It seems nowadays almost everybody has some form of online presence and, for the most part, an app to boot … but just how do you weigh up the benefit of it vs the initial cost to start it all off. Website design, when done well, can be expensive – and applications aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. For a small business owner like myself – albeit running a rather modest Gas Cooker Installation company, the pros and cons seemed well counter-balanced.
- I could target customers more effectively and reach a new audience
- I could take the next step into the digital future
- I could fast-track existing customers using ‘push updates’ so they could keep on top of their allocated gas engineers and installation times without paying as many staff to manage the phones.
- I didn’t have great experience with app developers and was concerned I would be taken for a ride
- I didn’t have a large enough audience to satiate the costs of developing an application
- Just as much of my business if based on referrals and could be more cost-effectively increased with bounty offers and deals
So just how do you decide where the fine balance between profit and sense ends and begins? Well the rationale may be complex but the decision is often obvious. Unless you want to try and recoup the costs of the application development and submission into the App store and Play store by thrusting annoying adverts in your customers faces the entire time, you would almost certainly incur a heavy starting cost. While this is acceptable for apps that are likely to hit 10,000+ downloads, local companies will find themselves haemorrhaging cash with almost no chance of a return. In the end the decision was painfully made for me – that while my online presence is essential to the running of my business, creating an application so early on would be a quick way to burn a hole in my pocket and the Gas Cooker Installers brand would certainly suffer.
This is not to say that an App is not a perfect fit for many companies out there with a product-line to monetise or a game that many will enjoy – most would argue that is a no-brainer in fact … I just think there has to come a time when small businesses like mine take a stand against the digital frontier and realise that just because others have it – doesn’t mean it’s best for everyone.