Mobile apps are now integral part of almost every business, irrespective of their size and industry. Several small industries too have profited from developing mobile apps. While most small businesses have their own website, it is indeed more profitable for them to also develop a mobile app.
Here are reasons why you should develop a mobile app for your small business:
Apps as a Promotional Tool
While a website is a vital tool for you to promote your products and services and acts as a one-stop shop for your users, the number of mobile users is ever-increasing. Most of these mobile users also access the Internet on their smartphones and other mobile devices. Today, everything including commerce, trading and payment is handled on mobile. That being the case, mobile apps have proved to be the very future of computing. Developing a mobile app and promoting it among your users is hence extremely beneficial to further your business.
Earning with Your App
Many small industries try to avoid developing apps for their business, as they fear that the costs of app development would far exceed their budget. While it is true that mobile app development can turn out to be an expensive affair, it does not always need to be the case. Going in for a basic app, avoiding the unnecessary extra frills, will bring down your costs. You can also reduce the costs by planning your app well in advance of the actual process of development; designing your own logo, images and app content. Once the ground work is ready, you can hire a professional app developer to create your app.
Once your app has been developed, you can think of making money on it by using the various app monetizing techniques available to you, such as in-app advertising and so on.
Reaching Many More Customers
Developing an app for your business helps you reach many more customers, than with a traditional Website. Mobile search has become very popular today, especially with the younger audience. While your current customers could spread the word by talking about you to their friends, new users could find you via a generic search. Additionally, integrating major social networks with your app furthers the scope and reach of your business.
Showcasing Your Products and Services
You can use your app as a tool to showcase your products and services. Users visiting your app would then have instant, one-stop access to you. You can keep updating your app, to feature different new products every once in a way. Offering users interesting offers and discounts encourages them to visit you more often and spread the good word as well.
Mobile Customer Loyalty Plan
Everyone knows what a loyalty card is and consumers can often end up carrying several for different cards for supermarkets and other establishments. Loyalty cards are great for businesses with regards to being able to understand the behavior of their customers as well as giving those same customers an incentive to come and make yet another purchase through some form of reward.
However with every establishment offering different loyalty cards it can become a bind for the customer who does not want to have a wallet full of extra cards. Mobile customer loyalty programs are the answer; they can allow you to treat your customer’s mobile phone as a mobile loyalty card.
Partnering with Other Services
Getting into partnerships with other similar companies helps you piggyback on their success, thereby bringing more customers for you. You could chalk out a list of other companies locally and team up with them to form a sort of mobile ad exchange program among yourselves. This proves to be beneficial to both companies involved, leading to mutual benefit and increased profits.
With the mobile industry booming like it is right now, it is most advisable for any and every business to develop mobile apps to promote their products and services. Mobile is indeed the way all communication is headed today and so, embracing this technology is guaranteed to produce the right results for your business.
It's natural to want to share the experience of entrepreneurship with a partner. And some of the most successful companies have been started by a team of two: Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft) and Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google) jump to mind. But before you throw equity around like beads at Mardi Gras, here are questions to ask yourself:
Why do you want a partner?
Running a start-up from a spare bedroom in your house can be so lonely that you find yourself at Starbucks just for the social interaction. With no money to hire and desperate for someone to share the experience with, you will be inclined to offer equity to almost anyone just to have a partner to work with. But loneliness is not a good business reason for asking someone to become a shareholder. Consider working from an incubation center or a business center offered by a company like Ameri Center; or join an organization like The Corporate Alliance.
Are they willing to buy equity?
Would the person to whom you're about to offer a partnership buy equity in the form of cash or work in lieu of a market rate salary? If not, what does that say about their belief in your business?
Could you achieve the same result without a partner?
Often we assume that the only way to get fingers-to-the-bone effort is to make someone a partner. But many people will work harder and smarter for a short-term reward than they ever would for some vague, uncertain promise of money years in the future.
Do they care as much as you do?
You founded your business. You dreamed up your product or service and you were so excited that you told everyone you knew about your idea. You came up with a name and a logo, and your business is an expression of who you are. No matter how much equity you share, your employees will never care as much as you do.
What happens if they leave?
It can be exciting to build a company with a partner, but what happens when they decide to leave? Unless there is a predetermined formula for handling equity grants when an employee leaves, you may become resentful of carrying equity holders like an albatross around your neck when they are not adding value to your company as employees but expect to share in your success as owners.
What kind of watch does your prospective partner wear?
If you wear a Timex and your prospective partner sports a Rolex, it may be a sign that you have different attitudes towards money. If you make vastly different lifestyle choices than your partner, expect friction when it comes time to decide how much to pay yourself at the end of the year and how much money to leave in the company.
Is this person your friend?
The only thing worse than hiring a friend is partnering with one. By inviting a friend to become a minority shareholder in your business, you are placing a monetary value on a friend's contribution and importance. A friendship should always be a mutual bond, not a lopsided business arrangement. Buying friends was a bad idea in high school and is an even worse idea now that the stakes are higher. Keep your friends and your equity.
What happens if you're successful?
Let's say that in the early days of your business you share five percent of your company with an employee because you want to make him feel like a partner. It's easy to share with employees when your business is modest and your financial statements prove that you're pouring all of your money back into the business. But what happens when your business matures and you're pulling a million dollars a year out of your company in the form of dividends? Do you really want your five percent partner to know how much money you're making?
