Every year, billions of people spend billions of dollars in the App Store. The App Economy is immense and continues to grow rapidly. So why are many independent app makers struggling? iMore’s Rene Ritchie wrote an excellent overview of the problem, but what’s the solution?

Many tech businesses are tragically unbalanced: they’ve either built a brillant product and have terrible marketing, or they use brilliant marketing to sell a mediocre product. If you’re an indie dev like me, the former is probably a bigger struggle. Here are four things you can do to build a profitable and thriving indie apps business.

🎪 Remember that Apple is not your savior

Subscriptions, trial periods, and review responses are very nice enhancements to the App Store but none of these will make or break your business.

Having your app in the App Store is similar to being listed in the phone book. Some people may find you but your business will likely perish without persistent marketing and public relations.

🚀 Stimulate compound benefits

Albert Einstein (alledgedly) claimed that compound interest is “the most powerful force in the universe”. The same is true for the processes that benefit your business.

You’ll never enjoy compound benefits if you make a series of unrelated apps. Target the same customers, build a brand that stands for something, and leverage your existing technology and relationships.

👑 Optimize user engagement every day

App Store analytics tells you how often people use your app. Regardless of your revenue model (paid, in-app-purchase, advertising, or subscription), user engagement is the most important indicator of your app’s success.

Hooked by Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover is filled with techniques to make your app more compelling and habit-forming. Stay away from sleezy or annoying engagement techniques and focus on how you can make life better for your users.

🏠 Don’t merely build an app, build a business.

Being a great baker doesn’t mean your bakery will be a guaranteed success. You have to get a lot of things right to be successful in the app store.

Read E-Myth Mastery by Michael E. Gerber to start thinking beyond your app and design a great business.