How to Get An App Developed for Your Business

Since the inauguration of mobile application development, many business, and upcoming entrepreneurs have joined the use of applications to take their businesses to the next level. Although many are not well aware of how to get their feet wet, but the rate at which applications are being generated shows it’s a lucrative business.

To develop an application for your business isn’t a facile affair. As you deliberate on how you can go about your application initiation, there are those already in the progress of instigation, marketing and even reaping from their apps. To help you navigate this bumpy ride, below are common ones that will help you develop a successful app.

Which App Idea to Start?

Perhaps you have many app ideas and you don’t know which one to follow. Successful entrepreneurs have built their business on multiple ideas. So, don’t hold yourself to a single app idea. Apps are like single music hit. You never know which one will hit. After you launch your app, give it a grace period of 6 months. If you see your user base isn’t growing, budge onto another idea

Where to Start

Jot down all your ideas as clearly as possible. Peruse the internet and note prototyping tools and create functional elements of your app. Look for an app developer that can design and develop your app once you are coherent about your essentials. In my personal experience I’ve used Production Media App Developers in Melbourne and they offered a great service at a reasonable price. But there are plenty out there

How to tell if Customers want your App

It’s desirable that you get into the market with a prototype. Design your app with core propositions and see if customers are ready to buy it. The moment they do, you will receive important feedback that will help you to modify your app to meet customers’ expectations and business as well.

Distinguish Between Mobile Website and Native App

Deciding whether you need an app or whether a cheaper mobile friendly website would do the job is an important decision, one that could save you a lot of money. There are thousands of applications in the Android App Store and iOS and you will be competing against the best-selling apps and the best to be seen and engaged with.

Should the App Development be in-house or outsourced?

If you look at popular products like Skype and Alibaba, they were outsourced during their initial days. In this case, you can keep the cost low by outsourcing your product to a provider who wholly understands your requirements. If your product continues to be in demand, you can then take over the development and maintenance in-house.

Should you submit your App to the App Store or Android Market?

Create developers account with Google and Apple by registering through their websites. Pay yearly app store fee of $99 for Apple and $25 for Google. The process of transferring you app to the app store should be done by your developer.

What next after your app is ready?

Products don’t take themselves to customers, you need to do that. You have to tell customers where to find them. The same applies to your app. Although app-store optimization can help you to get discovered, you still need to take your app to market visibility.

Marketing your App

The best form of marketing for any business app is the use of a third-party endorsement where press coverage, reviews from bloggers and word of mouth should be a go for.

How much will it Cost to Develop an App?

Application development depends on several factors. But it ranges between $3,000 up to $100,000 or even more depending on complexity.

I believe you have been able to get something from this article. Now, go and get your app developed.

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It’s in your system

Imagine you woke up one morning and decided you wanted to build a new garage in your backyard. So you hired a truck, picked up a few of your mates and went to one of those hardware outlets that look like an aircraft hanger. You bought sand, cement, steel, timber and bricks and by midday you were off and building.
This would be a dream with nightmare written all over it.

A garage may be a piffling structure, but every year tens of thousands of new businesses start up with virtually the same “go get a truck and some building supplies” attitude as our garage builder.
And what is even more surprising is that many people in micro-businesses, employing fewer than five workers, actually do pretty well for quite some time. But eventually the worlds collide and business problems ignite. A time bomb will explode. And if it doesn’t ruin the businesses, it can badly damage them and a hell of lot of relationships along the way.

I recently talked with an award-winning couple, who had set sales standards that few could match in their franchise system. They had great staff and plenty of business, but they had cash flow problems and they usually did their Business Activity Statement a couple of days before the deadline.
They knew something was wrong and were smart enough to go looking for experience to help them beat a growing problem.
Many of us have heard the cliche: “Small businesses don’t plan to fail but fail to plan.” And then there’s: “Small business people spend too much time working in their business and not enough time working on their business.”

