How to Build an App for Your Small Business

How to Build an App for Your Small Business

Interested in building a mobile app for your business in 2017? You’re not alone.

Mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular with all different types of businesses. But if you want to get into the mobile app game in the new year, it can help to learn from someone who’s already been there.

Jerry Petrole Jr. is the creator of Track My Roll, a bowling shot tracking app. He used a variety of different tools and platforms to get his app off the ground. And he shared some insights from the experience in an email interview with Small Business Trends.

How to Build an App

Here are some tips for businesses looking to create their own mobile apps.

Come Up With a Great Idea

Before you actually start building an app, you need to come up with an idea that’s going to interest people. Since there are so many apps already available for mobile consumers, finding a unique niche is essential.

There are many different ways you can look for a unique niche. And it may be necessary to do some market research or testing. But in some cases, the best thing you can do is just go with what you know. That’s what Petrole did with Track My Roll.

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Petrole says, “I’ve been an avid bowler for a long time and I’m a software developer by trade. I have always been interested in finding ways that technology could give bowlers more information about how they perform. Software that tracks a bowler’s roll has been around for a while but it was very clunky and difficult for an individual to make use of. I wanted to take advantage of the powerful mobile devices we have today and put this tracking ability literally into the hands of any bowler that wants it.”

Find a Developer

From there, you need to find a developer to make your vision come to life.

For Petrole, that search started with finding a freelancer on Upwork. However, the person he found ended up being extremely uncommunicative. And this led to huge delays for the project. So he eventually went with a more established development firm called BrickSimple. The experience ultimately led to some major lessons in sourcing work for mobile app projects.

Petrole suggests, “Insist on a minimum of weekly meetings where both parties can have their questions answered and progress can be monitored. Make sure that both verbal and written communications with the developer are satisfactory at the start.”

Market and Fund Your App

So your app is built. Now what?

You need to get the word out and fund the app. For Petrole, the answer to both of those issues came on one platform: Kickstarter. Using crowdfunding allowed him to build the app without having to take on all of the financial burden on his own. And it also gave him an easy online platform for showing off the app to potentially interested parties.

Monetize It

Even if you’ve used crowdfunding to cover the cost of actually building your app, you still may need to find a way to monetize your app so that it can bring in a consistent income for your business.

There are ways to do this without actually charging users for downloads. You can offer in-app purchases. You can feature ads. Or you can promote products or services within the app.

However, if you offer an app that’s of value to your users, you can also consider simply charging for downloads.

Petrole says, “This idea that apps are supposed to be free or 99 cents is insane. Good technology and those who create it are valuable commodities and people who appreciate that will be willing to pay for quality work and a quality product.”

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock 3 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

3 Reactions
  1. Thanks for the suggestion for the developer. That is the difficult part. An app is not something that you can hire to just anyone. It needs to be someone who knows his stuff.

  2. What is the basic range for the cost of an app? Is there a basic range or is it all over the place?