7 Things to Consider When Starting a Mobile App Company

7 Things to Consider When Starting a Mobile App Company

The rise of online DIY app builders has made it easy for business minded people to enter the mobile market. White label app building platforms give entrepreneurial minded individuals all the tools they need to start their own mobile app company without the need to add expensive developers to the payroll.

White label is by far the simplest way to get involved in the mobile market. DIY app building platforms give you full control of your business. From branding, to pricing, to sales and marketing, you are completely free to implement your own business model. Easy to use drop and drag interfaces make meeting the mobile needs of a variety of different small businesses as simple as point and click.

If you are looking for a low-risk business option, white label app creation is as easy as they come. And, with the rising demand for mobile, now is the time to do so.

Here are seven things that you should think about to help put your white label app venture on a successful path.

Questions to Ask When Starting a Mobile App Company

What Industries Would You Sell To?

The most important thing you need to ask yourself is, “Whom do I want to sell to?” Are you looking to sell strictly to restaurants, or do you think you can corner the education app market?

This question is literally the most important one to ask because you will need to find a white label platform that offers the right components to drop and drag your apps into existence.

In addition, determining what industry or industries you want to sell to will allow you to start to develop your marketing plan. It’s not wise for anyone embarking on any business endeavor to dive in headfirst and hope. A bit of planning and some foresight are the cornerstones of any business venture — especially one that involves such a rapidly growing market like mobile apps. Think, plan, and then start to play.

How Would You Sell to Your Preferred Industry?

The mobile app market is competitive, so you need to be prepared to do your due diligence. It’s more than pointing and clicking an app into reality and then walking away. Like any business, there are sales and marketing involved to keep your business afloat.

So, you need a solid sales plan in place before you start investing in a white label app platform. If you are new to the mobile app business, you should look for a platform that offers training in sales and marketing relative to the app market. Do a bit of training, and spend some time putting together a solid sales and marketing plan.

You need to learn some successful sales and marketing tactics such as:

  • What is the best way to sell to small businesses?
  • How do you best market your mobile app company?
  • Which pieces of functionality really help a business grow?
  • Where will you find leads to sell to?
  • What should your presentations look like?

The list could go on and on. But the bottom line is very simple — learn what you need to learn about how to sell the product you want to make. This too will help set your white label app venture up for success.

How Will You Brand Your Business?

Your brand is how your clients know you, and it’s incredibly important. Developing a brand takes a lot of research, thought, and trial and error. Do not take this step in the process lightly. What makes it so important?

  • Your logo is how your customers will recognize you.
  • Your tagline is what will make your customers remember you.
  • Your vision is what will make your customers believe in your product.
  • Your mission is what will make your customers trust you.

You cannot take any of these things for granted. You need to build trust and loyalty, and a solid brand is the key to doing so. If you do not invest your time and energy in this step, you are making your business vulnerable to your competitors who have.

Your brand is what you represent. You need to believe in what you are doing so your customers will too.

What Features are Most Important to You and Your Customers?

Now with the foundation in place, you can start to look at the type of apps you want to create. The easiest way to do this is to look through the app stores. Ask yourself:

  • What do my competitors’ apps look like?
  • What are the reviews saying they are lacking?
  • How can I do what they are doing even better?

Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the niche market you want to build your app for. Find out what the people who will actually use the app would like to see implemented.

All too often, we go to the heads of companies to pitch ideas. While the owner of a restaurant may have the checkbook, the servers and the people in the trenches are the ones who will be using the app.  See what they need to simplify their jobs. You are bound to get some good feedback and some great ideas.

How Much Support and Training Will You Need?

Remember, you are not just going to build an app, throw it in the app store and hope it’s successful. There is an entire cycle you have to go through to get your app on the device of the users who will benefit from it. So, you need to take a good hard look in the mirror and examine your strengths and weaknesses. Are you good with computers but bad with sales? Are you an excellent sales person who is totally turned off by technology?

