Writing a business plan for a mobile app publisher can be an intimidating task, especially for those just starting.
This in-depth guide is designed to help entrepreneurs like you understand how to create a comprehensive business plan so that you can approach the exercise with method and confidence.
We'll cover: why writing a mobile app publisher business plan is so important - both when starting up, and when running and growing the business - what information you need to include in your plan, how it should be structured, and what tools you can use to get the job done efficiently.
Let's get started!
Why write a business plan for a mobile app publisher?
Having a clear understanding of why you want to write a business plan for your mobile app publisher will make it simpler for you to grasp the rationale behind its structure and content. So before delving into the plan's actual details, let's take a moment to remind ourselves of the primary reasons why you'd want to create a mobile app publisher business plan.
To have a clear roadmap to grow the business
Small businesses rarely experience a constant and predictable environment. Economic cycles go up and down, while the business landscape is mutating constantly with new regulations, technologies, competitors, and consumer behaviours emerging when we least expect it.
In this dynamic context, it's essential to have a clear roadmap for your mobile app publisher. Otherwise, you are navigating in the dark which is dangerous given that - as a business owner - your capital is at risk.
That's why crafting a well-thought-out business plan is crucial to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of your venture.
To create an effective business plan, you'll need to take a step-by-step approach. First, you'll have to assess your current position (if you're already in business), and then identify where you'd like your mobile app publisher to be in the next three to five years.
Once you have a clear destination for your mobile app publisher, you'll focus on three key areas:
- Resources: you'll determine the human, equipment, and capital resources needed to reach your goals successfully.
- Speed: you'll establish the optimal pace at which your business needs to grow if it is to meet its objectives within the desired timeframe.
- Risks: you'll identify and address potential risks you might encounter along the way.
By going through this process regularly, you'll be able to make informed decisions about resource allocation, paving the way for the long-term success of your business.
To maintain visibility on future cash flows
Businesses can go for years without making a profit, but they go bust as soon as they run out of cash. That's why "cash is king", and maintaining visibility on your mobile app publisher's future cash flows is critical.
How do I do that? That's simple: you need an up-to-date financial forecast.
The good news is that your mobile app publisher business plan already contains a financial forecast (more on that later in this guide), so all you have to do is to keep it up-to-date.
To do this, you need to regularly compare the actual financial performance of your business to what was planned in your financial forecast, and adjust the forecast based on the current trajectory of your business.
Monitoring your mobile app publisher's financial health will enable you to identify potential financial problems (such as an unexpected cash shortfall) early and to put in place corrective measures. It will also allow you to detect and capitalize on potential growth opportunities (higher demand from a given segment of customers for example).
To secure financing
Whether you are a startup or an existing business, writing a detailed mobile app publisher business plan is essential when seeking financing from banks or investors.
This makes sense given what we've just seen: financiers want to ensure you have a clear roadmap and visibility on your future cash flows.
Banks will use the information included in the plan to assess your borrowing capacity (how much debt your business can support) and your ability to repay the loan before deciding whether they will extend credit to your business and on what terms.
Similarly, investors will review your plan carefully to assess if their investment can generate an attractive return on investment.
To do so, they will be looking for evidence that your mobile app publisher has the potential for healthy growth, profitability, and cash flow generation over time.
Now that you understand why it is important to create a business plan for a mobile app publisher, let's take a look at what information is needed to create one.
Information needed to create a business plan for a mobile app publisher
You need the right data in order to project sales, investments and costs accurately in the financial forecast of your mobile app publisher business plan.
Below, we'll cover three key pieces of information you should gather before drafting your business plan.
Carrying out market research for a mobile app publisher
Before you begin writing your business plan for a mobile app publisher, conducting market research is a critical step in ensuring precise and realistic financial projections.
Market research grants you valuable insights into your target customer base, competitors, pricing strategies, and other crucial factors that can impact the success of your business.
In the course of this research, you may stumble upon trends that could impact your mobile app publisher.
