Create a micro-business, with micro-money … for micro-customers
I had an interesting discussion on Twitter today after I posed the following question:
Small businesses are often quick to adopt new mobile technology but slow to use it to its full potential, why don’t the have apps?
I had my own assumptions, such as the barriers of cost and time. I’ve also discussed the value of mobile apps with a number small business owners over the last year. So I wasn’t surprised that the perceived cost of implementation and fear of investing in technology which isn’t proven for their particular niche were the top responses.

We reassure potential clients with phrases like “Apps delivered on time and on budget”, “Mobilise with low cost, cloud based, template apps”, and “Write once. Deploy on any device” yet, in Wellington, 37% of business don’t have a web presence. The likelihood of those SMBs wanting a mobile app is infinitesimal. Of the businesses that Splace have approached, that have a websites, the response were “What’s a mobile app?” and “We don’t see how that’s going to be of value to us”.

Even with smartphone ownership doubling in the past year engaging with New Zealand’s long tail is more about personal will power, trying to convince them of the benefits, than working with them in creating value for their business.

If you’re to believe the information prevalent on the internet, the solution to this is providing value for potential clients is metrics. Traffic and conversions, fan and followers, conversation participation, and social reach are all required key performance indicators your clients should know. This is, of course, an inflated view created by marketeers. I suspect most SMBs are like us, content that they have a regular income and a few trustworthy clients.

At Splace we have been building mobile apps since 2004 and web sites from 1997. I have seen many synergies since Apple released the iPhone SDK with the rise of the mobile app revolution and the birth of the web design/development business. Once upon a time business were struggling with legacy systems and the newly formed internet, now it’s the transition from web apps to mobile devices. We know that native apps create a far better user experience than web sites formatted for small devices yet SMBs will often leverage their web development company to build their mobile presence. The reality is, however, that the birth of the web design/development business was merely the bridge between legacy system development and mobile app development. Of those who venture into native apps, most will use someone via word of mouth or even Facebook. Others will pay a family member to produce their app. This again, is a rehash of the experiences of the early days of the web.

We are all running a micro-business every time we engage in online auctions

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