Your technology IQ today may be great, but what will it be next week? You need to ask yourself, “How much support and training am I going to need to stay in this business for years to come?” And more importantly, you need to ask yourself, “In what nuance of this business do I need the most training?”

Then, you need to make sure that you find a white label platform that offers training in the areas you will need assistance with. A good hard look in the mirror is difficult for most of us, but when you are considering investing time and money into a business venture, looking at your faults, flaws and weaknesses and developing a plan to strengthen them is a lot cheaper than paying for the mistakes they will create later.

Are You Able to Design Apps Yourself or Will You Need a Graphic Designer?

While looks are not everything, it would be a lie to say that people never judge a book by its cover, right? We are naturally compelled to lean towards things that are more pleasing to the eye — even if it’s not always the smartest decision.

Do you possess the skills to design the graphics that will make your app stand out amongst the competition? While most white label platforms have templates that you can choose from that will compliment your niche, if you can design something that will stand out, you will be putting yourself in a position to have your app chosen over your competition.

You might want to think about partnering with a graphic designer. While looks are not everything, they certainly are a great selling point.

What is Your Goal for Your End Game?

Ultimately, you need to know what your end game is. Do you expect to corner the market on educational apps, or are you just looking to supplement your income and pay off a few bills?

Starting a mobile app company can help grow your income moderately, and if done right, it can replace your full time career. It all boils down to how much time and energy you want to invest in making it a reality. Make sure that is clearly established in your mind when you start to put your company together.

Conclusion

White label goods and services have been around for decades. In every industry you could imagine, businesses create products that are rebranded by their partners to sell as their own.

The technology industry, and the mobile app sector in particular, is no exception. As consumers go mobile by the tens of millions, businesses are rushing to catch up, and cash in.

If you are planning on starting your own mobile app company, you have to make sure you do a lot of planning and ask yourself some really hard questions. A good solid plan, and a good analysis of the industry in which you hope to compete, can go a long way in setting your white label business venture on the path to success.

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Consider These Tips When Picking Your First Office Space

Choosing an office isn’t just a matter of taking the nearest available real estate. Here are some tips for finding an office space, especially your first.

No matter what business you’re in, choosing a first-rate office is important. When your work location allows you to focus on tasks, meet clients with confidence, and project a professional image all at the same time, it’s easier to achieve results that can help you take your business up a notch.

However, choosing an office isn’t just a matter of taking the nearest available real estate space. Many factors need to be considered for your property investment to pay off and lower the chances you’ll pick a space that doesn’t fit your needs to a T. For that, you can refer to the tips below.

Tips for Finding an Office Space

Plan Your Business Needs to the Last Detail

By knowing your business needs inside and out, you can narrow down your office space options in no time. Before you decide to bring your business to the nearest center of entrepreneurial activity, ask these questions first:

  • What are the tools, equipment and peripherals you need, at the least?
  • How many employees do you have, if any?
  • How much space do you need to accommodate your equipment and employees?
  • What other amenities, other than the bare essentials, should the office be able to accommodate?
  • Does the office have a space where you can meet clients and other visitors?
  • Is the office conducive to work? Is it free of noise, glare and unpleasant smells? If not, what can you do to make it better?
  • Do you foresee having to expand your space? If so, when do you expect it to happen?
  • Can you afford to pay for the office, regardless of your level of income and expenses? Your benchmark value should be the difference between your lowest projected income and highest projected expenses.
  • Is the location as accessible as possible for you, your employees, your partner companies and your target clients/customers?

If it’s challenging to answer these questions at the moment, try to visualize what your business will be like once it’s up and running. After all, a TD Bank survey says that 76 percent of business owners credit their success to the use of visualization techniques.

One technique you can use is the mind map. Essentially, the mind map starts with one central idea that branches out into several interrelated ideas. For example, you can write the word “business” on a board, encircle it, draw lines emanating from the circle connected to phrases like “location,” “employees” and “equipment” and so on and so forth. The idea is to make a clear yet comprehensive visual model that helps you pin down every possible consideration for choosing an office space.

