Small Business Ideas: How To Build Mobile Applications For Your Small Business

by Kelsy Harms on November 29, 2011

We have discussed the value of creating a mobile app for your small business, now learn how to build your own app.

Did you know you can build an app for your small business without any previous programming knowledge necessary and it doesn’t have to break the bank?  Several firms offer templates to help you build and manage your own mobile apps.  If you’re willing to put in the effort yourself, there are many tools available to help you break into the mobile world with minimized costs.

  • Red Foundry allows you to build apps for free with their software tools then upload them to Apple’s marketplace.
  • MotherApp allows you to create apps through html instead of using mobile-development kits.
  • AppsBar provides a free 3 step do-it-yourself wizard to design iPhone and Android apps.
  • Mobile Roadie creates and customizes iPhone and Android apps for your small business.  You upload your content and they create the apps for a $399+ setup fee in addition to $29/month for ongoing support.
  • AppMakr make is easy to build apps and monitor your app downloads for free with easy to use templates.
  • Google’s App Inventor allows you to design an app for Android.
  • AppsGeyser converts any web content into a free app.

Of course, if you want to pay the extra money to have a mobile app built and managed professionally for your small business, a host of firms provide services for that as well. These are some of the less expensive options (while other firms can cost upwards of $10k and cost weeks to develop):

  • Apple’s IOS Developer Program allows you to develop and publish your iPhone app for $99/year.
  • Blue Shoe Mobile Solutions designs apps specifically for restaurants that are compatible for Android and iPhones allowing their customers to place orders; specify delivery method and time; get updates on discounts, promotions, and special events; integrate Facebook and Twitter, and contact you. They charge a one time $250 build fee in addition to $45/month for standard features, weekly data reports, and up to 200 orders a month or $65/month for standard features, weekly data reports, and up to 400 orders a month.
  • Bizness Apps will design an app in 24 hours for $399 with an additional $39-$69/month to expand your app’s compatibility to reach iPad, Android, & HTML5.
  • Interactive Media Lab (IML) produces mobile applications for small business.  The developers at IML build apps that work as simplified versions of websites—perfect for the palm-sized screens on mobile phones. They can create apps for Android, Blackberry and iPhone. IML charges $2,000 to $4,000 to develop the basic type of mobile application small businesses generally use.

What to keep in mind if you decide to build your own mobile app.  Because apps are only compatible with specific devices, you will need to develop separate apps to be compatible for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry devices.

In order to publish your app in the Apple and Android marketplace, it will cost $99/year for a membership to Apple’s developer program and a one-time developer registration fee of $25 for Android.

Be sure to keep track of meaningful metrics and performance. Some developers provide this, otherwise there are some do-it-yourself services. If you decide to sign up for a developer’s service, be mindful of any revenue sharing agreements and calculate how much revenue you could be sharing if your app becomes truly successful in driving up sales.

Keep reading for more tips on building mobile apps for your business, learn how to get free and how to market your new app.

Do you have a question for Dawn, your small business coach?  Don’t panic. She’s here to help!

Be sure to check out our Instant CFO Course to learn everything you need to know about running your company.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Vlad December 1, 2011 at 6:11 pm

i think apps are worth mentioning.The service is very flexible and useful even for those who are not experienced programmers.

Dawn Fotopulos December 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Let us know if you have personal experience with snappii and how it can help our small business owners.

ViziApps December 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Great article! I believe Mobile Apps will eventually become a necessity for businesses of all sizes with all budgets. And you no longer need to hire developers to create your apps. it is now literally as easy as making a powerpoint document. With viziapps platform, you dont need to know anything about coding. Access back-end data to and from your device, including Google Spreadsheets, without
coding. create your own app and test it on your phone for free: This technology fits every budget.

this is going to change how small businesses employ their marketing strategies. mobile app technologies gives small businesses a fighting chance to compete with the big players.

Dawn Fotopulos December 12, 2011 at 4:05 am

We’d love to hear more about ViziApps! Can you give us some success stories? We’d love to publish them.

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