In the early years of building a business, it's natural to want a partner to share in the experience, but make sure you run through all the possible implications.
Not So Small After All
Current statistics suggest that small businesses are major players in the U.S. economy. Over 50% of the current working population in the United States works in a small business setting, as cited by Forbes.
These individuals work for the 28 million small businesses that are currently in operation, 22 million of which are nonemployer businesses (source). Employer-based businesses make up more than 75% of all businesses currently operating in the U.S.
Also, more than half of the aforementioned businesses are operated out of people’s homes. These statistics suggest that small businesses, start-ups and home-based businesses account for a significant portion of the business that takes place in the U.S.
Pattern of Growth
It appears that the growth of small businesses will continue to progress in 2014 as small businesses have generated more than 65% of the new jobs created in the U.S. since 1996.
This growth is occurring at an impressive rate as more than 540,000 new businesses are being started each month. This trend favors small business growth as more employee businesses shut down than start up each month. On the other hand, nonemployer businesses have seen steady growth in recent years as 2011 saw the number of nonemployer businesses grow by 2%.
In order to facilitate growth, it is expected that small businesses will exhibit certain trends in the way they operate in 2014. One trend that can’t be ignored by businesses both big and small is the growth of mobile commerce. People are purchasing items via mobile devices at a rate that continues to trend upward.
This past holiday season exemplified this trend as the top 20 retailers reported an increase of more than 55% in the number of online sales conducted via mobile devices.
Sales statistics revealed that 69 percent of tablet users and 45 percent of smartphone users made mobile purchases this past holiday season. These statistics suggest that mobile commerce is too large of an opportunity for small businesses to ignore in 2014.
Social media has become a critical tool for businesses as the average U.S. consumer spends 15 hours per week on social media, as cited by AT&T.
Small business owners will be drawn to these social channels as they seek to access their target markets in the digital space. Expect social media to continue to develop into an integral marketing strategy for small businesses.
Working from Home
Thanks to the growth of the internet and web technology, working from home is becoming increasingly common in the United States. This means that many small business owners are hosting their operations from the comfort of their own homes rather than taking on the additional costs associated with physical business locations.
Currently more than 16 million people work from home in the United States, a figure that is expected to continue growing in 2014. Social collaboration tools and communication apps present an opportunity to conduct business from home, generating predictions that suggest the number of people working from home in the U.S. will increase by 64% in the next four years.
The trend toward working from home and the popularity of nonemployee business means that online outsourcing is becoming more common.
It is anticipated that 1.3 billion people will work virtually by the year 2015. This means that there will be a large pool of available home-based laborers for businesses that look to avoid health care costs and large salaries. Contract and pay-as you go arrangements are viable options for small businesses.
The ever-increasing number of start-ups that are created each month will need funding in 2014. This demand outweighs the capabilities of credit institutions to support new business. It is for this reason that crowdfunding services are becoming increasingly popular with small business owners. These services make it possible for small businesses to access potential contributors for their business endeavors.
In 2013 more than $2.7 billion was raised through crowdfunding campaigns in the U.S. This is a statistic that is expected to rise in 2014 as crowdfunding services become more specialized and small businesses begin to recognize their potential.
The weight that small businesses carry in the U.S. economy has continued to grow in recent years. These previous trends and improving technologies suggest that small businesses will continue to adapt and grow in 2014.
Micro Business Power
While researching these statistics I stumbled across a comment that wanted to focus on the connotation of ‘small business’ because 400 employees was considered ‘small’ in their field. This led me to an article focusing on micro-businesses which entails 1-4 employees.
From 2004 to 2010, U.S. micro-businesses (1 to 4 employees) created a net of 5.5 million jobs; large businesses (those with greater than 500 employees) lost 1.8 million jobs during the same period (source).
This information comes from the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (microbiz.org), with a clear focus on empowering micro-businesses and spreading awareness about how strong they are. This reminded me of the ant analogy. Ants are super strong for their size. If ants were as large as humans we’d be doomed!
According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, micro businesses generate $2.4 trillion in receipts and account for 17% of GDP and employ more than 31 million people. The key takeaway from this article is that with high quality education, micro-businesses could grow and flourish much faster than medium and large businesses. This idea is simply a hypothetical scalability scenario – if 100,000 micro businesses can add 1 job every month for a year as a result of proper education/direction, the result is 12 million new job opportunities in just one year. Of course this is all hypothetical, but the potential is much greater and realistic for micro-businesses because of how quick they can move compared to larger businesses.
Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship is simultaneously exhilarating and paralyzing. If you’re like most entrepreneurs you’ve been living and breathing your business idea for what feels like forever, growing its potential in your head with each passing moment. And despite the anticipation and excitement, when the time comes for action, you feel stuck. Where do you even begin? How do you go about building an empire, changing an industry, or creating a legendary business?
The key to success for most entrepreneurs is learning to toggle back and forth between thinking big and moving things forward, which often requires taking small manageable steps. Here are three ways to make some progress.
Keeping your focus on building long term momentum, establishing good habits and taking small steps can help build momentum that will take you closer to your business goals.
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