Andrew Gazdeck, CEO and founder of do-it-yourself mobile app builder Bizness Apps, considers the questions any business should ask itself before taking the plunge and investing in an app
Should your business build a mobile app? You are thinking about having an app built to help grow your business. After all, the biggest and the best all have apps, so you should too, right? Ideally, you do need an app for your business. In fact, a recent study published by the Gallup Poll reports that 52 per cent of the population checks its smartphones several times per hour, and of the remaining 48 per cent, 20 per cent of the people claim to check their phones once per hour. These numbers are a marketing team’s dream! So many easy to reach people in one place! So yes, you need an app!
Financially speaking, app development can range in price from a small fee up to the cost of a second mortgage – depending on your needs. Business owners often grapple with the rational of actually investing in an app. Many scratch their heads and wonder, “Why do I need an app? I have a mobile website.”
The first thing you need to think about after you commit to building an app for your business is what your needs are. Do you need your app to help you with marketing, sales, customer services or all of the above? With so many different options to choose from, you first need to examine your needs. This will give you a general idea of what it will cost to develop.
Think about accessibility – do you want your app simply to make your business accessible to your customers 24/7? Apps make it easy to find you because customers don’t have to switch devices. When your business crosses their mind, they simply tap the app.
When it comes to marketing, your app is a reflection of your band, and that icon on a mobile device that is frequently looked at will get people to recognize your brand. Push notices are a great marketing tool that deliver information about your business to customers in the way that most of them use to communicate. You can push coupons or sales announcements; the possibilities are endless.
What about customer relations? Again, with a simple tap, you are literally at your customer’s fingertips. They can engage with you and your business in a matter of seconds. Be it tech support, sales support, or customer support, an app says you have your customers’ backs.
An app also gives you the opportunity to close sales faster. If your customers have access to what you are selling while they are mobile, they do not have to wait to get to a computer to buy your products. An app can help you close sales in seconds.
Time is money
With your needs examined, you can begin to examine the cost associated with your needs. The easiest way to understand the cost associated with building an app is to look at the different phases of development along with the different types of prospective apps. I’ll break it down for you…time is money! That about sums it up, so thanks for stopping by.
Seriously though, the more time that goes into planning, developing, and launching your app, the more it costs. This leads to a new question: What factors attribute to time? It’s a good question, so let’s address it…
Since mobile technology offers a variety of choices, there are four major factors that you need to consider when exploring app development costs. First is platform; second, functionality; third, sales; and fourth, design. Let’s take a look at each in turn.
We all have our preferred platform, you are an iOS or an Android person. There are a few Windows and Blackberry stragglers out there, but never the less, we all know what we like. For that reason, as a business owner, you have to recognise that your app will need built for all of these platforms, not just the one you personally prefer. Remember, it’s about reaching customers. Knowing the differences between what it takes to develop for each platform will help you understand the cost associated with it.
Google’s platform is a bit harder to develop apps for, which means it takes longer. You can assume that an app built for Android will take two – three times longer than it will for iOS—thus, it will cost more. Many businesses tend to launch on iOS first to see how their app is received, and then they move to Android after they get some solid customer feedback.
OK, so you know why you need an app, you know you need to build an app for several different platforms, now you need to decide what you want your app to do. You have the option of building a static app or a dynamic app. Simply put, a static app doesn’t change. It needs no internet connection to function. Your flashlight app or your calculator app are static apps.
Dynamic apps, on the other hand, change. They need a source to gather information – like the Internet. So dynamic apps require an online connection to connect to a database to gather the necessary information to deliver to you.
Think about your weather app. It has to connect to the forecast that is published online to deliver it to your phone. Dynamic apps are much more expensive to create because they require a connection to a remote server. More planning and developing results in a greater cost to you.
How do you plan on delivering your app to people? Will you offer it for free? If that is the case, you can generate revenue from ads. If you plan to charge for downloads, you can generate income to help offset the development cost.
Some businesses offer what are called “in-app purchases”. This is when they give the basic app away for free, but then they sell premium features like Gold Club Member Coupons. You can add these types of features to generate more income from your app, but development of in-app purchases is much more expensive.
Think of your app’s design as a store window on Fifth Ave. It has to lure people in. Your app’s design is just as important as its purpose. Designers and developers are two different breeds. Your app developer will not design your app’s user interface. You will need to hire a team of designers dedicated strictly to the aesthetics of your app. This team of designers will create splash screens, icons, buttons, and tabs to make your app visually appealing for users.
Adding it all up
Luckily, there’s an app for adding up all the app associated fees. In fact, there are a few. Companies such as Otreva and Imason Calculator have developed websites for calculating the cost of app development. You can get as specific as you want using these calculators. Additionally, if you are looking for a ballpark figure to help you decide if you are ready to commit to developing an app, research conducted by Kinevy indicates that the average cost of building an app is around $270,000 (£190,000) with about a year of time from the start of planning up through deployment.
These numbers, of course, can be broken down into phases such as: planning, design, features, infrastructure, administration, testing, and deployment. But the bottom line is pretty clear – developing your business’ app is going to put a dent in the bank account. That is, until its purpose for generating more income becomes a reality. Risk vs. reward – it’s basic business.
Can I afford the risk?
You are not alone in that sector of small business; that’s for sure. But just like any other 21st century problem, technology has rendered a solution. Business app builders offer you the ability to build an app for your business using WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) technology. Using a platform like this, you can drop and drag your app into production, provide the necessary hosting to deliver your app, manage your app’s delivery system, and collect data on usage.
It’s a far less expensive route to go when building an app for your business. Furthermore, it will provide you with the necessary foundation to understand the emerging trends in apps and business. Then, if your app is working for your business, you can invest in custom development for your niche. Limit the risk, gather the data, and then invest. Whatever route you choose, you should not overlook the emerging mobile app industry.
Andrew Gazdeck is CEO and founder of Bizness Apps