There is a real-life difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur, and it’s that the business owner often works at the coalface. He or she is the shopkeeper, the plumber, the accountant, the consultant, the sandwich-maker or the service provider. They do the work of their business: put in the pipes, talk to the customer, solve their problems, send the bills and collect them as well. But they don’t think about the real product.
Most tradesmen try expanding and find being an employer and a paper shuffler for the federal and state governments extremely challenging. Many just pack it in and go back to being a one-man band.

The entrepreneur comes to see the business as the product he will grow. He or she uses systems to solve frustrating problems in the business and the systems, when they are put together, can define the business: the way a phone is answered, the way a complaint is handled, the way a customer is served and how transactions are recorded.
This is what a whole lot of smarties have done in creating franchise businesses. The guys at Gloria Jeans have a system that means both a school teacher and a journalist can throw in their jobs and become coffee shop owners with the minimum of training.

Last year I looked at the young entrepreneurs who started Sumo Salad and Wellbeing, young people who could see the customer shift to healthy food. The business owner would have created a shop and maybe opened another and then tried to manage both. But these entrepreneurs, from the outset, were looking to systematise the business so others could buy it from them. They worked on the business until it was a product they could sell.
This year the goal should be to systematise your business, not only to eliminate frustrating problems – which makes the business easier to grow and live with – but to make it easier to sell, like a franchise.

As with all things, such as building a garage, get a plan. And if you don’t have the skills to do the job yourself, find an expert to help.

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Business structure

Want to read something boring? No? I think you better think again. What lies below is compulsory reading for anyone who does not want to go broke or be bounced by some government body designed to seek and destroy dodgy or amateur businesses.

Getting your structure right will ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law and the all-important bottom line.

The starting point
Get accounting and/or legal advice especially if you are planning to enter a partnership or set up a company.
Choose your business structure with an accountant as it affects:
o The tax you’ll pay
o Your personal legal liability
o The availability of capital to establish and operate your business.

Types of structures
1. Sole trader – a one man band
My dad owned a business that supplied some of Sydney’s best restaurants with fruit and vegetables. While at University, I helped with deliveries. Dad ran the business on his own but he liked it that way. He’d get his brothers or a close mate to help him when things got hectic.

His accountant did his tax returns but little else — no advice, no business planning. He claimed business expenses but did not take advantage of splitting his income with mum, who did take orders and do other work in the business, so he could have taken advantage of her tax-free threshold.
Dad was a classic case of someone who worked hard IN his business but not ON his business.

Most businesses are sole traders. It can be the right choice when starting out. You may then be single, know the business is going to run on lean profits for a few years or prefer to keep things simple.
As you grow however, talk to your accountant about restructuring. A company may be, by that time, more suitable.

Advantages of a sole trader:
o Simple and cheap to set up
o No separate tax return required
o No registration if your name used
o Full control over business
o Owner takes all the profits
o Easy to wind up.

Disadvantages:
o Personally liable for all debts
o May be hard to sell if owner dies
o Hard to get time off for holidays.

2. Partnership – be careful!
Partnerships in business, I guess, like in normal life, are fraught with danger. In the top ten reasons for business failure, selecting partners for the wrong reasons is right up there.

A friend recently encountered a partnership story, straight out of the X Files, underlining how crazy business can get when desperate people are chasing money.

This friend was building her home and looking around for a kitchen company. A worker on site approached her (let’s call him Chris) and said his mate (Joe) was a highly skilled joiner.

They were going into partnership building kitchens.
Chris told her they were the best of friends and was excited by this business venture. He would do all the organisational work while finishing his apprenticeship and Jo would be the cabinetmaker. Their quote was good and Jo held a great reputation for his craftsmanship.

They started the kitchen. For the first few weeks they laughed as they worked. It was a marriage made in heaven. Then came the problems.

Chris was slow and inexperienced and Joe began to feel he was doing all the work. Communication problems started and the kitchen would be left for days with no work done.
My friend called Chris to see what was happening and spoke to his wife, who expressed disappointment about Joe’s casual attitude to business. The partnership was crumbling.
Joe turned up to finish off.

In the meantime, Chris called my friend to say he was working elsewhere but asked her a favour. He wanted a phone call before she made the last payment so she could write two cheques. My friend at first agreed but sensed problems. Joe did most of the work and was there to the end. Was she going to play mediator when a fight broke out about money on her property?

