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How Small Businesses Build Mobile Apps & How They Can Do It Better

Learn How Small Businesses Build Mobile Apps Today and How They can Do Even BetterSmall businesses need mobile apps as much as larger businesses, but they face serious problems building them, notably a lack of resources. A new report from the small business-focused website The Manifest details those issues, and offers a look at the state-of-the-art in app development for small businesses. And another report, from Clutch, “Should Your Small Business Invest in a Mobile App?” finds similar results.

Let’s first take a look at the findings in the Manifest report, “How Small Businesses Build Mobile Apps.” It found that a surprisingly high percentage of small businesses have built apps before 2017 — almost half (47 percent) of them have done so. However, the very smallest businesses lag behind. Thirty percent of small businesses with one employee say they haven’t yet built an app and have no plans to build one.

The report found that a surprisingly high percentage of small businesses who have built mobile apps do it in-house — 46 percent. Forty-one percent use a freelancer or consultant to do it. As for app development costs, 48 percent of small businesses who have built apps say it cost them $25,000 or less, 37 percent say it cost between $25,001 and $100,000, and 15 percent say it cost more than $100,000. That’s a serious budget hit for small businesses. It means that more than half — 52 percent — spend more than $25,000 for every app they build.

The Clutch report “Should Your Small Business Invest in a Mobile App?” found similar results. It says nearly half of small businesses (42 percent) already have a mobile app and 30 percent plan to build one. But it also found mobile app development was somewhat stagnant, because last year’s report also found 42 percent of businesses had already built a mobile app.

The report also found an age gap in app development in small businesses: More than half of small businesses (52 percent) of small businesses owned by millennials have mobile apps, while only 13 percent of small businesses owned by baby boomers already have one.

The Manifest report says that it would be better for small businesses if their in-house staff built their mobile apps, noting, “Unlike an external partner, in-house staff is likely already familiar with your company’s goals, branding, and culture. Costs would not significantly increase and the work would require little transfer of knowledge.” However, it adds that “This approach only works, however, for small businesses that already have technically qualified staff.” And that can a roadblock for many, considering how difficult it is to find and hire mobile developers, and their high salaries.

At Alpha Software, we know the problems that small businesses face in developing mobile apps in-house. And that’s a big reason we’ve developed Alpha Anywhere. It’s a low-code/no-code rapid mobile application development (RMAD) tool that lets people without technical experience write mobile apps. Alpha Anywhere is one of the most highly rated RMAD low-code platforms. InfoWorld named it a top mobile app development leader, and users continually rate it tops on product review sites. Here are details about Alpha Anywhere’s low-code capabilities.

Learn to build a mobile app quickly Build a Mobile Application Quickly in Alpha Anywhere - A Tutorial.

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.