Mobilize Your Real Estate Team ASAP

Of course, purchasing office space isn’t like plucking SPAM off a Wal-Mart shelf and checking out with the cashier. You have documents to prepare, papers to sign and landlords to negotiate with. It can be hard to handle all this, unless you have a team of experts to help you.

In particular, a real estate broker who specializes in corporate properties can be invaluable. Because they have a thorough understanding of your business needs, brokers can connect you with the owners of properties most suitable to your needs. Plus, if you’re lucky to land a tenant broker, you can cut back on costs since those types of brokers are typically compensated by landlords.

You’ll also need a lawyer who’s experienced with real estate matters. A lawyer can help you iron out any kinks in your lease contract, and ensure that the terms and conditions are as favorable to you as possible. Speaking of which …

Consider Leasing

Unless you have millions of dollars in extra cash, it wouldn’t be practical to purchase your own property outright. That’s why most startup owners prefer to lease instead.

Aside from lower upfront expenses, leasing also lightens the pressure to compensate for your property investment ASAP. The cost of an upfront purchase can take at least seven years to recoup, while a lease contract can last from two to three years. Essentially, leases grant you more flexibility in case your business grows faster or slower than anticipated. Lease payments can also be used as tax deductions, which translates to lower expenses during the life of your business.

Be aware that there are different types of leases you can take advantage of, as follows:

  • Net Lease. Aside from your monthly rent, you also pay a portion of expenses such as taxes, insurance and maintenance.
  • Double Net Lease. Your lease is equal to the sum of your rent, taxes and insurance.
  • Triple Net Lease. Your lease is equal to the sum of your rent, taxes, insurance and maintenance.
  • Gross/Fully Serviced/Fixed Lease. Your landlord pays most or all of your operating expenses, though a portion of these may be passed on to you as a “load factor.”

Again, be sure to consult a lawyer for any vaguely worded provisions in your lease. These contracts are often skewed heavily in the landlord’s favor, so it’s important every term and condition is clear to you.

Consider Shared Office Spaces

You don’t have to shoulder the lease by yourself. If there are other tenants who lease the same office space, you can divvy up your expenses with them. And if those tenants are engaged in businesses complementary to yours, you can also establish strategic partnerships that will benefit everyone involved.

Have a Backup Plan

It’s possible that, even after careful consideration, your choice of office space may not be the best one after all. To offset any frustrations you might have with that arrangement, choose up to five possible offices that meet most or all of your criteria. Any more than five and you’ll end up with what is known as analysis paralysis, or the inability to make decisions due to the overabundance of choices.

With these tips, you should be able to construct a general plan for choosing an ideal office space.

Office Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

7 Things to Consider When Starting a Mobile App Company

7 Things to Consider When Starting a Mobile App Company

The rise of online DIY app builders has made it easy for business minded people to enter the mobile market. White label app building platforms give entrepreneurial minded individuals all the tools they need to start their own mobile app company without the need to add expensive developers to the payroll.

White label is by far the simplest way to get involved in the mobile market. DIY app building platforms give you full control of your business. From branding, to pricing, to sales and marketing, you are completely free to implement your own business model. Easy to use drop and drag interfaces make meeting the mobile needs of a variety of different small businesses as simple as point and click.

If you are looking for a low-risk business option, white label app creation is as easy as they come. And, with the rising demand for mobile, now is the time to do so.

Here are seven things that you should think about to help put your white label app venture on a successful path.

Questions to Ask When Starting a Mobile App Company

What Industries Would You Sell To?

The most important thing you need to ask yourself is, “Whom do I want to sell to?” Are you looking to sell strictly to restaurants, or do you think you can corner the education app market?

This question is literally the most important one to ask because you will need to find a white label platform that offers the right components to drop and drag your apps into existence.