Chris had dropped out potentially jeopardising the whole contract. He now wanted my friend to play debt collector.
Joe turned up for the final payment. She told him about Chris’ request and he said he’d sort things out.

Joe had always been the recipient of other progress payments. My friend paid him in full and got a receipt.
Chris’s wife then started to call my friend and sent invoices demanding money and insulting letters upsetting my friend, who sought legal advice.

As you can see, this is crazy stuff and an innocent consumer has been dragged into a mess because two partners did not select each other for the right reasons.

To make matters worse, on setting up, they did not put in place an agreement on how to handle disputes, payments and bust ups. It was amateur hour from the outset and everyone connected suffered.

Solicitor, Nick Prassas of Comino Prassas, says the consumer in this case acted in accordance with her contractual agreement. “The dispute between the partners is a matter to be sorted out between them. The terms of the agreement should be the means for settling it,” he says.

This is commonsense but when people and money get mixed up with a bad partnership arrangement, no-one is safe. So get a partnership agreement drawn up, no matter how good a friend you have.

Advantages of a partnership:
o Easy and cheap to set up but a partnership agreement is needed
o Family partnerships have tax advantages eg income splitting
o Opportunity to take time off
o Combined experience and skills.

Disadvantages:
o Each personally responsible for debts incurred by any other partners
o Potential for clashes, disputes and relationship problems
o One can dissolve the partnership which could ruin the business.

3. Company – for the organised only!
You can buy a shelf company, which decreases the complexity of setting up. Ask you accountant about this. Inform the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) you are a director or you’ll be fined. Directors have serious responsibilities and obligations, which are set out in the Corporations Law.

You should contact the Australian Institute of Company Directors as they have vital information and courses that will help you run your company properly.

If, as a director, you have been careless or dishonest with the company’s assets, which causes the company to owe money to others, or do not act in the interests of the company, you can be personally sued or prosecuted, sent to prison or face heavy fines. An undischarged bankrupt cannot be a director.

A director cannot say they:
o Didn’t have time to understand the details of the business
o Weren’t responsible for a part of it
o Let management solve the problem.

Like all professionals, directors must take care in carrying out their professional duties. Non-executive directors have an equally important role.

Non-executive directors must:
o Be informed about the business
o Monitor its activities
o Get independent advice if needed.
You are responsible because, while the company is a ‘person’ in its own right, it only acts through decisions and actions of its directors.

How must you act?
o With honesty
o With due care, skill and diligence.

And your responsibilities?
o Know what the company is doing
o Know all financial commitments
o Get professional advice if needed
o Ask management about business
o Be involved in directors’ meetings
o Never rubber stamp decisions
o Disclose any conflicting interest
o Understand the Corporations Law
o Act in accordance with the spirit of the Trade Practices Act
o Ensure the company has necessary insurance to protect office holders, employees, customers and clients.

When will you be liable?
Your legal duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all your employees means the workplace must be operated without putting anyone at risk of injury or disease. You can be held personally liable if you breach this.

If proper accounts are not kept and the company is wound up, its affairs are investigated, stops carrying on business or is unable to pay debts, you can be personally liable.

You are at risk if you act irresponsibly or fail to carry out obligations you have accepted as a director. The Trade Practices Act makes it easier to sue directors personally and you can be liable up to the full extent of your personal assets.

Keep records and books
You have a duty to keep these records at your registered office:
o Minutes of any general meetings
o Minutes of meetings of directors
o Accounting/other records
o Members register (shareholders)
o Option holders (if you have them)
o Debenture holders
o Register of charges created by the company over company property
o Hold proper GST records.

Duty to report changes
To keep the database of companies accurate, you must inform ASIC if the company changes:
o Registered office or business hours
o The company name
o Directors/secretary or their address
o Allots new shares or divides or converts shares to a different class
o Creates a charge on company assets or assigns or varies a charge on company property
Each change has a form which must be lodged with ASIC.

