Is it Time for Your Business to Go Mobile?

mobile app user

Now that mobile is coming to the forefront of marketing and Web development (to say the least), applications are naturally becoming more and more important. Although this used to be somewhat advanced and even confusing in the past, the latest mobile technology has made it possible for virtually every company and every type of company to create an app. The big question is simply whether or not it’s the right move for any given company.

As just about everyone with a smartphone already knows (all 2 billion of you), an app, or application, is a piece of code that you create that is completely separate from your website. This means that you have to create something entirely new and manage the app on it’s own.

The benefits are discussed above, but by and large many companies are creating apps as a way to make their information even more accessible and give their clients and customers another avenue to engage with the company faster and easier than in the past.

A mobile website is great and necessary thanks to mobilegeddon, but apps take things one-step further, which you can learn more about below.

An app is a great and creative option, but keep in mind, not every company is suited for an app, even in 2015.

Benefits of Creating an Application for Your Company

The truth is that creating a mobile application isn’t much trouble at all. It’s important first, however, to consider some of the benefits and see if an app is right for you. Some of these benefits include:

Convenient for Users

Once a user downloads the app, all they have to do is click it and they’re ready to go. Although some companies may think having to download the app is a disadvantage, people are beginning to make using apps commonplace. The whole idea behind applications is convenience for users, and they know that.

Customization Available

Because an app is a native piece of code, you can customize it in any way you see fit for your company. This means that you have complete control over how relevant and helpful your app is to your customers and clients. If there was ever something about your company that you hoped could be easier, an app just might be the answer.

Reach

Apps could very well help you reach a new audience. More and more people are beginning to shy away from desktops and traditional websites and are using apps and their mobile phones as their connection to the Web.

Easy Integration

Apps can be created to sync up with information that a user may have in their phone. For example, if your customer wanted to get a content update from your website, an app might allow them to sync this up with their mobile calendar.

Extra Cash

Many companies choose to create a free app as a way to help customers make purchasing decisions easier, but some have been successful selling the actual app itself. Either way, it usually can’t hurt to create an app.

PR Tool

Apps are currently a huge trending topic in the media. Lists of some of the latest apps do well because there is such a demand for that type of content, so you can use your app as a PR tool and help get your brand into that discussion.

Competition

Many of your competitors will start creating apps, so you don’t want to fall behind. At this point, you might be one of the first in your industry or in your area, but that is a great way to stand out and grab the entire audience that is looking for an app for the type of work that you do.

One of the most important things to realize about a mobile app is that it is not a mobile website. A mobile website is simply using your website and customizing it for the mobile screen and the mobile user. It is not a native piece of code. Creating a mobile website should probably be your first plan of action, and an app second.

When Creating a Company App Might Not Be Right for Your Company

So naturally, with pros come a few cons. In general, there are two things that deter companies from creating an app: First, you can only run your app on one platform, which means that you have to develop multiple apps if you want them to be available for different operating systems (BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, etc.). Second, users have to download and find the app from an app store. You can advertise your app on your website, but they can’t get it right then and there. It’s something to consider. If this is your biggest worry, I recommend checking out this article that discusses App Store Optimization, or ASO.

Your Turn

Of course once you decide if an app is right for your company, you have to work with a developer and make it happen. What you want out of an app, how you want it designed, how you want it to work, and more can get very involved, so it’s best to work with a professional to put your plans into action. You can learn more about how to create and optimize an app here.

Have you ever created a mobile app for your company? Did you find it successful, or would your time have been better spent elsewhere? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Mobile User Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Is it Time for Your Business to Go Mobile?” was first published on Small Business Trends

6 Insider Tips for Writing Emails That People Will Actually Read

Most people feel overburdened by email. Here’s how to make them care about yours.



Imbue Tea Infuser Brews Using Magnets

Imbue tea magnetic tea infuser

Many tea drinkers will tell you that for superior flavor, the best option is loose leaf tea.