You could discover that customers may be more likely to purchase mobile apps from certain genres than others, such as strategy or puzzle games. Additionally, customers might be more likely to purchase mobile apps with certain features, such as in-app purchases or social media integration.
Such market trends play a pivotal role in revenue forecasting, as they provide essential data regarding potential customers' spending habits and preferences.
By integrating these findings into your financial projections, you can provide investors with more accurate information, enabling them to make well-informed decisions about investing in your mobile app publisher.
Developing the sales and marketing plan for a mobile app publisher
Budgeting sales and marketing expenses is essential before creating a mobile app publisher business plan.
A comprehensive sales and marketing plan should provide an accurate projection of what actions need to be implemented to acquire and retain customers, how many people are needed to carry out these initiatives, and how much needs to be spent on promotions, advertising, and other aspects.
This helps ensure that the right amount of resources is allocated to these activities in order to hit the sales and growth objectives forecasted in your business plan.
The staffing and equipment needs of a mobile app publisher
As you embark on starting or expanding your mobile app publisher, having a clear plan for recruitment and capital expenditures (investment in equipment and real estate) is essential for ensuring your business's success.
Both the recruitment and investment plans must align with the timing and level of growth projected in your forecast, and they require appropriate funding.
A mobile app publisher might incur staffing costs to hire a team of software engineers, web developers, and graphic designers to create and maintain their mobile app. They might also incur equipment costs such as computers, software, and other hardware needed to develop and publish the mobile app. Additionally, they might have to pay for server space to host the app, as well as costs associated with marketing the app.
To create a realistic financial forecast, you also need to consider other operating expenses associated with the day-to-day running of your business, such as insurance and bookkeeping.
With all the necessary information at hand, you are ready to begin crafting your business plan and developing your financial forecast.
What goes into your mobile app publisher's financial forecast?
The objective of the financial forecast of your mobile app publisher's business plan is to show the growth, profitability, funding requirements, and cash generation potential of your business over the next 3 to 5 years.
The four key outputs of a financial forecast for a mobile app publisher are:
- The profit and loss (P&L) statement,
- The projected balance sheet,
- The cash flow forecast,
- And the sources and uses table.
Let's look at each of these in a bit more detail.
The projected P&L statement
Your mobile app publisher forecasted P&L statement enables the reader of your business plan to get an idea of how much revenue and profits your business is expected to make in the near future.
Ideally, your reader will want to see:
- Growth above the inflation level
- Expanding profit margins
- Positive net profit throughout the plan
Expectations for an established mobile app publisher will of course be different than for a startup. Existing businesses which have reached their cruising altitude might have slower growth and higher margins than ventures just being started.
The forecasted balance sheet of your mobile app publisher
The projected balance sheet of your mobile app publisher will enable the reader of your business plan to assess the overall financial health of your business.
It shows three elements: assets, liabilities and equity:
- Assets: are productive resources owned by the business, such as equipment, cash, and accounts receivable (money owed by clients).
- Liabilities: are debts owed to creditors, lenders, and other entities, such as accounts payable (money owed to suppliers).
- Equity: includes the sums invested by the shareholders or business owners and the profits and losses accumulated by the business to date (which are called retained earnings). It is a proxy for the value of the owner's stake in the business.
Analysing your mobile app publisher projected balance sheet provides an understanding of your mobile app publisher's working capital structure, investment and financing policies.
In particular, the readers of your plan can compare the level of financial debt on the balance sheet to the equity value to measure the level of financial risk (equity doesn't need to be reimbursed, while financial debt must be repaid, making it riskier).
They can also use your balance sheet to assess your mobile app publisher's liquidity and solvency:
- A liquidity analysis: focuses on whether or not your business has sufficient cash and short-term assets to cover its liabilities due in the next 12 months.
- A solvency analysis: takes and longer view to assess whether or not your business has the capacity to repay its debts over the medium-term.
The cash flow forecast
A projected cash flow statement for a mobile app publisher is used to show how much cash the business is generating or consuming.