In addition, determining what industry or industries you want to sell to will allow you to start to develop your marketing plan. It’s not wise for anyone embarking on any business endeavor to dive in headfirst and hope. A bit of planning and some foresight are the cornerstones of any business venture — especially one that involves such a rapidly growing market like mobile apps. Think, plan, and then start to play.

How Would You Sell to Your Preferred Industry?

The mobile app market is competitive, so you need to be prepared to do your due diligence. It’s more than pointing and clicking an app into reality and then walking away. Like any business, there are sales and marketing involved to keep your business afloat.

So, you need a solid sales plan in place before you start investing in a white label app platform. If you are new to the mobile app business, you should look for a platform that offers training in sales and marketing relative to the app market. Do a bit of training, and spend some time putting together a solid sales and marketing plan.

You need to learn some successful sales and marketing tactics such as:

  • What is the best way to sell to small businesses?
  • How do you best market your mobile app company?
  • Which pieces of functionality really help a business grow?
  • Where will you find leads to sell to?
  • What should your presentations look like?

The list could go on and on. But the bottom line is very simple — learn what you need to learn about how to sell the product you want to make. This too will help set your white label app venture up for success.

How Will You Brand Your Business?

Your brand is how your clients know you, and it’s incredibly important. Developing a brand takes a lot of research, thought, and trial and error. Do not take this step in the process lightly. What makes it so important?

  • Your logo is how your customers will recognize you.
  • Your tagline is what will make your customers remember you.
  • Your vision is what will make your customers believe in your product.
  • Your mission is what will make your customers trust you.

You cannot take any of these things for granted. You need to build trust and loyalty, and a solid brand is the key to doing so. If you do not invest your time and energy in this step, you are making your business vulnerable to your competitors who have.

Your brand is what you represent. You need to believe in what you are doing so your customers will too.

What Features are Most Important to You and Your Customers?

Now with the foundation in place, you can start to look at the type of apps you want to create. The easiest way to do this is to look through the app stores. Ask yourself:

  • What do my competitors’ apps look like?
  • What are the reviews saying they are lacking?
  • How can I do what they are doing even better?

Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the niche market you want to build your app for. Find out what the people who will actually use the app would like to see implemented.

All too often, we go to the heads of companies to pitch ideas. While the owner of a restaurant may have the checkbook, the servers and the people in the trenches are the ones who will be using the app.  See what they need to simplify their jobs. You are bound to get some good feedback and some great ideas.

How Much Support and Training Will You Need?

Remember, you are not just going to build an app, throw it in the app store and hope it’s successful. There is an entire cycle you have to go through to get your app on the device of the users who will benefit from it. So, you need to take a good hard look in the mirror and examine your strengths and weaknesses. Are you good with computers but bad with sales? Are you an excellent sales person who is totally turned off by technology?

Your technology IQ today may be great, but what will it be next week? You need to ask yourself, “How much support and training am I going to need to stay in this business for years to come?” And more importantly, you need to ask yourself, “In what nuance of this business do I need the most training?”

Then, you need to make sure that you find a white label platform that offers training in the areas you will need assistance with. A good hard look in the mirror is difficult for most of us, but when you are considering investing time and money into a business venture, looking at your faults, flaws and weaknesses and developing a plan to strengthen them is a lot cheaper than paying for the mistakes they will create later.

Are You Able to Design Apps Yourself or Will You Need a Graphic Designer?

While looks are not everything, it would be a lie to say that people never judge a book by its cover, right? We are naturally compelled to lean towards things that are more pleasing to the eye — even if it’s not always the smartest decision.

Do you possess the skills to design the graphics that will make your app stand out amongst the competition? While most white label platforms have templates that you can choose from that will compliment your niche, if you can design something that will stand out, you will be putting yourself in a position to have your app chosen over your competition.

You might want to think about partnering with a graphic designer. While looks are not everything, they certainly are a great selling point.

What is Your Goal for Your End Game?

Ultimately, you need to know what your end game is. Do you expect to corner the market on educational apps, or are you just looking to supplement your income and pay off a few bills?

