sure You Have a User Base
Ever wonder why technology powerhouse IBM isn’t in the smartphone game?
Well, they almost were.
In the early 1990s, IBM released IBM Simon, a handheld, touchscreen PDA (personal digital assistant) — the precursor to today’s smartphones.
Unfortunately, only 50,000 units were sold before the device went out of production. It would seem the product was ahead of its time by more than a decade, considering the first iPhone hit the scene in 2007. In the early ‘90s, there just wasn't a market fit for a product like this yet. It was released into a world that wasn’t ready for it, and thus it flopped.
To avoid a similar scenario with your own software idea, test it on the market first with a fast, cheap, and simplified solution.
Get Real User Feedback From Your Audience
How do you know the app you’re spending your time and money creating will appeal to your target audience, solve an issue for them and help you create efficiency, revenue, or both?
To be honest, there’s really no better way to find out than to ask.
Instead of taking months to perfect a full-fledged version of your app, a more logical and affordable methodology is to get an early version of it in front of your core audience. Let them tell you what they think of the idea and what functionality they do and don’t want to see in the future.
Spend Your Budget Only on the Features You Need
Powered by the feedback collected from your target users, you’ll be able to build a feature roadmap and develop an accurate budget that accounts for precisely the capabilities your audience desires.
Spend your budget wisely and make your app better, not bloated, with each iteration when you know what features your users want to see.
Meet Glide Expert and Low-Code MVP App Development Pro: LowCode Agency
Now that you know what an MVP looks like and why building one can be invaluable to creating a successful application, we want to introduce you to an agency that specializes in creating MVP projects using a platform that’s delightful for users and scalable no matter how your goals grow.
LowCode Agency, founded and run by Jesus Vargas, is one of the largest Glide Expert agencies that uses Glide’s no-code software development platform. LowCode specializes in creating MVPs for business professionals and has built more than 230 apps for small and medium businesses all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.
While LowCode is industry agnostic, they typically work with two types of clients:
1. Entrepreneurs and startups who want to build their first MVP for validation of an idea, to get their first customers, and start making money. LowCode Agency helps these types of clients strategize, define user personas, and then build an app that exceeds their and their clients’ expectations.
2. Medium-sized businesses that are looking to streamline their operations. For these clients, LowCode usually builds apps and automates processes that make teams more productive.
What makes LowCode a standout when it comes to the world of no-code and low-code custom app development and MVPs?
Jesus tells us it’s all in the thoughtful process they’ve built.
“The main highlight of working with LowCode Agency is that we are very process oriented,” Jesus said. “When we get a client that values that, we have a great relationship and we can build really cool, functional apps with them.”
“Clients really like that our process is very clean and very efficient,” Jesus adds. “They always know what they have to do and what we are supposed to be doing throughout the entire project. It's very streamlined.”
Some of LowCode Agency’s favorite apps that they’ve built that are currently live include Conscience Cart, Napps, and Level Insights. View all of LowCode Agency’s work in their portfolio and check out plenty more clients and reviews on their testimonials page.
LowCode’s Super Power — Translating Needs Into MVPs
While they’re highly capable technically, LowCode’s development team also strives to turn client needs into beautiful, modern, easy-to-use solutions that evolve and grow as companies do.
Something that we do that we are very good at is understanding a non-technical founder's needs and translating them into an app,” Jesus said. “We work with people like doctors and nurses and lawyers and other non-technical people. They usually have great ideas because they know their industry and their niche so well, but they might not know how to express that in technical terms.”
“I think we're very good at translating those ideas and converting them into something technical that users still enjoy when they're using the app,” Jesus said. “Since almost anyone can create apps thanks to no-code tools, it’s easy for entrepreneurs to build something that doesn’t work quite right. We make sure to build apps that are easy to use and enjoyable for the end user, too.”
How LowCode Puts Non-Technical Clients at Ease
From working with lots of entrepreneurs in the process of minimal viable product development, LowCode has become skilled at asking lots of questions that uncover immediate needs as well as the big picture.