Unfortunately, the drawback to using loose leaf is the mess involved with brewing it. This is especially true if you are away from home.

But a group of Western Washington University students have created a product they believe will make brewing loose leaf tea on the go easy and mess free.

The group has dubbed their creation Imbue, the magnetic tea infusing vessel. It’s a travel mug crafted from shatter-resistant borosilicate glass with a magnetic bamboo lid and stainless steel strainer. The magnetic Imbue tea infuser also comes with a removable natural fabric sleeve with a no-slip suede lining

The group claims the stainless steel strainer magnetically connects to the lid with ease. No need to twist the infuser into place or fumble with clamps. Once the strainer is in place, tea is brewed by flipping Imbue upside down.

After an initial small production run that sold out at the first showing, the group has decided to go big and start production on a large scale. To get things going, Imbue is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. The campaign met its goal the first day and has now raised more than $154,000 in pledges.

For more information on Imbue check out the Kickstarter video below.


According to the Imbue Kickstarter page, money raised will go to more than just production:

“Our Kickstarter campaign will not only enable us to produce the highest quality product possible, but also help support the WWU student chapter of IDSA, Industrial Design Society of America. IDSA provides opportunities by putting on design events, educating students with guest speakers, and arranging job shadows with different design firms around the country.”

Instead of going an entirely different route, the team behind the Imbue tea infuser seeks to simplify and refine the infusion method. The infuser’s combination of glass, wood, and stainless steel adds to Imbue’s appeal, particularly with the trendy coffee shop crowd.

While the trendy and aesthetic design makes Imbue desirable to look at, it’s the magnetic lid that lends the Imbue tea infuser its functionality. It’s an innovative design that could cut down on the mess and frustrations of brewing loose leaf tea.

Currently, you can pre-order the Imbue tea infuser for $29. That’s not a bad price for a product like this on Kickstarter. There is no expected shipping date listed on the Imbue campaign page, though.

Image: Imbue

This article, “Imbue Tea Infuser Brews Using Magnets” was first published on Small Business Trends

Imbue Tea Infuser Brews Using Magnets

Imbue tea magnetic tea infuser

Many tea drinkers will tell you that for superior flavor, the best option is loose leaf tea.

Unfortunately, the drawback to using loose leaf is the mess involved with brewing it. This is especially true if you are away from home.

But a group of Western Washington University students have created a product they believe will make brewing loose leaf tea on the go easy and mess free.

The group has dubbed their creation Imbue, the magnetic tea infusing vessel. It’s a travel mug crafted from shatter-resistant borosilicate glass with a magnetic bamboo lid and stainless steel strainer. The magnetic Imbue tea infuser also comes with a removable natural fabric sleeve with a no-slip suede lining

The group claims the stainless steel strainer magnetically connects to the lid with ease. No need to twist the infuser into place or fumble with clamps. Once the strainer is in place, tea is brewed by flipping Imbue upside down.

After an initial small production run that sold out at the first showing, the group has decided to go big and start production on a large scale. To get things going, Imbue is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. The campaign met its goal the first day and has now raised more than $154,000 in pledges.

For more information on Imbue check out the Kickstarter video below.


According to the Imbue Kickstarter page, money raised will go to more than just production:

“Our Kickstarter campaign will not only enable us to produce the highest quality product possible, but also help support the WWU student chapter of IDSA, Industrial Design Society of America. IDSA provides opportunities by putting on design events, educating students with guest speakers, and arranging job shadows with different design firms around the country.”

Instead of going an entirely different route, the team behind the Imbue tea infuser seeks to simplify and refine the infusion method. The infuser’s combination of glass, wood, and stainless steel adds to Imbue’s appeal, particularly with the trendy coffee shop crowd.

While the trendy and aesthetic design makes Imbue desirable to look at, it’s the magnetic lid that lends the Imbue tea infuser its functionality. It’s an innovative design that could cut down on the mess and frustrations of brewing loose leaf tea.

