In order for any business to be successful, it has to provide its customers with the most convenience and the most utility it possibly can. These days, more than half of American adults own smartphones, and pundits predict that 2014 is the year where mobile Internet will overtake desktop in terms of Internet usage. In other words, more people than ever utilize smartphones or other mobile devices in their communications arsenal, and many are increasingly likely to use those devices to access the Internet.
In today’s choppy economic climate, small business owners need to differentiate themselves from their competitors however they can. Studies show that 49 percent of owners of mobile devices are using apps on those devices to find local information — a behavior that could potentially translate into local information about your brand. Simultaneously, we live in an increasingly mobile world. Workers no longer need to be located at their desks in order to be productive. Building a custom business app opens the door to both reaching new customers as well as helping your internal operations reach peak efficiency, especially with employees on the go.
With those things in mind, it might be time for you to consider conceiving an app for your business. From the outside, that might seem like quite the challenge. But rest assured- it’s not! And here's how:
Why Your Business Needs an App – for Your Customers
Imagine you’re the owner of a business based in a rural area that designs products to help with pest control. One of your prospective customers lives on a large farm that borders thick woods. One day, his property is nearly taken over by skunks, and the annoyed farmer is unsure about the best ways to return (unharmed) all these Pepe Le Pews to their own habitat.
Now, say your business has already released an app that offers tips on how to fight infestations as well as pertinent links to products that could help. If, during that initial infestation, he or she searches for local pest control and finds your app, downloads it, accesses it, and finds worthwhile information on how to get rid of skunks, you’ve probably made a customer for life. He or she will for sure consult your app on any infestation issues that occur in the future.
So, no matter your industry, your business stands to benefit from a customApp. Today’s business world is all about building and maintaining strong, mutually beneficial relationships with customers. By providing utility to them via your business’s app, you are helping nurture that relationship, a relationship that will, in time, reinforce your bottom line.
Why Your Business Needs an App – for Your Employees
In order to help navigate today’s complex business landscape, employers need to give their workers as many tools as possible so they can do their jobs with ease. The more streamlined a business procedure, the more efficient your business will be and the sturdier your bottom line will become.
Imagine you’re the head of a small accounting firm. One of your employees is going to meet a client for lunch, a practice you heartily encourage in this age of relationships. But, in the past, after that lunch, that employee would probably be plowed under for the rest of the day documenting the client conversation and prioritizing the client's needs. But, with a business-specific app on hand, however, the information can be entered in real time. Such functionality helps your business reclaim time that your workers would otherwise spend doing “double work.”
The needs of no two businesses are the same. Still, virtually any business can benefit from an app. Spend some time brainstorming ways in which your business stands to benefit from an app, and start figuring out how to make that a reality.
Building an App? There’s an App for That
The needs of any business are highly individual, so unless you want an app that sort of works, you’re going to need to build your own app from the ground up. But don’t lose a moment of sleep if you personally lack the technological know-how to get that done.
Instead, enlist the services of a custom business application designer, to empower you to help formulate an app that is specifically designed to meet your business needs, whether internally or externally. Such designers make sure that your voice is central to the creation of the app –- after all, you are the one who knows your business best.
At their core, internal custom business applications give your business extra functionality. When employees are constantly on the go and away from their desks, investing in such applications simply makes sense. Technology has evolved to the point where your employees can do their jobs while away from the office, but only so long as you give them the tools they need to do just that.
How to Get Started
If you think a custom business app is right for your company, take the first step and brainstorm what you would like the app to achieve for you. Next, determine whether your business would benefit from a customer-facing app or an internal one (or perhaps both). Then, look for custom business application companies that will offer free consultations, and make sure that they have a good track record, offer the kind of working relationship and working atmosphere you’re looking for, and – this is important – are more than willing to collaborate effectively.
As you turn to actual design, here are some hints: Internally, a well-designed business applications should simplify the way your business operates by streamlining processes and providing more, true functionality. For those apps that are customer-facing, emphasize a utility-oriented app, as it will actually generate some revenue, and be thinking ahead to e-commerce functionality.
Best of luck to you and your designing! And for those of you who have gone this route already, weigh in. Have you created an app for your small business? Has it met expectations, left you disappointed, or opened channels for your business you didn't imagine?