For example, by asking if the client wants an internal app that will help run their business, LowCode can learn if they should recommend integrating the app with their CRM or project management tool. If their questions uncover that a client wants a consumer-facing app, they will probably pull in their designer and copywriting pros to create a unique user experience that converts users.
Jesus gave us an example of what it looks like to work with a business professional who thinks an app is right for them but has a non-technical understanding of how apps and the development process work.
“We help them figure out how to get their user to the end goal that they have in mind,” Jesus describes. “So if the end goal as a doctor, for example, is to make scheduling simple at their healthcare clinic, we walk through how to get there — what the process should look like for users, how users behave today, and where we can improve that behavior through app workflows.”
The 4-Week MVP Development Process with LowCode Agency
Jesus walked us through what the typical MVP development process looks like using Glide.
“First, we usually have a scoping call that’s 20 to 40 minutes long where we get to know what our client has in mind and their budget,” Jesus said. “Then, based on that, we develop the scope of the project and that becomes a proposal. If the client agrees to that, we then map every single user journey into low-fidelity wireframes.”
“We do this to make sure we account for different users,” Jesus explains. “First we have the client's journey, then we may have an admin, and we might also have a vendor that needs to access the app. We map every single step in the process of every user flow to make sure that we're not missing anything, and that the build out is streamlined. After that has been approved by the client, we move on to development — usually building in a couple weeks. By the end of the third or fourth week, the MVP app's ready to be delivered and launched.”
“Usually at the end we have a handoff call with the client where I go through not only how Glide works but how their app is built in Glide,” Jesus said. “We talk about how the custom actions are configured and the rest of the setup. We also deliver an architectural layout of how the app works, so that later on when they want to add a feature or change something, they can easily find it in the architecture, go into the Glide builder, and change it.”
What Kind of Input Does This Process Require from the Client?
In order for the above process to go smoothly and result in a successful MVP, the LowCode team does ask clients for one important thing — engagement.
“The first week, we like clients to be super engaged,” Jesus said. “We want to have one or more calls to make sure that everything is mapped out and everything will work the way they expect. We do this because we use this information to understand the project scope and convert that into a wireframe. And once the wireframe is accepted by the client, we ideally don’t want any changes because we want to build what the client expects, on schedule.”“After the wireframe is approved, it goes into ‘black-box’ stage for a week or two while we build the app,” Jesus continues. “When we deliver the app it’s ready to go. We give them access then our project manager sets up a call with them. We also have a portal where clients can log any requests for minor changes, like updating wording, moving pictures around, etc. When those tasks are done, usually in a few hours or a day or two, we officially hand off the app.”
LowCode Agency’s Pricing Structure for MVP Apps
Jesus provides customized pricing for every MVP project based on the amount of development hours it will require, but he gave us an idea of what a client might pay based on the features they’re looking for in their app.
“In the $3,500 to $4,500 range, clients will receive a simple Glide app with no integrations and a limited number of screens,” Jesus explains.
“For $4,500 to $6,500, we can build a more robust app with features like notifications and integrations,” Jesus said. “We can have your app send texts or emails when a certain trigger happens. For example, when a new user creates an account, we can have your app add their email address to your Mailchimp account. At this level, we can do minor third-party integrations like that.”
“From $6,500 to $12,000 we’re looking at very custom solutions, usually for larger businesses that have very clear needs,” Jesus told us. “These larger projects don’t often fall into the MVP category, and we don’t do a lot of them.”
The development cost of apps from LowCode Agency and the majority of other Glide Experts only cost one-tenth as much as apps from a traditional code-from-scratch agency! In addition, they often only take one-tenth as long to build — enabling you to get your app up and running, and start making money or improving company efficiency, faster than ever.
Find Your Glide Expert and Get Your MVP App Development Underway Today
Got great inspiration for a business app, but not the resources to bring it to life? With Glide, you can.
Or, if you’re experienced in technology and think you might have what it takes to help clients turn their ideas into cutting-edge Glide apps, learn how to become an expert and join our roster!
Whether you’re a business professional with a great idea or the technology expert helping them build the software that will bring it to fruition, we can’t wait to see how you Glide.