Currently, you can pre-order the Imbue tea infuser for $29. That’s not a bad price for a product like this on Kickstarter. There is no expected shipping date listed on the Imbue campaign page, though.

Image: Imbue

This article, “Imbue Tea Infuser Brews Using Magnets” was first published on Small Business Trends

ReTargeter Creator Aims to Replace CRM with New Immediately App

immediately app

Arjun Arora, creator of ReTargeter, which presents highly targeted ads to consumers, moved on quickly after selling his six-year-old startup this past March. And now a new app called Immediately is his new gig.

The Immediately app is designed to integrate deeply with Gmail and Salesforce to help salespeople better manage their workflow. It does so by providing the ability to monitor leads and log phone calls. It also notifies users when recipients open emails, among other things.

The startup is located at 2 Mint Plaza in San Francisco.

“I joined as a late co-founder,” Arora told Small Business Trends in an exclusive interview.

He first met co-founders CTO James Mock and CEO Branko Cerny in October 2013 when the two were just starting out.

“Two brilliant young first-time founders had gotten the company to a great place and it made sense for me to join and help take the company to a new level,” he said. “When I was ready to get back into operating I happened to reconnect and it all made sense.”

Replacing CRM?

Mock and Branko initially focused their efforts on an email organizer app but later decided to focus specifically on sales with Immediately. The platform aims for nothing less than to replace the CRM concept with a mobile program that is “data-driven” and “highly automated.”

It’s deeply invested in “becoming the one product that a sales rep wants to use day in and day out,” Arora noted on Immediately’s website.

Noting that more than 70 percent of lost deals happen due to slow reaction time, the program aims to fix that by freeing up salespeople to focus more on the selling process itself.

The Immediately app has gotten kudos from the likes of Peter Kazanjy, Monster’s Vice President of Products and Technology, who said:

“Two things are important in sales: activity and timing. Immediately gives you both. The ability to react in real time to a prospect with a logged call or a templated, instrumented email is game changing.”

The Immediately app has also gotten funding. Cofounder Cerny told TechCrunch that Immediately had raised $2 million in funding and was working with pilot customers, including Tapsense, UserVoice, NatureBox, Spark Central, New Relic and ZenPayroll.

Immediately’s investors include Streamlined Ventures, Maiden Lane, Galvanize VC, Queensbridge, Friendster and Nuzzel founder Jonathan Abrams, TalentBin co-founder Peter Kazanjy, EdgeSpring co-founder Ryan Lange, and HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes.

Before Immediately

Arora’s earlier company ReTargeter was purchased  for an undisclosed price in late March by Sellpoints, which distributes media content for manufacturers.

“It started as a business partnership and turned into an acquisition,” Arora told Small Business Trends. “It started as a solution that their clients could use and to help them win more business and then turn it into an acquisition.”

The acquisition benefits SellPoints by enabling it to combine its massive collection of consumer data with ReTargeter’s ad network to bolster and expand efforts to reach online shoppers.

Image: Immediately

This article, “ReTargeter Creator Aims to Replace CRM with New Immediately App” was first published on Small Business Trends

Reports: Grand Jury Indicts Six Officers in Freddie Gray Case

According to reports, Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced today that a grand jury has indicted the six police officers charged in the case of the death of Freddie Gray. He died April 19 after injuries sustained while in police custody.

Mosby also said the grand jury’s charges reflect those initially brought by her office, and the most serious charge is still against the van driver, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who faces second-degree depraved-heart murder.

The other officers charged in the case are Lt. Brian Rice; Sgt. Alicia White; Officer Garrett E. Miller; Officer William G. Porter; and Officer Edward M. Nero.

New charges in the case include reckless endangerment. Charges of false imprisonment were removed.

Gray, 25, suffered a spinal cord injury and died after being arrested by police and put in the back of their van for transport to a precinct. His death sparked outrage, protests, violence and subsequent calls for justice and investigation.

