Mobile friendly websites and applications have become ever more important among small businesses, and now a mobile strategy is widely regarded as a prerequisite for any successful company. Recent survey results compiled by Clutch, a B2B research company, show that small business mobile apps are the new normal, and those businesses that refuse to implement mobile strategies risk falling behind.
Clutch's survey found that 42 percent of responding small businesses currently employ a mobile application. However, that number is expected to rise dramatically, with 67 percent of business owners responding that they intend to have a mobile app by the end of 2017.
"Mobile apps for small business is not a mature market yet, but if small businesses haven't considered building an app yet, they're behind," Cameron Banga, project manager and cofounder of app developer 9magnets, told Clutch. [See Related Story: Best Mobile App Makers of 2017]
Getting started with mobile
Whether the goal is increasing sales, improving customer service or creating an additional vehicle to drive your brand, the benefits of implementing mobile applications for small businesses are many. But how can you go about developing a mobile application without significant experience?
There are, of course, mobile application creation platforms that enable users to make an app without any background coding knowledge. However, if you want something more specific, you could employ an internal team, contract with an application development company or use a combination of in-house and external resources.
According to Clutch's research, many industry experts recommend using a blended approach that draws on insights from professionals but doesn't exclusively rely on their expertise without in-house knowledge of the business and its long-term objectives.
"A mix of the two is most optimal," Dmitry Pukhtin, chief sales officer for app developer Touch Instinct, told the research group. "The combination does the best to identify the needs of the customers, as external resources can bring the most expertise about needs of the marketplace."
The data shows small businesses are largely following this multipronged approach. While 49 percent of respondents said they were dedicating mostly internal resources to the development process, 47 percent were also in contact with a freelance developer or consultant, 43 percent partnered with a development company and 40 percent employed app-builder software.
Regardless of the preferred development method, the need for a mobile application is becoming more essential. As mobile becomes the standard in most every industry, small businesses should look to keep up. As the number of mobile users continues to increase – even surpassing the number of desktop users – the demand among consumers for mobile applications will only grow.