Apps

The Three Killer Small Biz Apps Coming in 2012

Charlie Sheen and the manufacturers of Two And A Half Men, not able to ignore the riches of another season, will in the long run reconcile. The ultra-modern Pirates of the Caribbean film will bomb. The Mets will now not make the playoffs. President Obama will win the Democratic primaries. I pay greater for medical health insurance, no longer less. Check returned and spot if I’m right on those. I’m quite assured.

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But not as confident as I am about a few traits that will have an effect on my organization, and different small and medium-sized businesses. In the following two years, I expect that at least 3 killer apps will emerge that will have a widespread effect on us all. Are you prepared for them?

Killer App #1: Mobile bills

I currently found an extraordinary way to keep the money. I don’t carry cash. This way none of my teenage children can dig into my pockets when I’m not around and walk away with ten greenback payments to fund their pizza restoration. Instead, all they find are useless credit score playing cards. Well, in multiple years they might not also be capable of finding the ones. That’s due to the fact I’ll be doing it all on my smartphone. As will most of my clients.

First some statistics. Information Week says that 38% of small and medium-sized businesses already rely on mobile apps. American Express is working on a brand new e-wallet utility. Microsoft, Apple, and Google are enforcing close to discipline communications (NFC) generation for mobile payments in their subsequent technology of merchandise. As we speak, Google is testing an Android fee gadget in New York and San Francisco. PayPal is teaming with modern companies like Blingnation to carry cell payments to its clients.

 

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Mobile payments are the next killer app. How will it all paintings? It’s no longer that complicated. Your client’s credit score information may be embedded in a relaxed software on their telephone. You may have a wi-fi terminal related to your cash sign up, or stand by myself, with a purpose to speak with their telephone the usage of NFC generation, or something similar, to transmit records. Using the touch display screen or digicam on the mobile tool, the technology may also comprise a fingerprint, eye test or some other sort of safety if necessary. Your patron waves her telephone over the terminal. The transaction is recorded. A receipt receives mailed all around. The transaction hits your bank account and accounting software with no more human interplay.

Is your business prepared for this? You actually need to be. Because quickly, a purchaser’s going to stroll in your door and ask to pay for a product the use of her phone. At first when you tell her that you do not accept payments that manner she’ll understand. But after a while, when more and more of your competition and different groups are taking clever phone payments she will stop being so patient with you and take her enterprise someplace else.

Will this cost us extra? What do you think? Of direction, it will! We’ll pay hundreds for new cellphone scanners and join up for offerings and soak up extra charges and expenses. You know this is going to show up. You know that the individuals who are clearly going to get rich off this are the corporations I stated above. But it may not stop us. Because we’re going to want to provide this functionality to our customers so one can live aggressively. It may additionally even force more enterprise our manner. And save a bit time in processing too. We’ll see.

Killer App #2: Lockers

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Last week Amazon introduced that it would be supplying up to 20GB of the garage to its clients for anything they want – music, motion pictures, ebooks, and so on. They name it a “cloud locker.” One component’s for certain – this locker will scent a lot better than my fitness center locker. And say what you need approximately Amazon, however, these guys, not handiest spot developments nicely in advance, they also start trends on their very own. I in no way idea human beings might move for ebooks once they have been first delivered. Now I see that Amazon’s sold around eight million Kindles in 2010. Shows how an awful lot I realize.

But I do realize this: garage area is cheap. And locating new customers is high priced. So we’re usually searching out methods to keep our customers close to us. And what better manner to hold them near than to provide them “lockers” to shop their stuff? It makes it easier for them to preserve coming back to us to shop for new products. That Jeff Bezos is a smart dude. And the reality that he’s bald makes me like him that rather more.

Call it whatever you want to call it, however, I agree with that many smart business people will begin imparting some form of “lockers” to their customers in the coming years. Not just for song or ebooks. But to keep costs, estimates, invoices, orders, documentation, snapshots, and so forth. For instance, once I promote a brand new software program software to a customer, I could create for them a customized “locker” where they can visit download their brand new updates, manuals, education courses and all of our office work. It keeps them tied into my agency. And it’s a further value-upload: clients won’t need to fear about storing all of this stuff and might effortlessly get right of entry to it from our website online. And if I need to offer some additional products as incentives I can do this too. Each purchaser could have their personal space on our servers (or a few servers that I lease somewhere) with their personal get admission to.

Killer App # 3: Apps

Another killer app? Apps.

Ask Jonathan Rochelle, a Group Product Manager for Google. “Business software is going through a platform shift to the Web.” he stated in a current interview. “As that happens, all earlier software program may be re-questioned. So there are opportunities for the man who writes the utility that helps a dentist’s office, the guy who writes the application that helps you to run your hardware keep or allows a journalist be extra effective. The largest opportunity is in handing over the excellent software in that area of interest lessons in this new Web platform. The web-based total software is an awful lot much less highly-priced for shoppers than conventional software program and programmers may be so much greater revolutionary, that it’s worthwhile for an entrepreneur to say, OK, let’s start from scratch.”

I don’t accept as true with the whole thing he says. I do not think most small commercial enterprise proprietors would agree with some man to put in writing an app that runs their entire enterprise. It’s possibly due to the fact I sell commercial enterprise software and that idea scares the you-understand-what out of me! But I do assume that Rochelle hits on the next killer app as a way to have an effect on many of us. And that killer app is…Apps.

Take a look around and we see most large businesses creating their own little apps for his or her customers. Airlines have apps for us to appearance up flights, check times and now even use our phones as boarding passes. Restaurants have apps for ordering and checking menu items. Whole Foods, ESPN and FedEx have apps. And did not I just see an industrial wherein a father in London makes use of an app to turn at the ignition of his Buick so his teenage daughter can take it out for a joyride along with her friends? Is she disposing of a Buick for a pleasant journey? What a loser!

Over a subsequent couple of years, many smart business proprietors can also be developing their very own apps for his or her own agencies. These apps will allow a customer to check pricing for the products they buy. Or appearance up to the repute of an order. Or open up a problem ticket. Or request a quote. Or pay their open invoice (except for my clients, who do the whole thing in their electricity NOT to pay their invoices).

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Like Rochelle says, this stuff is a great deal less high-priced than it ever was once. The gear is already available and there are a growing wide variety of developers available to jot down apps. Of route there may be challenges: keeping the applications up to date, making sure they can run on more than one gadgets, helping customers while there may be an inevitable hassle. But today an average developer can write a cellular app for some thousand bucks and a couple of cans of Red Bull. And, if deployed proper, an app can allow a consumer to get matters finished quicker and greater profitably along with your employer. Which approach they will want to retain to do commercial enterprise with you going forward.