The Value of Mobile Apps for Startups

Vincent Sevilla
V. Sevilla|01.15.17

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Vincent Sevilla
January 15th, 2017
The Value of Mobile Apps for Startups

In 2012, the amount of Internet data accessed from a mobile device increased to as much as 12 times compared to mobile Internet usage back in 2000. It has come to the point where the use of mobile devices has become a big part of modern culture. Check out your Facebook chat box and you wouldn't be surprised to find that many of them are accessing their accounts from a mobile device. In fact, four out of five people access their Facebook accounts through their mobile devices (the same goes for Twitter) in 2013.

Along with the widespread use of mobile devices came the use of applications that are tailored for it. In 2013, the mobile app industry generated an estimated amount of $25 billion in revenue, which was 62% higher than the previous year. It is clear that mobile applications are taking the world by storm. The question now is how businesses (especially small- and medium-sized ones) can benefit from its use.

Mobile apps are no longer just for entertainment purposes, as developers have created such programs that prove to have significant commercial value. They can now be used in a myriad of areas, such as e-commerce, management tasks, and marketing. Let's have a run through of how the usage of applications can help in a startup company's growth:
  1. Mobile apps make administrative tasks easier
It is a known fact that many startups have fewer employees than they would ideally have. This then means that the workloads are heavier, since there are only a few of you who would be working on them. Everyone needs to effectively manage their time (especially the higher ups), since any delay on the deliverables would surely cause a domino effect that could potentially jeopardize your small group's workflow. Unfortunately, as everyone is practically jumping between tasks, it's highly probable that someone could forget about a crucial meeting, report, or materials for a presentation.

This is where mobile apps come in as these programs provide utility that could help lessen the load and keep everyone stay on track:
  • Evernote
Brilliant thoughts are fleeting. Have you ever had those eureka moments but lost it forever because you didn't have a pen and paper on hand? Worry no more. Evernote allows users to store and organize photos, texts, and voice recordings, then sync the data to a desktop or other mobile device. This way, you can get back on those spontaneous ideas you had when you get more time to ponder over them.
  • Expensify
Are you having a hard time keeping track of earnings or costs to be reimbursed? Expensify can make that easier that for you. It allows users to record their entire costs and earnings on its dashboard. It is also worthy to note that it allows users to scan receipts with their mobile devices for faster documentation.
  • Hootsuite
One of the tasks done in a startup is handling its social media accounts. While it could be a fairly light task, there are times when the workload is just too much. There will be times when you won't have time to attend to your company's social networks. Hootsuite fixes that problem as this app can set your status updates and tweets in advance. You can do these things in advance during those rare slow days in the office.
  • If This Then That (IFTTT)
This particular app (IFTTT) lets you connect different channels to one another to perform the same action. For example, if you change your Facebook profile picture, then your Twitter's profile picture will change into that one too. When you upload a particular picture on your Instagram, you can set it to automatically go to your Dropbox.
  • ClockShark
We all know that sorting paper time sheets is a waste of resources and very time consuming. This fee free time tracker app could help you track time, location, job costs, and most importantly it can get rid of paper time sheets.
  1. Mobile apps allow easier collaboration
Collaborating during work brings about best results since solutions to problems would be suggested from different points of view. Not everyone is granted the luxury of being present in every department meeting, especially if the nature of their occupations requires them to be on-the-go.

Luckily, wireless Internet access and applications allow people to virtually collaborate despite the physical barriers.
  • Basecamp
  • Asana
  • Trello
These three applications (Basecamp, Asana, Trello) allow end users to post tasks on a virtual bulletin board. Every user who is a "board member" is given the authority to put up tasks (in text) and move them from "to do", "doing", to, "done".
  • Skype
This particular application (Skype) allows users to engage in group chats and video chats. This is great for conducting interviews with someone far away, since you could hear and see each other like you could when face-to-face.
  1. Mobile apps provide an alternate channel for transactions
One of the problems e-commerce sites face is that its modes of transactions may not be all that appealing to their audience. Many online stores have established wire transfers and credit card payments for consumers to deal with their transactions. However, some people may prefer methods that you may not be prepared for, such as cash on delivery and shipping. Moreover, some of your audience may not have credit cards, rendering them unable to buy from you even if they want to. This then could lead you to lose potential sales.

Fortunately, PayPal allows a payment method where transactions could be tracked (that's why people trust it) and doesn't require a credit card. Use of its service, however, requires a fee from the beneficiary (merchant).
  1. Mobile apps are powerful engagement tools
One of the best things about mobile applications is that they can simplify things. Some of the branded mobile apps that end users like a lot are electronic loyalty cards. These e-cards set them free from the hassle of carrying loads of loyalty cards in their wallets that make them bulky.

Moreover, these applications are usually one of the first things they will see (or access) on their mobile phones. Most applications are strategically placed on a device's background, making it easily available for use with a touch. As for the entrepreneur, they acquire certain perks once their prospects start using their apps:
  • You now have a direct communication line with your consumer. You can send out new promos and offers to them through the application in real time. It's bound to be viewed since almost everyone carries their mobile phone everywhere.
  • Since you own the app, all its stored data belong to you. This then gives your business development opportunities. You can look at certain metrics to determine which of your brand messages bring the highest conversion rates or in-store visits. Being able to see the results of your tactics puts you in the perfect position to make improvements since they're based on hard stats.

Overall, mobile apps' capability of making things more convenient for both you and your audience is exactly why you should use it. The best businesses are the ones that could adapt to the fast changing times, and one of the good things about startups is that they are flexible. Use this to your advantage to ensure growth.
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