42% of Small Businesses Say They’re Considering Building a Mobile App for Their Customers

These days, a major part of being a small business owner is determining which technologies and mediums to invest in and which to skip. For example, many businesses now see the value in social media and the barrier to entry for these platforms is fairly low. Similarly, having your own website may make sense for some operations, giving them greater flexibility than relying on third-party solutions. Still, there’s one medium that might not be top of mind for entrepreneurs but may actually be beneficial to their business: mobile apps. Now, a new survey sought to discover how many small businesses are utilizing apps and how they developed them.

According to Top Design Firms’ survey of 500 small business owners and managers (each running businesses with fewer than 500 employees), a surprising number of businesses already have mobile apps of their own or plans to create one. In fact, 32% reported currently employing an app while 41% intend on building one in the future. Yet, 26% say they’re unlikely to ever offer an app of their own.

Of course, with different small businesses specializing in a variety of verticals, fewer respondents built the applications themselves. Instead, the majority (53%) outsourced the project to an app development company and 41% utilized a freelancer. Nevertheless, 23% reported using DIY software to create their app while 37% had in-house developers. However, the fact that these figures total to more than 100% would suggest that several business owners relied on more than one option to bring their app to market.

Accompanying the survey were some testimonials and insights from small business owners with apps. Among them was Airvet founder and CEO Brandon Werber who said, “One piece of advice I can offer to other business owners is to consider their target consumers first when planning a mobile app.” Meanwhile, Laura English of Sonder Digital Marketing suggested that businesses may want to consider their priorities, explaining, “I think product-based businesses have huge potential for success with mobile apps. However I don’t think they’re as important as we’re led to believe and I think if business owners have a limited budget they should focus on a website with perfect responsiveness.”

Surely a mobile app won’t make sense for every small business. At the same time, the medium may be an under-realized opportunity for some operations and may well prove to be a worthy investment. For those businesses that might benefit from providing a mobile app to their customers, it’s also nice to know that there are several different options to take as far as outsourcing the development to a professional or attempting to create your own with the assistance of software. Ultimately, what’s most important is that the finished app provides value to your business and your customers.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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