The cash flow forecast is usually organized by nature to show three key metrics:
- The operating cash flow: do the core business activities generate or consume cash?
- The investing cash flow: how much is the business investing in long-term assets (this is usually compared to the level of fixed assets on the balance sheet to assess whether the business is regularly maintaining and renewing its equipment)?
- The financing cash flow: is the business raising new financing or repaying financiers (debt repayment, dividends)?
As we discussed earlier, cash is king and keeping an eye on future cash flows an imperative for running a successful business. Therefore, you can expect the reader of your mobile app publisher business plan to pay close attention to your cash flow forecast.
Also, note that it is customary to provide both yearly and monthly cash flow forecasts in a business plan - so that the reader can analyze seasonal variation and ensure the mobile app publisher is appropriately funded.
The initial financing plan
The initial financing plan - also called a sources and uses table - is an important tool when starting a mobile app publisher.
It shows where the money needed to set up the business will come from (sources) and how it will be allocated (uses).
Having this table helps understand what costs are involved in setting up the mobile app publisher, how the risks are distributed between the shareholders and the lenders, and what will be the starting cash position (which needs to be sufficient to sustain operations until the business breaks even).
Now that the financial forecast of a mobile app publisher business plan is understood, let's focus on what goes into the written part of the plan.
The written part of a mobile app publisher business plan
The written part of a mobile app publisher business plan plays a key role: it lays out the plan of action you intend to execute to seize the commercial opportunity you've identified on the market and provides the context needed for the reader to decide if they believe your plan to be achievable and your financial forecast to be realistic.
The written part of a mobile app publisher business plan is composed of 7 main sections:
- The executive summary
- The presentation of the company
- The products and services
- The market analysis
- The strategy
- The operations
- The financial plan
Let's go through the content of each section in more detail!
1. The executive summary
The executive summary, the first section of your mobile app publisher's business plan, serves as an inviting snapshot of your entire plan, leaving readers eager to know more about your business.
To compose an effective executive summary, start with a concise introduction of your business, covering its name, concept, location, history, and unique aspects. Share insights about the services or products you intend to offer and your target customer base.
Subsequently, provide an overview of your mobile app publisher's addressable market, highlighting current trends and potential growth opportunities.
Then, present a summary of critical financial figures, such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.
You should then include a summary of your key financial figures such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.
Lastly, address any funding needs in the "ask" section of your executive summary.
2. The presentation of the company
The second section in your mobile app publisher's business plan should focus on the structure and ownership, location, and management team of the company.
The structure and ownership part provides an overview of the legal structure of the business, who the owners are and how much each has invested and owns. If you are seeking financing it is important that the reader gets a clear picture of which legal entity is receiving the funds, and who controls the business.
The location part should give an overview of the premises from which the company is operating, and why that location is of particular interest (catchment area, accessibility, amenities nearby, etc.).
When describing the location of your mobile app publisher, you may want to emphasize the access to resources and talent that could be beneficial to the business. You could mention the availability of a well-educated workforce, an abundance of research and development opportunities, and the potential for a business-friendly environment. Additionally, you may want to highlight the potential for a strong market presence, with access to an engaged and growing customer base. These points could help demonstrate the potential for a profitable venture in the location of your mobile app publisher.
Finally, you should introduce the management team. Explain each member's role, background, and experience.
It is also important to emphasize any past successes that the members of the management team have achieved, and how long they've been working together, as this will help potential lenders or investors understand why they should trust in their leadership.
3. The products and services section
The products and services section of your business plan should include a detailed description of the offerings that your company provides to its customers.
For example, your mobile app publisher might offer development services, such as customizing existing apps or creating new ones from scratch, to meet the individual needs of their customers. They might also provide maintenance and support services, such as responding to customer inquiries, troubleshooting issues, and making updates to apps. Additionally, they could provide marketing services, such as setting up promotional campaigns, optimizing app visibility, and driving user engagement. All of these products and services are designed to help customers get the most out of their mobile apps.
