“Get on mobile.” It’s been the mantra of 2013. Find some way to take your business not just online, but into the realm of smartphones. And, considering that smartphones account for more than 50% of the cell phone market, it’s not a bad idea.
But, how do you get on mobile?
A lot of companies are flocking to developing a mobile app. Here are some things you should know before you jump on that bandwagon:
1. Figure out what kind of app is successful
Go into the app store of your nearest mobile device and look up what is selling or being downloaded right now. Here’s the thing: none of them will have anything in common. That’s okay. This first tip was to make sure you were paying attention.
There’s no wrong way to make an app. You can’t predict what will be successful.
For some of you, that’s encouraging. For others, daunting. So, let’s look at this a different way. Try to find the apps for companies similar to yours. What are customers saying? How are they rating them? What are they asking for? Your market research is already right in front of you on your phone.
2. It isn’t magic.
There are plenty of ways to make your business both searchable and mobile friendly. An app isn’t a magical solution that will suddenly make you successful. Be aware of that. Can you name apps that everyone has hands down heard of? There’s probably only one: Angry Birds. If you focus on giving your customers a serviceable app that will get them what they want, when they want it, you’ve won. The rest is all extra.
3. It takes time
Once you decide to develop an app, it takes time to make it. There’s beta-testing involved. There’s different stages of development. There are lots of different design aspects. On top of that, apps need to be watched and updated as new operating systems, tablets, and phones become available. The thing about apps is that they are always a work in progress. If you don’t offer updates, new features, and bug fixes, people are going to delete it.
4. You don’t necessarily need one.
Really think about whether or not you need an app before you decide to develop one. I mean, really think about it. What can an app offer you that you don’t already have available somewhere online? Will this really give you the edge over the competition that you need? Does it keep you in line with your competition?
Given that apps are time consuming and sometimes expensive, try to take a look at your projected ROI for an app. If you don’t think it will make that much of a difference, think about finding other apps that already exist that you might be able to hitch a ride on (like Yelp or Foursquare, for brick-and-mortars).
If you think you’re late to the app game, you’re wrong. The mobile platform is ever evolving and there is always room for more apps. However, don’t rush in. Make sure you take time to look at your business and decide if an app is best for you.
Have you developed a mobile app for your business? What do you wish you had known going in? Share in the comments below!
Jim Ellis talks about the elements of a successful business plan as well as common mistakes related to its development and use.
Tons of businesses are started with business partners and a lot of entrepreneurs swear by the business partner relationships. Before you sign up for a business partner matchmaker, however, here are some things you should know.
1. Ask yourself the right questions.
Can you work with someone? Not just can you work with them specifically, but are you the kind of person that can work with a partner. If you play things close the vest, you might have a hard time working with a partner. If you’re an introvert, maybe you want to sacrifice the comfort of working alone to finding someone more outgoing than you are to handle the networking and interactions.
More specifically, can you work with the individual in question? Starting a business is like getting married. It’s a big commitment, you’ll be spending most of your time with that person and your business. Make sure it’s someone who isn’t going to drive you crazy and complements your work style.
2. Define your goals
You need to find out if you share business goals with your partner. Do you have the same priorities? Do you want to have the same priorities? In some cases, you may take an approach that has you focusing on one aspect of the business and your partner focusing on another. If this is the case, you will have different priorities, but you still need to have the same end goal. Where do you see your business in five years? Where do you want to go from there?
Also, it’s a good reason to have a business plan.
3. Get to know them
Before you jump into the business bed with a partner, you should probably get to know them. Try to work on a few projects together. Again, think of it in terms of a marriage. Maybe you won’t agree on everything, but you should be compatible with each other and enjoy each other’s company. Get to know your styles of business and whether or not you work together.
4. Write it up.
What’s your partnership agreement? Don’t forget the step where you lay everything out with your business partner. Think of it as a pre-nup. If you ever do decide to go your separate ways, you’ll know who gets to keep the dog. Remember, a business partner is not the same as an employee. You’re in it together from the start.
Finding the perfect business partner might be the easiest thing you do for your business. It might also be the hardest. Keep these things in mind while your considering.
Do you have a business partner? How did you find her/him? What have been some of the advantages of tackling a business with a partner? Share in the comments below.
Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.
“Illuminates the extremes of American childhood: for rich kids, a safety net drawn so tight it’s a harness; for poor kids, almost nothing to break their fall.”—New York Times
“I learned so much reading this book and I came away full of hope about how we can make life better for all kinds of kids.”—Slate
Instead of getting tips and advice, tell us what you’re thankful for!
What’s been a godsend to your business?
What have your employees done to help you out this year?
Let us know in the comments!