Keep financial information
Generally small companies don’t have to lodge audited financial statements with ASIC. The Corporations Law defines a small propriety company as having any two of the following:
o Less than $10m turnover in the financial year
o Less than $5m assets at end of the financial year
o Less than 50 workers at end F/Y.
Any companies controlled by the small company must be included.

You must still keep records so accounts can be prepared and audited. There must be a systematic record of the financial transactions — not simply a collection of receipts, invoices, bank statements and cheque butts. If a computerised accounting system is used, information stored electronically must relate to records.

Advantages of a company:
o Owners not responsible for debts of company unless personal guarantees
o Greater access to finance
o Can be owned and operated by one shareholder and director
o Income splitting opportunities
o Superannuation opportunities.

Disadvantages:
o High establishment accounting costs
o Directors subject to legal responsibilities
o Higher annual accounting costs
o Compliance costs in terms of money and time are higher.

What are your duties?
Directors must:
o Consider the welfare of the company, its shareholders and creditors even before your own
o Never use information gained as a director to your own personal advantage. An example of insider trading is when a director of a company buys or sells shares before the release of a company announcement. The penalty for insider trading is five years’ gaol, a $200,000 fine or both
o If the company cannot pay a debt, you must provide a report to an externally appointed administrator within seven to 14 days.

As soon as you become a company, you MUST put in place various things.
o Put the company name on invoices, receipts, stationery, etc.
o Open a bank account in the company name. A bank will ask for a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association. Ask your accountant for these
o Bank all company monies into this account
o Where possible, pay all company expenses from this account
o Separate private from company expenses
o Keep company records (cash books, invoices and receipts received, petty cash vouchers, letters, sales invoices etc) for five years. The Australian Tax Office does audits to see if business records are adequately kept and that deductions claimed are business related and allowable
o Register as a group employer. Ask your accountant to help here
o Consider FBT and GST liabilities
o If your business is ever sold, Capital Gains Tax could apply
o Take out Workers Compensation for employees
o Any lease in your name must be assigned to the company.

A director may be liable to pay compensation to a company if they were a director when their company incurred debt while insolvent or went into insolvency by incurring the debt. A company may be insolvent if it is unable to pay debts. Penalties for insolvent trading are severe.

Trusts and your business

Seek advice from your accountant about which form of business structure best suits your business — sole trader, partnership, company, or trust.

You may be at a stage of business growth where it’s time to form a company. Seek help from an accountant specialising in small business about the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating.

Recent changes to the corporations law have lightened the load for small businesses when it comes to filing accounts with ASIC.

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29 Characteristics of an entrepreneur

So you want to be an entrepreneur? Years ago, after the exploits of Christopher Skase and Alan Bond, the word ‘entrepreneur’ fell into disuse because of the negative connotations attached to it. But hard working business owners have in more recent times resuscitated the word.

Bob Cowan, who in his time, secured multi-million dollar contracts with the US Navy to supply recompression chambers, might prefer to be known as just a ‘bloody hard worker’!

When you employ over 40 workers and you wind up building these recompression chambers for Uncle Sam for many millions of dollars, then go broke, have to sell your house and move your family into a caravan while you fight for your dream, then you are an entrepreneur in the real Henry Ford meaning of the word.

Important business lessons
I remember attending an excellent conference a few years back called ‘Encouraging Entrepreneurs – How to Build on Their Ability’ at the Australian Graduate School of Engineering at the Warren Centre in Sydney. This was not an academic blab fest, but looked to people who had actually done it, searching for the lessons everyone in business needs to learn.

The experts at this conference warned entrepreneurs they were in danger of being left behind if they didn’t embrace technology.

We agreed the new formula for success was to add new technology to existing markets, or to find a new angle. And we forecast that the most successful entrepreneurs will be small to medium operations with a technology bent, and Asia will be the place where a lot of the future will unfold. How the future becomes real!

While it sounds like we were blowing our own trumpets, while we were ‘crystal-balling’ we came up with seven personal attributes of a good entrepreneur:

1.Creativity
2.Imagination
3.Confidence
4.Energy
5.Commitment
6.Good health
7.Luck

The final sentiment may have you wondering about new businesses facing high risks as they do not have good cash flow, and that’s why good people are essential. I can’t remember who said it, but 80% of a business is people, and a good business is a function of good people. And let’s face it, sometimes finding good people, comes down to luck.