When drafting this section, you should be precise about the categories of products or services you sell, the types of customers you are targeting and how customers can buy them.
4. The market analysis
When you present your market analysis in your mobile app publisher business plan, it's crucial to include detailed information about customers' demographics and segmentation, target market, competition, barriers to entry, and any relevant regulations.
The main objective of this section is to help the reader understand the size and attractiveness of the market while demonstrating your solid understanding of the industry.
Begin with the demographics and segmentation subsection, providing an overview of the addressable market for your mobile app publisher, the key trends in the marketplace, and introducing different customer segments along with their preferences in terms of purchasing habits and budgets.
Next, focus on your target market, zooming in on the specific customer segments your mobile app publisher aims to serve and explaining how your products and services fulfil their distinct needs.
For example, your target market might include young adults who are interested in lifestyle and entertainment. They are likely to be tech-savvy and have higher disposable income. They are also likely to be avid users of mobile apps, making them an ideal target for a mobile app publisher.
Then proceed to the competition subsection, where you introduce your main competitors and highlight what sets you apart from them.
Finally, conclude your market analysis with an overview of the key regulations applicable to your mobile app publisher.
5. The strategy section
When you write the strategy section of your mobile app publisher business plan, remember to cover key elements such as your competitive edge, pricing strategy, sales & marketing plan, milestones, and risks and mitigants.
In the competitive edge subsection, elaborate on what makes your company stand out from competitors. This becomes especially important if you're a startup, aiming to carve a place for yourself amidst established players in the marketplace.
The pricing strategy subsection should demonstrate how you plan to maintain profitability while offering competitive prices to attract customers.
Outline your sales & marketing plan, detailing how you'll reach out to new customers and retain existing ones through loyalty programs or special offers.
For the milestones subsection, outline your company's achievements to date and your main objectives for the future, complete with specific dates to set clear expectations for progress.
Lastly, the risks and mitigants subsection should address the main risks that could affect your plan's execution. Explain the measures you've put in place to minimize these risks, assuring potential investors or lenders.
Your mobile app publisher could face the risk of losing customers due to poor customer service. If customer service is lacking, users may become frustrated and not continue using the app. The publisher could also face the risk of malicious attacks on their app. If the app is not properly secured, it could be vulnerable to hackers, which could result in the app crashing or sensitive data being accessed.
6. The operations section
The operations of your mobile app publisher must be presented in detail in your business plan.
The first thing you should cover in this section is your staffing team, the main roles, and the overall recruitment plan to support the growth expected in your business plan. You should also outline the qualifications and experience necessary to fulfil each role, and how you intend to recruit (using job boards, referrals, or headhunters).
You should then state the operating hours of your mobile app publisher - so that the reader can check the adequacy of your staffing levels - and any plans for varying opening times during peak season. Additionally, the plan should include details on how you will handle customer queries outside of normal operating hours.
The next part of this section should focus on the key assets and IP required to operate your business. If you depend on any licenses or trademarks, physical structures (equipment or property) or lease agreements, these should all go in there.
You, as a mobile app publisher, may have key assets such as the source code for your app and the intellectual property rights associated with the design and branding of the app. Additionally, you could have the customer data associated with the app to track its usage and performance. These assets and IP may be of great value to your business and could be key drivers for your success.
Finally, you should include a list of suppliers that you plan to work with and a breakdown of their services and main commercial terms (price, payment terms, contract duration, etc.). Investors are always keen to know if there is a particular reason why you have chosen to work with a specific supplier (higher-quality products or past relationships for example).
7. The presentation of the financial plan
The financial plan section is where we will present the financial forecast we talked about earlier in this guide.
Now that you have a clear idea of what goes in your mobile app publisher business plan, let's look at the solutions you can use to draft yours.
What tool should I use to write my mobile app publisher's business plan?
In this section, we will be reviewing the two main solutions for creating a mobile app publisher business plan:
- Using specialized online business plan software,
- Outsourcing the plan to the business plan writer.
