These 4 businesses turned client-facing apps into money-making ideas. Here's how.
Do you think your business is too small to benefit from an app? No way.
Apps offer small businesses a means to increase revenues and visibility, as well as enhance the customer experience. Whether you own a restaurant, offer a service, write a blog, run events, or manage a DIY platform, you can grow your business just by adding an app to your model. But first you have to think of the idea, and that's where many small business owners get stuck.
That's why I've been in touch with entrepreneurs just like you to gather some examples to spark your creative juices. Here's what these forward thinkers have achieved by identifying a problem and creating a solution with the addition of one little app.
Problem: Contractors in the field had difficulty keeping track of orders and spent too much time on the phone ordering and checking on orders.
App Solution: The app gives clients direct access to Sterling's inventory so they can place orders directly into the system. This reduces time spent on ordering and checking status, helping to streamline the ordering process.
Additional Benefits: Sterling's clients now spend more time doing the things that actually make them money: sales and installation. Sterling has seen an increase in orders and customer service reps spend less time talking on the phone, allowing the focus to shift to timely shipping and other priorities.
Speak2Leads automates lead response to increase conversion rates for their clients.
Problem: Speak2Leads' clients were receiving a number of leads from the service, but sales teams were slow to pursue those opportunities. The Speak2Leads client base consists of lean operations, so missed connections were a huge opportunity loss. Also, if they didn't reach prospective clients on the first try, they were likely to give up, and that was costing them a lot of business.
App Solution: The two-tieredapp automatically phones Speak2Leads clients as soon as a prospective customer reaches out via web form, thus eliminating the time gap.
Additional Benefits: When the company tested the app on their own business, prospects loved the fast response time so much that it spoke for itself and resulted in a boom of conversions. Prospects immediately saw the value in the service and the app has been so successful that it's now the core business model for Speak2Leads.
Problem: Customers don't like calculating tips. They also seek a bargain. The restaurant worried that they would lose customers to the competition if they didn't engage in mobile technology.
App Solution: Their app offers atip calculator; access to the menu, website, email, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (they've got some great video parodies and their Throwdown with Bobby Flay appearance); and app-only upgrade specials and exclusive deals.
Additional Benefits: It's a relationship-builder and a deal-maker! One problem solved for guests is the tip calculator: customers use it not only in their restaurant, but others as well. The real bonus? To date, Squeeze In has tracked 3,208 downloads and 1179 customer sales amounting to $30,654.
QuotEd is an educational consulting company that specializes in increasing testing proficiency on standardized tests like ACT, SAT, and GMAT.
Problem: QuotEd has a strong client base of junior athletes who travel extensively for competition and training. Students found it difficult to travel with cumbersome laptops and books so they simply weren't studying.
App Solution: Students may not carry laptops and books,but they carry smartphones wherever they go. The QuotEd Reading Comprehension app allows students to train when it's convenient, whether sitting on a bus, waiting for a friend at the mall, or traveling to an extra-curricular activity.
Additional Benefits: Student scores have improved vastly. In one case, a student's overall score jumped 10 points in a short time, which was so incredible that the ACT and NCAA investigated him for cheating. (Of course he was cleared.) The app has also streamlined services for QuotEd, allowing them to serve more clients and increase revenues.
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka