Starting a small business can be daunting, risky, and expensive, but it can also be quite a thrill for those who put all their energy and treasure into the realization of a dream. When it comes to the treasure, however, small business owners have to pick their battles, and many believe that investing in a mobile application is a luxury rather than a necessity. This is due at least in part to the perception that mobile apps are only useful to certain kinds of businesses (online distributors of goods, say, or vendors selling tech products and expertise), and many entrepreneurs put off developing a mobile app until they’ve already started to realize profit.
This kind of 20th century thinking is due in large part to a profound and possibly catastrophic misunderstanding of the benefits of maintaining a mobile presence. The numbers are in: according to a 2012 study conducted by the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Council (.pdf), a whopping 78% of small business owners say that their use of mobile apps save them an estimated 5.6 hours per day. Anyone who’s starting a small business of course knows that time is money, and the SBEC’s report ran that calculation as well: judicious use of mobile apps saves about $275 per week, or $14,237 per year, which is a colossal sum for a new business still trying to find its feet.
A second important benefit of developing and maintaining a mobile presence lies in its essential contribution to a small business’s marketing strategy. “Word-of-mouth” doesn’t rely much on actual mouths anymore, and one of the ways a new business can generate buzz is by making use of a well-developed mobile app.
Next week we’ll take a look at some other numbers that demonstrate fairly convincingly how useful a mobile app can be, but for now it’s worth knowing that whether you’re thinking about starting a small business or already run one, the question as to whether or not you should develop a mobile app has been answered with a firm and resounding “yes!”