Using an online business plan software for your mobile app publisher's business plan
The modern and most efficient way to write a mobile app publisher business plan is to use business plan software.
There are several advantages to using specialized software:
- You can easily create your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
- You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
- You can access a library of dozens of complete business plan samples and templates for inspiration
- You get a professional business plan, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank or investors
- You can easily track your actual financial performance against your financial forecast
- You can create scenarios to stress test your forecast's main assumptions
- You can easily update your forecast as time goes by to maintain visibility on future cash flows
- You have a friendly support team on standby to assist you when you are stuck
If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try The Business Plan Shop for free by signing up here.
Hiring a business plan writer to write your mobile app publisher's business plan
Outsourcing your mobile app publisher business plan to a business plan writer can also be a viable option.
Business plan writers are experienced in writing business plans and adept at creating financial forecasts without errors. Furthermore, hiring a consultant can save you time and allow you to focus on the day-to-day operations of your business.
However, hiring business plan writers is expensive as you are paying for the software used by the consultant, plus their time, and their profit margin of course.
From experience, you need to budget at least £1.5k ($2.0k) excluding tax for a complete business plan, more if you need to make changes after the initial version (which happens frequently after the initial meetings with lenders or investors).
You also need to be careful when seeking investment. Investors want their money to be used to grow the business, not spent on consulting fees. Therefore, the amount you spend on business plan writing services (and other consulting services such as legal services) needs to be negligible relative to the amount raised.
The other drawback is that you usually don't own the business plan itself: you just get the output, while the actual document is saved in the consultant's business plan software - which makes it difficult to maintain the document up to date without hiring the consultant on a retainer.
For these reasons, outsourcing the mobile app publisher business plan to a business plan writer should be considered carefully, weighing both the advantages and disadvantages of hiring outside help.
Ultimately, it may be the right decision for some businesses, while others may find it beneficial to write their business plan using online software.
Why not create your mobile app publisher's business plan using Word or Excel?
I must advise against using Microsoft Excel and Word (or their Google, Apple, or open-source equivalents) to write your mobile app publisher business plan. Let me explain why.
Firstly, creating an accurate and error-free financial forecast on Excel (or any spreadsheet) is highly technical and requires a strong grasp of accounting principles and financial modelling skills. It is, therefore, unlikely that anyone will fully trust your numbers unless you have both a degree in finance and accounting and significant financial modelling experience, like us at The Business Plan Shop.
Secondly, relying on spreadsheets is inefficient. While it may have been the only option in the past, technology has advanced significantly, and software can now perform these tasks much faster and with greater accuracy. With the rise of AI, software can even help us detect mistakes in forecasts and analyze the numbers for better decision-making.
And with the rise of AI, software is also becoming smarter at helping us detect mistakes in our forecasts and helping us analyse the numbers to make better decisions.
Moreover, software makes it easier to compare actuals versus forecasts and maintain up-to-date forecasts to keep visibility on future cash flows, as we discussed earlier in this guide. This task is cumbersome when using spreadsheets.
Now, let's talk about the written part of your mobile app publisher business plan. While it may be less error-prone, using software can bring tremendous gains in productivity. Word processors, for example, lack instructions and examples for each part of your business plan. They also won't automatically update your numbers when changes occur in your forecast, and they don't handle formatting for you.
Overall, while Word or Excel may seem viable for some entrepreneurs to create a business plan, it's by far becoming an antiquated way of doing things.
- A business plan has 2 complementary parts: a financial forecast showcasing the expected growth, profits and cash flows of the business; and a written part which provides the context needed to judge if the forecast is realistic and relevant.
- Having an up-to-date business plan is the only way to keep visibility on your mobile app publisher's future cash flows.
- Using business plan software is the modern way of writing and maintaining business plans.
We hope that this practical guide gave you insights on how to write the business plan for your mobile app publisher. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our team if you still have questions.
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