Starting a mobile app company can help grow your income moderately, and if done right, it can replace your full time career. It all boils down to how much time and energy you want to invest in making it a reality. Make sure that is clearly established in your mind when you start to put your company together.

Conclusion

White label goods and services have been around for decades. In every industry you could imagine, businesses create products that are rebranded by their partners to sell as their own.

The technology industry, and the mobile app sector in particular, is no exception. As consumers go mobile by the tens of millions, businesses are rushing to catch up, and cash in.

If you are planning on starting your own mobile app company, you have to make sure you do a lot of planning and ask yourself some really hard questions. A good solid plan, and a good analysis of the industry in which you hope to compete, can go a long way in setting your white label business venture on the path to success.

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

As the Job Market Heats Up, Consider These Bonuses to Keep Employees Happy

Types of Bonuses to Consider

A bonus is additional compensation paid to an employee. As the job market heats up, the competition among employers to attract and retain good workers is growing. Bonuses may be a way for your company to gain a competitive edge in the job market. This is especially true for small businesses that may not offer the same menu of fringe benefits that large corporations do.

Common Types of Bonuses

Signing Bonuses

When you hear the term “signing bonus” you may think about a sports team. Increasingly, businesses are using the concept to attract the best and brightest. According to the Society for Humans Resource Management, only 31.6 percent of employers offered them in 2002. World at Work in 2011 found that it was up to 54 percent. Typically, signing bonuses aren’t paid in a lump sum but over the course of a year or more to ensure that the person hired works out.

Retention Bonuses

These are much less common than signing bonuses. They’re made to keep a key employee with the company during a critical project or at other desperate times. I’m presenting this because they exist. However, there’s been a lot of criticism about retention bonuses; decide for yourself.

Incentive/Performance Bonuses

As the name implies, these are paid as an incentive to employees to achieve a benchmark in performance. These are common for those in sales, but can be used for any type of employee who completes a project on time and within budget.

Year-end Bonuses

Year-end bonuses are the most common type of bonuses in the workplace. What’s going to be paid this year? It’s too early to tell, but expect that the range will vary by industry in general and by employer in particular. In past years, year-end bonuses may be small tokens of appreciation paid at holiday time (do you recall the Jelly-of-the Month in the movie “Christmas Vacation”?) or meaningful cash payments (e.g., equal to a month’s salary).

Some companies delay the year-end bonus until they’ve had an opportunity to close the books and see what they can afford. In a sense, these companies are paying a profit-sharing amount to employees who helped with their success.

Other Types of Bonuses

While the ones discussed earlier are the most common, companies can use bonuses for any good business purpose. Some examples:

  • Suggestion bonuses are for providing ways for the company to do things better, safer or cheaper.
  • Referral bonuses are for suggesting a new employee. The payment is made if the referral is hired.
  • Spot bonuses are out-of-the-blue payments for something special, such as a particularly good job by a worker. They function like a performance bonus, but they’re not announced in advance to serve as an incentive.
  • Task/mission bonuses are also like incentive or spot bonuses paid for a job well done, but typically they are awarded to a team rather than a single employee.

Financial and Tax Considerations

How much to pay depends on various factors. For example, when it comes to a signing bonus, the factors include what you can afford, the level and talent of the employee, and whether there is a scarcity of talent for the position you’re trying to fill. A rule of thumb for signing bonuses is 5 percent to 10 percent of base pay for professionals and middle managers.

From a tax perspective, it’s easy: bonuses of all types are taxable compensation. Withholding can be done in either of two ways:

  • Add the bonus to regular compensation and figure withholding in the usual way.
  • Withhold separately on the bonus at a flat rate of 25 percent. (For bonuses over $1 million, unlikely in a small business, the flat rate is 39.6 percent.)

Conclusion

It’s good business practice to review your policy on bonuses to make sure you’re staying competitive. Then determine the amount you can pay and who on your staff will receive them. Work with your CPA or other financial advisor to make sure you’re doing the right thing.

Bonus Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]