11 questions to ask before creating an app for small businesses
The advantages of building an app for small businesses have often been scrutinized and the benefits have been established quite convincingly.
It is quite natural that you would want to build a business app and I strongly advocate you to do that! However, this is not a journey to be taken lightly. There are things that you must know about app development and the kind of app you are going to build for your business.
If you are planning to build a business app but do not have coding skills, there is a readymade solution right here!
In this blog we will talk about the things you must know before you take the first step and the questions you must ask before you create a business app.
- Is there a market for your app?
- Do you find your existing marketing efforts effective, and satisfactory?
- What problem would my app solve?
- Have you conducted a thorough competitor research?
Like any other product, you need to know whether your mobile app really has a market. Is there anyone who wants this app?
In short, you need to first find out whether anyone is asking for this before you invest your hard-earned money and time in the project.
Try and do this little exercise to ascertain this. Complete the sentence, “Customers will download my new app because…”
If you fail to complete it, it is time to take a second look at it.
For a small business marketing can be quite a challenging affair because, not only are the channels limited, but there is hardly much of deep analytics or meaningful insights (which the big businesses have access to).
If you are going through this challenge, an app can resolve this for you.
An app offers you access to people who have shown some interest in your brand by downloading and installing your app, and you can market your offerings directly to them!
In contrast to the limitations of the traditional methods of marketing which largely pay attention to branding only, an app lets you experiment a lot more, with various marketing techniques whether it is by highlighting specific products and new releases, to offer special offers, deals, and discounts.
Identify a gap in the market and find out if there is anything you can do to fill that gap.
Simply creating an app that you want to, won’t help you meet much success. The wise thing to do is first zero in on a problem that you see no viable solution for.
Once you know the problem you plan to solve, then design the app in a way that it would efficiently and effectively provide a solution to the defined problem.
This will give your app development process a direction and sharp focus.
As a small business owner, it is almost a cardinal rule to know what your competitors are up to and of course, it is important to do this even when you are trying to make the decision about whether or not to build a mobile app for your business.
In case any of your competitors have already built an app, then you have already lost an edge that you could have had over others and if no one has one, it is the perfect time to gain that extra edge we were talking about.
Based on whether the competitors have an app or not, you can have the following scenarios ahead:
- No one else has an app
- Someone already has an app
This means that you have a blank slate ahead of you and it is you who would be choosing the features and coming up with something unique for your business category without being influenced by any external factor.
All you have to think about is, what your customers and you need.
This means that you have a template in front of you that you can emulate and build an app for your business after making tweaks and improvements in it.
It is always advisable that you do not copy!
What advantages would the app bring for you and your customers?
The ultimate idea behind any business is to get some kind of benefit or profit from it. Hence, you must know the advantages of building an app.
Every choice you make, every decision you take revolves either around how your customers are benefitting from it, or how you are benefitting from it.
These benefits might take some time to show up and it is imperative that you be patient with it, and not give up.
Give a reason to your customers to install your app, and then keep giving them other reasons to keep coming back to your app for more.
The biggest benefit of getting an app for your business is the amount of engagement that it offers to the customers.
Would your conversions be simplified if you could retain your customers’ data?
While completing any transaction on an ecommerce portal on mobile, the biggest hurdle that the consumers do not cross often is the tedious process of entering all the information including the billing and shipping address and even the payment details.
If your business needs this, then getting an app for your business may add convenience to the whole process eliminating the repetitive process by simply adding a registration feature.
Have you put a customer loyalty program in place?
If you are offering a loyalty program and benefits to your customers, getting an app for your business is a great idea. A loyalty program on a mobile app ends the ordeal of carrying around a punch card all the time, making it easy for you to extend the rewards, deals, or offers to your loyal members.
Do you leverage user-generated content for marketing?
User generated content can help you gain popularity in a much shorter time, making you the talk of the town.
The best way to employ this feature in your business is through an app that has the provision for your customers to share content (text, photos, videos, etc.) from within your app on all the major social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any other platform that is relevant for you.
Would your app be able to use the in-built features of the mobile devices?
The apps that have the ability to leverage the native features of the mobile device like camera, GPS navigation etc. lend great user experiences making such apps exceptionally popular.
This is the single greatest ability of an app that the websites simply cannot match up to.
Does your app idea have a clear goal and audience?
While it is important that you have a mobile app for your business, it is equally (if not more) important that you have a clear goal for your app.
Only an app that has a clear purpose or goal behind it can achieve any measure of success.
Having a clear goal gives the app a direction and definable objectives to be achieved.
Another important thing to remember is that you must develop the app keeping your clientele in mind.
A mismatch between your clients’ expectation from your business, the perception of your brand and the app can prove to be fatal for your app, and even might lead it to failure.
How will I make money from the app?
When you are trying to add a mobile app to your business strategy it is important that you have a strong business model in place.
Creating a mobile app will take some kind of monetary investment and you would not only have to invest some man hours but also put in some money to maintain it and keep it updated.
It is advised hence to monetize your app in a way that suits your business the best.
It has been some time now that the small businesses had been shying away from building an app for their business and claimed that their clientele were not big on internet. However, now that mobile device penetration is astoundingly high, there is no excuse to stay away from it anymore. Ask yourself the questions above, and it may help you take the plunge and build your own mobile app for business.
Is there a question that we missed out on? Let us know in the comments section and we’d love to hear!