Check out reactions via social below:

Join Us in the #MSFTBizTips “Grow a Dynamic Business” Chat

twitter chat microsoft

Productivity is imperative in your small business. It leads directly to profitability.

But productivity means different things to different people.

Certainly it involves effectively managing your team and workforce. It includes things like effective time management and good communications and collaboration with your team too.

But today it’s also about leveraging the powerful technologies available to all small businesses.

It’s about technologies like the cloud.

The cloud gives you a convenient place to store important files and projects. It allows you to then easily share these files with your team and clients. And it provides automatic backup of all work. (Imagine no more need to email important documents to team members or carefully track revisions.)

Want to measure how cloud technology is improving the productivity in your business?

  • Calculate the saved man hours in manual data entry and other activities.
  • Estimate the money saved on automating further activities; simply calculate how much time each of these activities takes and multiply this by an hourly rate.
  • Implement integration between cloud apps, a way of saving even more time for your employees.
  • Finally, calculate what you’ll save in software maintenance costs.

All of these factors contribute to what might be called a more “dynamic” business — one that is productive, grows and uses its money wisely and efficiently.

Want to learn more?

Join us for the Microsoft “How to Grow a Dynamic Business” Chat from 12 noon to 1 p.m. PST (3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST) Thursday, May 28, 2015 on Twitter.

Small Business Trends founder and CEO Anita Campbell (@SmallBizTrends) and Smart Hustle publisher Ramon Ray @RamonRay serve as moderators of the event.

You can participate in the conversation by using the hashtag #MSFTBizTips in your tweets.  And to follow what others are saying in the chat, just search on Twitter.com for that same hashtag.

Microsoft representatives and members of the Microsoft community will be on hand to answer questions about the best ways to save money in your business through the cloud. Other discussion will include how to leverage technology to analyze the data your business collects.

For all the details on the event, see below.

Twitter Chat Details

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time: 12:00 to 1 p.m. PST (3:00 to 4 p.m. EST)

Topic: How to Grow a Dynamic Business

Hashtag: #MSFTBizTips

Moderators: Anita Campbell (@SmallBizTrends) and Ramon Ray (@RamonRay)

At the time of writing this article, Anita Campbell is participating in the Microsoft Small Business Ambassador Program.

Twitter Image via Shutterstock (remixed)

This article, “Join Us in the #MSFTBizTips “Grow a Dynamic Business” Chat” was first published on Small Business Trends

Hillary Clinton Wants To Be The Nation’s Small Business President

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wants to be “a small business president” for the country per her inaugural post on LinkedIn’s Pulse page. Social media and a strong millennial following proved to be a big boost for President Obama’s bid for the White House and Clinton is following in his footsteps. President Obama used LinkedIn in 2008 and 2012 to ask questions of small business owners.

[Related: [WATCH] Hillary Clinton a Keynote Speaker at David Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum]

LinkedIn is Clinton’s latest social media platform since joining Facebook last month to announce the launch of her presidential campaign. As of early Thursday, she only had 2,500 followers on LinkedIn compared to 833,000 likes on Facebook and the 3.55 million followers she boasts on Twitter.

Clinton emphasized the policies she would implement as president to help small businesses. She wrote that she would work to “cut the red tape” holding back entrepreneurs, help small businesses get loans more easily, simplify the tax code and help small businesses access new markets, reports CNN.

Clinton also used the post to highlight encounters with small business owners in the early primary states of New Hampshire and Iowa, where she has spent significant time since announcing her bid on a neatly organized “listening tour,” according to CNN.

Pointing out the fact that hard work is no longer enough to get ahead, Clinton further noted, “And yet, as I travel around the country, I hear signs of optimism,” she said. “That’s the spirit that got Americans through the Great Recession. And as we come back from the crisis, potential new business owners and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to Des Moines to Brooklyn are ready to seize the moment. All they need are policies that help them get ahead instead of holding them back.”