Building a Mobile App for Your Business

As a small business owner, you may wonder if building a mobile app for your company is worth the effort. Here's a look at the why, what, and how of mobile technology for local companies.

Why a mobile app for a small business?

When I consult small business decision makers, I like to remind them that they have to adapt generic programs and principles to their specific circumstances in order to identify what works. You don't have a national chain of stores to direct customers to, and you can't afford the marketing tactics of Fortune 500 companies, but you do have a product or service to offer. And, customers still need to know about you before they can buy. Whether you use a free service to construct a simple app or commission an esteemed company to do advanced programming, your business will likely benefit from having a way to instantly get information into the hands of customers.

What should be in my app?

Mobile apps for small businesses should, first and foremost, provide useful information to customers. Include a contact page detailing your location, your business hours, and the company phone number. Consider implementing a GPS-powered map section to give customers turn-by-turn directions if they get lost. Build an events section that outlines special days to come into the store. Provide promotional incentives to download the app by offering coupons and discounts. Be sure to direct clients to your online presence by including links to any social media you may be a part of.

You can also include in your mobile app a QR code scanner to use a phone's camera lens as a bar code reader. You can place QR codes on various company products, which can be scanned by customers to access details about your offerings and tips for product use.

How to get started?

If you have no idea how to get started, you can work with an app-creating company that will be able to use its services and templates to create a customized experience for your clients. Even while working with a provider, you can still take control over what content and offerings will be included in your initial app so that it meets the needs of your business. As information and events need updated, you will likely be granted online access to edit and manage your app.

There are many companies that offer assistance in building mobile apps so be sure to shop around. Look for a service that offers as much customization as you require and at a price that's right. Depending on how little you want to be involved during the process of creating and updating the app, you may be interested in maintaining a monthly subscription where the bulk of the work continues to take place without you.

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