Exploiting opportunities
I’ve got to admit that we did get one presentation from an academic at this conference. Happily, he did not put me to sleep. Trevor Cole, who is the executive director of the Warren Centre, lucidly defined the entrepreneur and showed us what characteristics they possessed.

He said that people shouldn’t think they were an entrepreneur just because they started a business. Everyone in business innovates – some well, other poorly, but entrepreneurship is one level above innovation, according to Cole. The core attribute of the entrepreneur is an ability to make decisions, but essentially they stand out because “they search for change, respond to it and exploit it as an opportunity”.

Bob Cowan certainly did all that. His story gives this title of ‘entrepreneur’ a good name again. Bob was no ‘fancy pants’ engineer, but a tradesman who started up a sheet metal factory 25 years ago, virtually in the bush. But that did not hold him back from seeing an unusual opportunity and exploiting it.

The lucky break came on a fishing trip to Cairns, where a mate was talking about recompression chambers and how US naval contracts were available for someone who could knock them up economically, but to a high standard. Bob observed how they look like basic sheet metal work, so, as he put it: “I educated myself … built a mobile recompression chamber … the US Navy wanted it!”

While the idea to the receipt of payment ended up being years, his first contract brought in $2m, Bob’s second with the US Navy was worth $10.2m. While this sounds like good money, it is in fact repayment for a job well done – and one done the hard way.

Along the way, Bob had a continual battle with governments who could not share his dream. The quest resulted in Bob and his family living in a caravan until ‘pay dirt’ was hit.

At one stage, he had a gutful of bank knock-backs, so he went down to the head office of a bank in Sydney (which would no doubt prefer to remain nameless). He provoked them to ‘get off their bums’ and come onsite to see what recompression chambers were all about. The ensuing visit shocked the lenders and made money matters easier after that.

The Cowan success story is all about persistence, focus and determination to win, and considering the value of the contract and the toughness of the client – the US Navy tested the chambers at the North Pole before they gave the deal the not! – the success is Olympic-like.

Money for nothing
That emotion aside, in listening to Bob’s tale and others at the conference, it is sensible to observe that many entrepreneurs, and businesses generally, need to look more carefully at how they source their funding.

It is easy to ‘bag’ banks – and definitely they don’t always do their job professionally in assessing the true merits of a project. But there is no value in bellyaching about it: you have to accept reality and do something about it!

Memtec’s Quinn alluded to this in his presentation to the conference. He stated that since money is so important, why don’t we all put more work into our presentation to the banks?

When we go begging to the bank for money, we should make sure that the business plan is first-class. There should be audio visual aids as part of the presentation, and every trick know to mankind should be employed in order to jump one of the biggest hurdles facing the business heading for gold.

Peter Switzer’s 29 characteristics of the entrepreneur
Check out these characteristics that are typical of those people who call themselves entrepreneurs:

1. Can’t work for anyone else – like to be the boss

2. Egalitarian – like to be the boss, but they’re not elitist

3. Takes action – they are not daydreamers

4. Their business doesn’t make them a champion – from an early age, they are champions in the making

5. Often launch with very little money

6. Speak their mind

7. Handle rejection

8. Like to prove others (doubting Thomas’) wrong

9. Know how to get around obstacles

10. Believe in being hands on

11. Don’t mind being alone

12. Can cope with failure

13. Like control

14. Future focused – don’t get caught in today

15. They tick faster than the clock – they never watch the clock

16. Adrenalin charged

17. Manage time well

18. Goal oriented

19. Into self improvement

20. Often want to move faster than time

21. Strong work ethic

22. Having nothing is no barrier

23. Often have a naïve confidence in their own ability to do things

24. Respect staff

25. Understand the importance of systems in the business growth process

26. Not afraid of making mistakes

27. Make decisions even if they are wrong ones

28. Don’t like to be penned in – look for challenges

29. Retirement is not an option

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